Wanna decorate your skin? Quick advice for tattoos & piercings!

Of course, body adornment in the form of piercings and tattoos is a centuries-old practice in many cultures, but it seems to be having a particular *moment* with our generation right now. Big or small, greyscale or in color, tattoos and piercings (t/p) can decorate any skin, and luckily for us, there’s tons of options in New York City for places to get embellished. BUT, before we get to some recommendations from Peer Eds + friends, here’s a short list of things to consider when researching a t/p shop:

  • make sure you’re comfortable in the space! If that requires going to visit before you actually get your t/p, go visit! In the same vein, if you step inside and something feels off, it may be worth coming back another day or trying a different shop all together.
  • ask any and all questions you may have! Of course, tattoos are generally more permanent than piercings, but any respectable and professional t/p artist will be more than happy to answer your questions. You’re marking your body and should feel in complete control of the situation. If after getting your questions answered, you feel unsure about something, take a moment to consider if you still want to go through with the t/p that day.
  • take a friend with you! This is clearly not a requirement, but bringing a good friend along (whose taste you trust) can help with those judgement calls and lingering questions you may forget if you’re feeling a bit anxious about going through with the t/p.
  • especially for tattoos, don’t be afraid to ask them to re-place the trace more than once! Once they lay the design on you, take as long as you want to check it out from different angles in the mirror — if you don’t like it, tell them why and ask if they’ll try again!
  • follow after-care instructions (with some caveats)! Every body is different and will respond to different modes of care, but generally if you go to a reputable shop, their recommendations for how to care for your t/p in the weeks following your appointment will be pretty on-point. Also, ask friends with similar t/p placements what did or did not work for them.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a piercing or tattoo since coming to Barnard, you’ve probably heard of the infamous St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. Although there are certainly some skeevy t/p establishments to be found on St. Mark’s, there are also quite a few respectable spots. Keep in mind that many reputable t/p shops will be a bit pricier, especially in New York, so consider what kind of investment you’re willing to make for the t/p you’ve chosen, and you’ll likely receive the care you pay for.

Here are the names of a few shops recommended by Peer Eds and friends of Well-Woman:

Jewels 32 — St. Mark’s

Sacred Tattoo — Soho

The End is Near — Park Slope (Brooklyn)

NY Adorned — East Village

This post is by no means exhaustive in terms of information on safe t/p, “best” t/p shops in New York, or what to do when your grandmother asks what that blob on your arm is, but rather is intended to give ideas on what to keep in mind when planning for a new t/p! If you have a t/p, new or old, that is giving you problems or seems infected, take a visit to Primary Care and have someone look at it or call your tattoo/piercer for advice. As always, Peer Eds are available to answer questions and help you track down resources, we want you to be decorated well!



P.S. Here‘s a tumblr from the Association of Professional Piercers featuring tons beautiful and safe piercings.

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