New York's Best Tattoo shop: facebook blog twitter you tube


Black Light Sensitive Tattoos?

blacklight ink

Tattoo Related Question?

Please read through all the FAQs before asking your own questions, as most questions are answered with others. But if you don't find what you're looking for on this page, don't worry! We welcome any questions you may have.


Please write to us at , or you can visit our Blog and post your questions there.

Tattoo Newsletters

Tattoo and Piercing FAQ

Are Tattoos/Piercings Safe?

The most-asked questions that a tattoo parlor gets is, "is it safe?". The answer? YES! Professional tattoo artists take pride in not only their work and artistry, but also their own personal safety and the safety of their customers. All tattoo parlors must be licensed by the Department of Health. The Department of Health has a great hand in the safety of your tattooing, but the rules and regulations vary depending on your state and country. Tattoo Lou's is located in Suffolk County, Long Island - here, you must take a class given by the Health Department, followed by a written test. The material on the test includes sterilization procedures, blood-bourne pathogens, universal precautions, and how to keep tattooing completely safe. Upon passing this exam, you are then licensed by the Board of Health, and you are thereby allowed to work in Suffolk County. If you fail, you are not allowed to work. The Health Department also conducts random spot checks to all studios. If you are found in violation, you can lose your license! The most important thing to do is go to a reputable shop, and do not get tattooed by an unlicensed person working out of a house or at a party. The Board of Health states that this is illegal.

How Old Do I have to be?

New York State law states that you must be at least 18 years old to be tattooed! No, there is no bending this! It's the law! And no, sorry, your parents may not sign for you! You must have a photo ID. Come back when you're 18 and we'll give you the tattoo you've been dying for! As far as piercings go, New York State law states you also have to be 18 to be pierced! Or you may bring in a notarized letter from your parent or legal guardian, and only your parent or legal guardian, stating that you can get pierced. You parent or guardian must also be with you at the time of piercing. You must have this letter and a photo ID and your parent! No exceptions! These are the laws! We don't make them - we just follow them. Please don't ask us to do any different!


To download the piercing consent form of a minor save a trip to the shop and download it here.

Where can I go to see tattoo sample pictures and flash?

Tattoo Lou's, BABY! We have one of the world's biggest and best collections of tattoo flash. All flash is displayed in all of our shops - come on down and browse! We promise - you will not be hassled into getting a tattoo, nor will we push you into getting something you may not want! Our opinions are based on our extensive knowledge and experience. You may also ask the artists to see some pictures of tattoos or piercings he or she has previously done.

How much will it cost?

The price of a tattoo depends on the size of the tattoo, the detail involved, and the location of the tattoo on the body. It is very difficult to give an accurate price over the web, so please do NOT send e-mails with pricing questions You may stop by any of our Tattoo Lou's locations for a free consultation and pricing on any tattoo, picture, or even an idea that you would like us to draw for you. Remember - a tattoo is a piece of artwork that will be with you forever. Great quality in a tattoo is priceless!

Does It Hurt?

It's usually not as bad as you may think. We're not saying it feels good, but if it did, the experience of getting a tattoo wouldn't be so GREAT! Ever hear the expression, "no pain, no gain?" Quit being a baby, and go get some INK!"

Do I Need an Appointment?

You don't need an appointment to stop into one of our four locations to talk to our artists, look at our flash, watching other people getting work done, or even to bring us lunch. (Turkey on rye, mayo, please) However, it is recommended that you do make an appointment to get your tattoo done, especially if you would like a specific artist.

How long does it take to get tattooed?

Every tattoo is different, and every artist is different. An important thing to remember is this: have you ever tried drawing on a piece of paper that moves and shakes around on the table? It ain't easy. The more still you sit, the faster your tattoo will be finished.

Should I tip my Tattoo artist? Is it required?

Do you tip your haircutter? How about a waiter or waitress? Tattooing is a service like any other - all of the artists at Tattoo Lou's take pride in their work and love what they do. Tipping, though not required, is a nice gesture and is certainly appreciated. If you love your tattoo and think your artist deserves something extra, hook 'em up!

I just got a tattoo. How long will it take to heal and what should I do to keep it clean?

After your tattoo is complete, we will affix a bandage to the tattooed area. In approximately two hours, you are to remove the bandage and wash gently. It is best to use an anti-microbial soap. Be sure to clean the surface of the tattoo with your hand only - not a washcloth. Use lukewarm water, in order to melt off any blood that is starting to dry on the tattoo. Pat the tattoo dry, and apply Bacatracin oinment in a thin later, massaging it into the tattoo. Do not glob the ointment on. At this point, it is okay to leave the bandage off unless you have tight clothing over the area of the tattoo or you are doing something that will dirty the tattoo. Then, it is required to cover your tattoo with a non-stick bandage. Please be sure that it is non-stick - they have a clear plastic coating over it to avoid the bandage getting stuck on the tattoo! You may also use Saran Wrap - this will keep moisture in and your clothes from rubbing against the tattoo.


We recommend bandaging your tattoo for the first five nights before you go to bed. This way, the tattoo will not dry up overnight. Apply Bacatracin at least six times daily. You will need to apply it as many times in a thing layer as it takes to keep it moist - not heavy - you don't want to suffocate your tattoo! If possible, your tattoo is best left uncovered for half the day so it get can air. Continue with Bacatracin for five days, and then you may switch over to a moisturizer such as Keri lotion, Lubiderm, or Vaseline Intensive care. Any moisturizing lotions will do - just be sure there are no perfumes or fragrances in them. Do not use Bacatracin for longer than five days or it will affect the healing process.


After the first five days, you are not to bandage your tattoo anymore. When showering, wash over the tattoo gently using soap and warm water. Yes, your tattoo will peel and begin to itch - this is part of the healing process. If you do as we have said here, your tattoo will heal fast and look great! If you let it dry up, you will get scabs on your tattoo! If this does happen, just let the scabs fall off naturally. Do not pick the scab off - you will pick off a piece of your tattoo! Keep your tattoo our of the sun for two weeks, and be sure to cover your tattoo when i direct sunlight. After two weeks, it is best to use sunblock. Note: sunblock is not good to use during the healing process - only after it has healed. Do not submerge in water - no baths or swimming for at least ten days. Showering is fine - just wash gently! Do not soak tattoo, especially salt or chlorinated water - this will effect the colors and healing.


Your tattoo may appear a little red on the edges - this is okay - the skin is just bruised. If this continues past the two week healing period, stop down and let us have a look. We will be able to guide you on what you are doing wrong or what you should change about your tattoo routine. Your tattoo may be sore, like a sunburn, during the healing period. This is okay, especially in areas such as the ankle, which take a little bit longer to heal and may swell a bit due to the constant pressure from just walking around. In this case, it is recommended that you raise your leg when relaxing. If small pimples or a rash form around your tattoo, you are allergic to the ointment you are using, or you are using too much. This rash is called Prickly Heat, and don't worry - it's no big deal. Just stop using the ointment, and spray the area of the tattoo with rubbing alcohol three times daily. This will dry it up in a few days. If it continues, stop down and let us have a look!


Remember - at this point, the artist's job is complete. The rest is up to you, so please take great care in the healing of your tattoo! The better you follow these directions, the better it will look and last! Some friends may tell you, "no, don't use that - this is what I use..." Stop that conversation right there! This is what we do for a living, and we know what works. So unless your friend is a professional tattoo artist, don't listen! Follow our directions!

I just got a piercing. How long will it take to heal and what should I do to keep it clean?

Please, wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason. Saline soak for five to ten minutes once or more per day - invert a cup of warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum. For certain piercings, it may be easier to apply clean gauze or paper towels saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue. Use soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl-sized drop of the soap to clean all the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds, then rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing. Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.


Initially, there may be some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising. During healing, there could be some discoloration, itching, or secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crusties on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals. Once healed, the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing - do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as a part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate. A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because they heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period. Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person. If you like your piercing, keep jewelry in—do not leave it empty.


You should avoid cleaning with Betadine®, Hibiclens®, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation. Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) and Benzethonium Chloride (BZT). These can be irritating and are not intended for long term wound care. Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing. Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications. Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others' bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing. Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygenic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. If you must swim or submerge your piercing, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage (such as Tegaderm™). These are available at most drugstores. Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc. Don't hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.

How long should I wait before I expose my tattoo to sun?

Two weeks is a good general rule. However, UV rays not only harm your skin and cause cancer, they fade your tattoos! Always, use proper sun protection when exposing yourself to the sun, tattoos or not. We also sell specific tattoo sun block at all of our four Tattoo Lou's locations. Don't forget to grab some for the summer!

Can I cover up a tattoo with another one?

Yes, but covering up a tattoo and not making it look like a huge mess is not always an easy task. Consult your tattoo artist for his or her profession opinion before shopping for tattoos.

Will I ever have to get my tattoo touched up?

If you take care of your tattoos, you shouldn't ever have to get them touched up. We use only the highest quality tattoo inks to ensure your tattoo lasts longer than you will! If you feel like you would like your tattoo touched up or added to, you know who to call - the world famous Tattoo Lou's!

Can I shave over a new Tattoo?

You can shave over a tattoo once it's healed - just shave like you normally would. But the key is knowing when the tattoo is healed enough to be shaved over!

I want to learn how to Tattoo. Where should I start?

Head over to here you'll find great tattoo starter kits along with tons of information and tutorials.

First things first, you'll need to find a shop or artist who is willing to apprentice you. Unfortunately, that is not an easy task – you'd better know someone! Tattooing is a trade learned from other professionals. For the art, they become your mentor, and you must apply as an apprentice with the Department of Health in order to work under this mentor. You will have to take a class for sterilization, universal precautions, and blood-borne pathogens with the Department of Health in order to get a license to be an apprentice. Another thing worth noting is that many people charge a lot of money for an apprenticeship.

So, you've passed your class from the Department of Health, you've secured a mentor, and now you're an apprentice. What does this mean? Well, it means working for free, cleaning up after your mentor, doing all his/her dirty work, taking out the garbage, cleaning bathrooms, talking to customers and doing everything needed done in the shop while learning and drawing like crazy until your fingers feel like they are going to fall off. At some point, your mentor would decide that you are ready to do free tattoos. The purpose of doing free tattoos is to learn how to work the actual skin—in tattooing, there is nothing else like it. You have to log all your hours of hard work in order to gain at least the required 1000 hours for the Department of Health to turn your license into a real artist's license.

Once your license is obtained, it doesn't mean you are ready to tattoo—really, it is up to your mentor to decide when you can move on to becoming an actual professional tattoo artist and charge money for your tattoos. Usually, you'd start with half-price tattoos and do that until you're showing highly professional line work and shading. Once your mentor feels you're completely ready to be a professional tattoo artist, he must sign off on this in your log book. Now, you have learned a lifetime career that you will take everywhere with you. Enjoy the amazing art of permanent tattoos: every customer you deal with will never forget you! Always be polite and treat your customers with the upmost professional attitude. At Tattoo Lous we practice Legandary Customer Service.

Can I get tattooed over a scar?

In most cases, no. However, it doesn't hurt to ask one of our professionals.

My tattoo itches like hell. What should I do?

Itching is part of the healing process and is normal. It is important to keep a new tattoo covered so you don't accidentally scratch dirt or bacteria into the tender skin.

How can I tell if my Tattoo/Piercing is infected?

If you think your tattoo (or piercing) might be infected, don't sit around waiting for it to get worse! Signs of infection are severe pain, hot redness, swelling, a pus discharge (with or without the presence of blood), and/or a foul odor emanating from the area. Infection that is not properly tended to can result in serious health consequences, so it is not something to be taken lightly. Please see your doctor and artist immediately. We are all susceptible to Staph infections - the bacteria that causes it resides on our bodies and just waits for an opportunity to take hold, like in a fresh new tattoo or piercing wound. Most tattoo/piercing infections are caused by not taking proper care during the healing process. All of our artists will be happy to go over the tattoo care process with you, and you may also purchase any tattoo care products at any of our four locations.

Can I donate blood if I have a Tattoo?

You may not donate blood for one full year after getting a tattoo/piercing. After the one year mark as passed, donate away!

Why is my Tattoo peeling and flaking Off?

The peeling and flaking of a new tattoo is perfectly normal. Before it actually begins to peel, the tattoo will look like it's covered with a whitish, cracking film. Then you'll see white or translucent flakes of old, dead skin start to peel off and some of the flakes may even contain some ink. Sometimes you can actually see a duplicate image of part of your tattoo peeling off - it's rather disconcerting, but it is also perfectly normal and there is no need to panic. It's a lot like a snake shedding its skin. Just add a little lotion (a little) to the tattoo to help keep it moist and encourage those flakes to come off. Do not scratch, pick or peel the scabs. It will all be over with in a few days, and the color of your tattoo will start to return to normal.

What's the best time of the year to get a tattoo?

Anytime! All seasons have issues which can potentially harm your tattoo. If you follow the proper steps in our aftercare guides, your tattoo will look great and last a lifetime.

What days of the year is Tattoo Lou's Closed?
Tattoo Lou's is open 7 days a week all year long with the exception of all major holidays: New Years Eve, New Years Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Content home tattoo artists piercers facebookcontact