Jan 10, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen (11) signals for a jump ball against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. The Brooklyn Nets won the game 104-95 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Previously something that used to be connected with sailors and prison rings, tattoos have now turned out to be a must-have style accessory. However, the dangers of getting a terrible tattoo from an unqualified tattoo artist are very real with the ascent of a group known as scratchers becoming an issue. This is one of the reasons why it is always a good idea to patronize a reputable tattoo shop in Pretoria for all your tattooing needs.

Scratchers SA, a Facebook group, is currently calling out unsafe artists. The group, which is experiencing an increase in popularity – and stirring up a lot of debate – plans to guide tattoo lovers. With experience spanning 15 years in the industry, expert tattoo artist John Simmons knows a great deal about scratchers.

“Essentially it’s an untrained, unimaginative person trying to draw tattoos, and they’re usually unclean and you shouldn’t be anywhere close to them. What they are after is making money out of this rather than thinking they’re going to injure or kill someone,” Simmons said.

Simmons says his tattoo shop in Pretoria is always disinfected and in a perfect condition, for customers’ as well as his own wellbeing.

Here are some essential safety tips for when you’re getting a tattoo

  • Do your investigation. Determine if your artist has undergone any training and has a body of work to show you.
  • Sign an insurance form and inform your artist of any medicinal conditions or infections you may have.
  • Ensure that every single tool is securely wrapped in plastic.
  • Be aware whenever the tattooist is bringing out another needle.
  • Make sure your tattoo artist is wearing gloves.
  • Adhere to all the aftercare advice.
  • Try not to be hesitant to make inquiries.

A great part of the tattoo industry is not under the control of any health laws, so clients and tattoo artists need to take responsibility for ensuring that whatever tattoo shop in Pretoria they are using is safe and clean.