All surfaces must be disinfected with a cleaner before tattooing occurs. The floor should be kept clean, and spilled ink or blood should be cleaned and disinfected. The worktable should be cleaned between customers, and all equipment touched, i.e. power supply knobs, ultra sonic switches, light switches, should be cleaned.
Clean disposable towels should be used for each client, and waste should be disposed of properly, on regular waste container, and one biological waste container, or sharps container. STERILIZATION Dry heat sterilizer
The most important part of the tattoo process is clean and sterile equipment. There is only one way to guarantee sterile needles, tubes, grips, ink, and other equipment, and that is extreme heat for a prolonged period of time.
IF you are planning to start tattooing and can afford to buy a tattoo gun and power supply, but not the equipment for cleaning and sterilization. Keep saving because your doing no one any favors spreading disease. You risk transmitting disease, to your clients, yourself, and damaging the art of tattooing in general.
The only sterilization that will be discussed here is autoclave and dry heat sterilization. Gas sterilization, glass bead sterilization. Boiling water, pressure cooker, and chemical sterilization are not commonplace in a tattoo studio, and in some cases unsafe for the operator and clients.
Before you can sterilize an instrument it must be clean, any ink, blood, etc. left upon a needle or tube can actually shield that portion of the instrument from sterilization.
Sterile equipment should be kept in sterile sealed pouches until the ultimate time of applying the actual tattoo Autoclave Sterilization: Autoclaves range from 200 dollar stove top sterilizers to timed cycle shop units around 2000 dollars. All autoclaves work the same way, steam heat and pressure.
Autoclaves have a sealed chamber, which is capable of withstanding pressure and heat. Most autoclaves operate at approximately. 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees Celsius) at a pressure of 15-25 lbs. When the whole chamber reaches these requirements sterilization occurs in approximately. 20 minutes. Certified autoclaves are designed so the whole chamber reaches the appropriate temperature, unlike ordinary pressure cookers.
Tools are usually sealed in nyclave tubing, and heat-sealed at both ends. This tubing helps prevent your instruments from rusting, and also provides for handling outside of the autoclave, assuring sterilization until the package is opened.
Most tubing or pouches have a process indicator strip, which changes color when the temperature needed for sterilization is reached.
This indication does not indicate sterilization, but only that the temp was reached, to sterilize tools they must remain at this temperature for a prolonged period.
Autoclaves must be periodically tested using a spore test to ensure proper sterilization.
Dry Heat Sterilizers: As with autoclaves dry heat sterilizers use extreme heat to kill bacteria. Dry heat sterilizers use no water, and use no pressure, so they operate at a higher tempera-
Dry heat sterilization occurs at around 160-180 degrees centigrade (320-360 F) after 30 minutes at this temperature. Dry heat has an advantage over steam processes, steam tends to dull sharp edges, and needles oxidize rapidly due to the moisture.
Spore testing vs. indicator strips: A frequently asked question, or misconception is the color changing strip or sticker you see on sterile pouches.
The strips change color to give a visual indication that the item inside the pouch was sterilized. The strip does not change color due to sterilization, but only upon exposure to temperatures that promote sterilization. The strips would change color if you put them in your toaster, prob. catch on fire also...The strips only indicate temperature, and sterilizing an instrument takes time and temp. And in the case of an autoclave, pressure. Spore testing spore testing should be done routinely to ensure your auto clave is working. A spore test is nothing more than two pouches full of spores. One pouch is your control, it will not be placed in the autoclave, the other pouch can be placed in your autoclave, and run thru your normal cycle. The two pouches will then be sent to a lab, where they will be placed in petrie dishes and grown. The control package of spores should grow, and the ones you sterilized should not if this is the case your autoclave is working properly, but if you spores you sterilized grow, then your autoclave is not working and should be repaired. The spores used in this test are generally Bacillus stearothermophilis. Any of the Bacillus type spores are very resistant to being killed.
One thing to remember that in order to get a proper steam pressure / temperature correlation, ALL of the air must be purged from the autoclave. Any air in the autoclave will reduce the temperature at a given pressure and reduce the effectiveness of the steam sterilization. Also all surfaces to be sterilized must be exposed to the live steam.
Sterilization is done at 15 to 17 psi for 20 to 30 minutes. According to Corning, Pyrex glassware should be steam sterilized at 121C for no more than 15 minutes. With 100% live steam (all air has been purged) at 15 psi is 121 C / 250 F and at 17 psi is 123 C / 252 F.
How It's DONE
A tattoo is nothing more than ink deposited under the skin. How it gets there is another matter all together. The following will be an overview of how modern tattooing, achieves the desired effects.
Once the tattoo gun is set up, cleaned and disinfected, clean sterile needles are installed in the needle tube. The needles are not hollow, and are approximately. 1 inch long, and soldered upon a needle bar. For outlining a single needle is used, or 3 needles soldered together, these are just examples 2 needles up to 15 could be used to create a line. The tube, which the needle bar is inserted, acts as a guide, and an ink reservoir. The needles are then set for the proper overhang from the tube tip.
Now that the gun is set, and the client has been prepared, the ink is dispensed into disposable caps. This prevents contamination of the ink from one client to the next.
The ink is not reused, and any excess is thrown away. The gun is turned on, and dipped into the ink cap paying care not to damage the needle tips. Ink is sucked into the tube tip reservoir. The gun is then ran momentarily next to some paper towel to clean out the excess, and now tattooing will proceed.
Outlining is usually the first step in the tattoo process. The needles extend into the skin approximately. 1/16 th of an inch, depositing ink in the dermis region of the skin.
The skin is stretched tight with one hand, while the other operated the gun; power is turned off and on via a foot switch. The stretching of the skin is vital is providing a smooth clean line. The artist moves his gun forward, or to the side. This keeps the needle against the back of the tube keeping the lines straight. The machine is slightly angled back and the stenciled lines are followed until the design is completed.
The next step is shading. Shading is done many ways, for example a square tipped tube is installed on the gun, and a flat set of 6 needles is installed. The needles are very slightly fanned to help keep them from wobbling in the tube. With the skin stretched the artist will start at the darkest area of the shading, and move toward the lighter section all the time lifting the needles further out of the skin till the needles loose contact at the end of the shad-
Sprayed water can also be used to dilute the ink as it goes in to give a lighter gray or washed appearance. Coloring is achieved by using the same needle set up for shading or a round set of needles in a much larger grouping.
The skin is stretched and the artist will move his gun in small circles until an area is covered. When the skin is stretched the artist should not see any missed areas, if so he will have to carefully ink the missed areas, then when the skin is released the colored areas will look smooth.
When coloring a single pass with the needles is desired otherwise heavy scabbing could occur lifting much of the ink out of the skin, leaving spots with no color.
At this point when the tattoo is finished it's the customer's aftercare that will make or break the tattoo. The artist will apply a antiseptic cream to the tattoo, and cover with a bandage of some sort. The bandage must be left on for 2 hours, to keep dirt out of the wounds as they scab. Then the bandages must be removed, and the area washed, gently.
As many times a day as possible afterwards till healed the tattoo should be covered by water-based lotion (not Vaseline). Avoid soaking tattoo in water, chlorinated and salt water especially. And do not pick the scabs. Picking the scabs may pull ink out of the skin thus ruining the tattoo.
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