Professional Tattoos?

There seems to be a proliferation of tattoo "shops", kitchen magicians, scratchers, and general hacks in the Rochester area calling themselves Professional Tattoo Artists.
One has to wonder who it is that patronizes these dangerous germ factories.
In giving the public the benefit of the doubt, we have decided that they must not be properly educated in what to look for and how to keep themselves safe from blood borne pathogens.

This web page is here to help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

We want you to know what you are looking for and what dangers could be present.


These photos were pulled from a facebook pages in the Rochester area

example of dangerous tattooing


Let's play what is wrong here.
The machine is not bagged
The cord cover is not wrapped
The rinse bottles in the background have no barriers on them.
The victim's arm is on an absorbant surface

unprofessional tattooing


again the tattoo victim is resting their arm on an absorbant surface and the spray bottle in the background is not barrier wrapped

dangerous tattoo practices


victim is laying directly on a non cleanable surface with no barrier
No covers on the machine or the cord cover
Machine is set directly on table with no barrier
Cord is set directly on scratcher's pantleg
"Work Table" appears to be a wooden end table with plastic wrap on it. At least they made a barrier attempt there , right?

scratcher tattoo


and just in case you thought they were still setting up in that last photo - here you can see the transfer to the table

scratcher with facebook comments

Here there is the back up of other people who have started commenting on this hacker's facebook page about how bad their cross contamination is and he didn't even bother to remove the comments
Everything in this photo is contaminated and would need to be disposed of

text on face book page scratcher tattoo

(for those that complained that you couldn't read that well enough in the previous shot)

tattoing in a bar


That's right, they are tattooing in a bar here

basement scratcher


and here they are working in a basement (on a carpeted floor)

In home studio


These folks even attempted to set up a corner in the house to try and make it look more official.

Things to let you know you are in the wrong place:

clorox wipes

While these are indeed cleaning wipes and they are better than nothing... They should not be used in any critical areas (such as work surfaces) and if they are used MUST be followed up with a hospital grade surface cleaner. Just because someone is "cleaning" does not mean they are keeping you safe.


Scracther victim - contaminated foot

There is no way to properly clean and disinfect these tables. The surfaces are porous. Disposble barriers should be used on any and all work surfaces - ESPECIALLY porous ones.


contaminated foot - tattoo

All of that fluid and ointment can contain potential contaminants which can be transferred to the next victim.


scratcher and victim

Just the fact that this is happening in a kitchen should be a huge red flag - besides that from what is visible in the photo, there are no barriers on the lamp or the spray bottle. The gloves are substandard and the skin is not being properly stretched.


----Tattooing is a permanent life altering decision. Make sure you are making the right choice for yourself in both the art and the professionalism of the tattoo artist.

Bad tattooing can be lasered, covered up or forgotten.
Diseases that can be transmitted through improper tattoo techniques can be fatal.

Think before you Ink.

professional tattoo artist

and by comparison let's look at what is right in this photo.
Barriers are covering, the cord, the spray bottle, the client table, the pillow, the light and the work surface (which is non-pourus and cleanable)

professional tattoo set up

Here the machine and cord are both covered. Bottles are covered as is the power adjustment



proper tattoo set-up



Things to let you know you are in the right place:


There should be an autoclave someplace in the shop. It should be tested regularly by an outside service and they should be running back-up tests with each and every cycle. A professional will be glad that you asked about sterilization procedures and be happy to explain them to you.


Work areas should be cleaned in between clients with a professional hospital grade surface cleaner. Most of these products require 10 minute active soaks in order to be fully effective.


Products such as these should be used for cleaning of non-critical areas and machines when necessary.

bagged power supply

any area that will be touched during the tattooing process should be barrier protected or disposable

distilled water

While it may seem like a small thing to the lay person.... distilled water is incredibly important. If your artist is using tap water in their rinse cup, they are putting you in danger.

Suggestions from the Center for Disease Control LINK

Some Basic Guidelines for selecting an artist from the Alliance of Professional Tattooist LINK

Here is a link to some other collected visuals as to what to look for and what to run away from in tattooing LINK