Drinking could seriously increase the risk of bleeding more and this in turn, will result in a messier tattoo process and bad healing.
If you want to get a tattoo, you have to behave responsibly to get good quality ink. To be responsible, you have to go the extra mile and do more than just finding an expert and a certified tattoo artist.
To be responsible also means no drinking before or after the ink session! You might think it is not a big deal to have a few glasses to celebrate this fun event, but this is a cardinal mistake. Let’s see why.
Can You Drink Alcohol Before Getting a Tattoo?
Alcohol is a substance that thins the blood. It is not digested as a normal nutrient would be, and instead, it goes directly into the bloodstream. This results in more lymph fluids in the body. Once something penetrates the skin or opens it, logically there would be more lymph and more blood that does not thicken fast. These things will impair the quality of the ink, as well as the healing itself.
What is expected during tattooing, blood wise?
This is a very important question, even if it seems vague or too general. When you get a tattoo, you receive tiny needles in your skin to penetrate the ink. And, we have to keep it simple here – what do needles do, even the smallest ones? They go beneath the skin and release blood and lymph on the skin surface.
Now, let’s connect this to the following section.
What does alcohol do to blood and lymph?
When you ingest alcohol, it goes into your bloodstream, of course. And what does the bloodstream do while you get a tattoo? The same thing as always, working its miracles to keep you alive, warm, healthy, all that. But, it does go above the skin. And if blood with lymph is diluted with alcohol, that will affect all processes that involve skin traumatizing, or medical procedures.
So, once alcohol touches your insides, a large part of it goes into the bloodstream. Once it is here, it goes extremely fast everywhere in the body. The wow fact is that your liver can process only one very tiny drink per full hour! This means a few drinks just before you get a tattoo is a big no! We will go into the details below.
Why is alcohol bad before a tattoo session?
Depends on how much you want to drink, and how soon before the tattooing. If you get a tattoo late in the evening, and you are a morning drinker (by chance), it is debatable, still.
But, as I mentioned above, the liver will not have time to process the drinks. One drink is processed per hour, to get a clean, booze-free organism. And in this case, before a tattoo, this just won’t work.
The alcohol makes the blood thinner and lessens its coagulant properties (meaning, the blood will not get thick very fast once released). Imagine your tattoo artist and his efforts to do a great job, and suddenly, mid-tattoo session, you start to bleed more or release way too much lymph.
Ok, to understand it better, imagine you do a drawing or painting and someone constantly sprays water on your semi-dry painting. Colors would dilute and run down, and you could still see the art, but your process of coloring will be slower, disturbed mid-way, and honestly, you would be annoyed.
Your tattoo artist would appreciate a fully sober customer. Just forget about tipsy even! You want the ink to be as it is originally, undiluted, and fixed under your skin.
How does a tattoo start to heal and how does this connect to drinking?
I mentioned how alcohol dilutes the ink, thins the blood, and makes lymph rush out fast out of your body.
Now, let’s remind ourselves how a tattoo heals. Basically, the tattoo is a mini “injury” on the skin, and of course, with this process blood and lymph will come out and then after a while, the skin will heal and be smooth and healthy as it was before.
The sooner tattooed skin gets itchy and crusty, the better. It means fast healing, and fast forming of a thin, fine crusty skin layer that itches after 2-3 weeks. Normally, the tattooed skin will form this dry, extra-thin layer in the first 24 to 48 hours, if all goes well.
Now imagine if you have a few drinks before the session; the skin will ‘ooze’ lymph throughout the tattooing, and this will affect how fast it will dry up naturally to form a crust afterward. You do not want a moist tattoo.
What about alcohol after a tattoo session?
Now imagine getting home, having a few drinks. The tattoo is dried up by the artist earlier, and you get ready to hop in the shower, and suddenly, the inked skin is slimy and wet. This is the aftereffect of the alcohol, and it will still mess up the lymphatic functions. Do not drink on the first day after the tattooing, and let the ink breathe and adjust to form a crust after the second day.
Can I quickly speed up the healing (if I drank a bit already)?
Well, yes and no, but you can try. Immediately clean the skin, and keep it clean and with breathable fabric over it (if you have to cover it). By covering the tattoo too much or too tight, you lock the moisture and no oxygen will crust-up the skin fast.
Also, wash it with antibacterial soap, because it dries up skin faster, and prevents infections or moist-related issues. Finish up with the healing cream over the clean skin.
Remember to skip the drinks for 2 days, one day before the tattooing, and one day after you get freshly inked. You can surely survive two days like this, be motivated by a cool, permanent art you will get soon!