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Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art
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What to do when a tattoo is taboo

January 11th, 2008

Makeup made to cover body art is becoming popular for those who need a disappearing act.

What to do when a tattoo is taboo

Johnny Depp found that tattoos can outlast relationships. He retooled a “Winona Forever” tattoo == acquired when his flame was actress Winona Ryder == to read “Wino Forever.” (MATT SAYLES, ASSOCIATED PRESS / June 22, 2006)

Before Stephanie Toussaint graduated from college, she got a tattoo — featuring a small letter “S” with a crown above it — on the outside of her left ankle. It represented the freedom she’d soon have.

But when Toussaint became a high-school teacher, she says, she had enough sense to cover it up. “No one ever knew I had one until I mentioned it at happy hour,” she says. “I’m not embarrassed. It’s just not professional to show it. It’s like cleavage.”

Toussaint, 24, who will teach biology at Willowridge High School this fall, frequently wears long pants and boots to hide her tattoo or covers it with makeup. Her students don’t know about it, she says.

“Most of my students have more tattoos than I do. Huge ones on their back and legs. Some of them already regret it. They just got something they saw, but I urge them to really think about what they want first and put it in a place that will withstand the professional world.”

With many young adults getting tattoos — and some having tattoo remorse — makeup designed to conceal body art is becoming more popular. It’s an alternative to hiding behind clothes or painful and costly laser tattoo-removal procedures.

Some brides are using makeup to hide their tattoos for their walk down the aisle. Other people are using heavy foundations and concealers for job interviews and work.

“The tattoo is establishing your identity, but you have to take into account getting a job,” says Lee Graff, president and co-founder of the Toronto-based Cover FX Skin Care Inc. “I don’t think young people understand that tattoos are permanent. Makeup helps give you control over something that may be controlling you.”

Graff created her makeup line in 2000 after working in a dermatology clinic where patients had skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, burns and vitiligo (the melanin-loss condition from which Michael Jackson suffers). Too few makeup lines offered colors that looked natural, she says.

Cover FX produces more than 30 foundation shades designed to hide not only tattoos but also scars, birthmarks, spider veins, stretch marks and other skin conditions.

Graff recommends using a brush to apply it, because a sponge absorbs too much of the product and is less hygienic. A setting lotion, Setting FX, makes it water-resistant. Ample coverage can require two or three layers of the foundation, plus powder and setting lotion.

Fashion Fair, M.A.C., Dermablend and other cosmetics makers also offer temporary fixes for those times when a tattoo is considered taboo.

Toussaint uses M.A.C. foundation when she doesn’t want to show her tattoo. She says it allows her to wear capri pants and other summer clothing to work.

Susan Hlavac, assistant director of career counseling at the University of Houston, says tattoos and body piercings can be distracting in the workplace and disastrous in a job interview.

“Not everyone is open-minded,” she says. “You are taking a risk by going into a job interview with your tattoo exposed. You really should err on the conservative side and cover it up.”


Looking forward to tattoo business regulations

January 11th, 2008

IONIA – New safety laws passed by the state legislature will make tattoo shops prone to safety checks from county health officials in January of 2009, but some tattoo artists wish those laws would come sooner.

“Any safety laws for tattoo artists are a good thing. It makes the businesses who do take extra precautions and do everything right stand out,” said Hawkins ‘Hawk’ Matthieu, whose new business’ – 5th Ace Tattoo Co. – request for a license was approved 6-3 at Tuesday’s Ionia City Council meeting.

The tattoo parlor will officially open Friday.

“You’re talking about laws that regulate some things that aren’t regulated now. I wish [the laws] were in place right now,” said Matthieu.

In Ionia, there is no current way to monitor whether or not a tattoo parlor is properly maintaining its equipment or following health guidelines.

“The only concern I have is that the tattoo industry isn’t regulated in a sense that before [Jan. 2009] there won’t be a way to establish minimal standards,” said Mayor Dan Balice, who was one of the three dissenters in Tuesday’s vote. “I realize that tattoos have become mainstream and popular, I just think it’d be better if we had something set up to make sure they’re following baseline health standards. But from what I understand, the health department is gearing up for this.”

New regulations would allow county health organizations to routinely visit and verify whether tattoo shops are indeed following health regulations.

“When you do a tattoo, you have to know what you’re doing. You also have to know how to handle customer’s health,” said Angie McClanahan, who owns Playin’ 4 Keeps, a tattoo parlor just outside Ionia. “Appearances aren’t everything in a shop. If you’re sitting down [for a tattoo] and something is being reused or doesn’t come out of a bag, that’s when it’s time to cut if off and leave. You can’t risk your health.”

Although the regulations are still being finalized by state officials, tattoo parlors utilize numerous cleanly methods from sterilization to simple hand washing that keep people’s health in mind.

That’s because if they don’t take extreme care, they could risk a patient’s health.

“There are universal precautions for any place where there’s a potential for contacting blood or body fluids,” said Paul Lewis, supervisor for environmental health for the Ionia County Health Department. “Facilities have to be extremely clean, kept sanitary and the procedures they use must be sanitary. Inspecting will be a prudent thing to do to protect public health.”

Each time a tattoo artist begins printing, he or she is faced with the potential transmission any one of 375 communicable diseases, ranging from common viruses like the flu and cold to serious diseases like hepatitis or AIDS.

Modern tattoo parlors use technology like autoclaves to steam, heat and pressurize equipment to effectively kill any pathogens.

Reusable things like body jewelry have to be sterilized before they are used; most tools for tattoos-drawing come pre-packaged in a sterile environment.

“Before you’re even registered, your shop has to be registered as a medical waste producer with the Department of Environmental Quality,” said McClanahan. “But the reality is that you’re not re-using anything like needles. That stuff gets thrown away right after the tattoo.”

Until these new laws become reality, tattoo shops will continue to monitor their safety techniques without oversight from county health officials.

But, Matthieu said, a proven track record in tattooing – and following through the city licensing procedure, which includes a rigorous background check, fingerprinting, a mug shot and various fees – means a lot.

“A tattoo is the signature of a soul,” said Matthieu, who has more than 20 years of tattooing experience. “When you’re getting one done, it might as well be in a safe, clean environment. I think that give customers piece of mind.”



January 11th, 2008

WIFE OFFERS SKIN FOR AD TATTOO TOOA Neath man offering to sell his skin as advertising space has been joined by his girlfriend in a joint bid to become human billboards.Nigel Michael, who has just moved to Fairyland with his partner Vicky, said she has bitten the bullet and decided to support him in his efforts to raise funds for their future.

The Evening Post revealed Mr Michael’s plans to sell his body for advertising space last November. And now the couple have decided to work together.

Mr Michael said: “She is going for it now and has decided she wants it done.”

The 26-year-old said the response to their offer had so far been good. A telecommunications company has offered them five-figure sums each to have tattoos on their backs, she added

The former Briton Ferry man said the company behind the offer planned to have its name emblazoned across their backs along with images of phones.

He said: “I have seen the designs and I liked them.”

Mr Michael said he had been offered a similar sum from a company in Scotland to have a promotional tattoo.

He said he would now be considering the offers and waiting for all the responses to come back from the 140 letters he has sent to different companies.

Mr Michael said in the meantime he planned to travel to the US with his girlfriend to visit a man who made millions of dollars from the skin-selling concept.

“We are hoping to go over to America in February, if we can save enough money, and meet the man who got paid 1.6 million by a pharmaceutical company”, he said.

The pair are hoping to learn from the master when they head to the States.

Speaking of the tips from the top he has already been given, Mr Michael said: “He had the idea of writing to different celebrities and publishing their good luck letters along with articles.”

Since he went public with his idea of an indelible advert last year, Mr Michael said his phone had not stopped ringing.

“People have mainly been saying good luck although I have had the odd ‘are you mad?’ comment”, he said.

The Evening Post first reported back in November how Mr Michael came across the idea of selling his skin while surfing the net.

He said at the time that he had a number of dreams he hoped the rent-a-body money would pay for.

Summing up some of these, Mr Michael said: “I would like to pay off all my debts, get gastric bands fitted for myself and my girlfriend, travel and set ourselves up for the future.”


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