Tattoos in the Workplace

Tattoos in the workplace

Tattoos have become more of an accepted way of self-expression in recent years. However, people with tattoos are still getting reprimanded for them.

There has always been a stigmata with tattoos within the workplace, and what is considered acceptable from employers. You were probably told as a child and young adult that getting a tattoo would severely effect your chances at finding a good job, or any job at all in the future. So why is this prejudice still alive and kicking in 2019?

Big Companies such as Google, UPS and Target have a tattoo friendly policy for their employees. These companies are some of the biggest in the world, so if having a Tattoo Friendly policy works so well for them, why do others not follow in their lead?

These companies show that when you’re accepting of all people it can create a wonderful work space and growth of business. They are great advocates to show that being inclusive works. 

According to an Employer Survey taken in the UK in 2017, 70% of Employers views were unfavourable towards tattoos.

People with tattoo’s are considered:

  • Less intelligent
  • Less attractive
  • More rebellious
  • Less spiritual
  • Unhealthy

Why is it these are considered traits of tattooed people when the art of tattooing has been around for centuries? Why is there still biased views towards one of the oldest art forms to exist and when tattooing is still so apparent in popular culture?

What happens if someone beautiful, highly intelligent, religious, fit, and white collar decide to get a tattoo? Do they suddenly morph into a hideous troll who forgets everything he knows and starts eating out of bins? Of course not! Because these “traits” attached to tattooed people are just prejudice myths.

Why is there still judgement in 2019?

Firstly, lets break these labels down into parts and debunk them so we can gain a clearer understanding of what is being judged:

Less intelligent – 

How does your intelligence correlate with wanting or having a tattoo? There’s thousands of highly intelligent people in the world who have tattoo’s such as Thomas Edison the inventor, Dorothy Parker, a Poet, Writer and Critic and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill just to name a few! 

Less attractive

Attractiveness and tattoos are all based on your personal preference. Beauty is all relative at the end of the day.  For example, when you see Jason Momoa and his beautiful Hawaiian tribal tattoos, he is a prime example of someone sexy who is made even sexier by his trademark tats, but this is again, personal opinion. This is all dependant on preference and is not actually factual. 

Less spiritual

Do all the the religious tattoos i’ve seen not make that person just as spiritual as his neighbour? Showing their love of their religion on them in the form of a tattoo is a lifelong commitment. How religious people decide to physically show how they much they love their religion is up to them.

More rebellious

What about all the memorial pieces that grieving people get for their loved ones? What about the idea of remembering an important or beautiful memory forever? This is all context, and unless you’re getting a specific tattoo specifically TO be rebellious then this point is moot. 


This just sounds like an excuse from someone who has no idea about the process of tattooing and dislikes them in general. How is it unhealthy? If anything, you need to be generally in good health to be able to get tattooed to begin with! This ‘label’ seems like more of a need of being educated in tattooing.

So what about Tattoo Removal?

23% of inked folk regret getting a certain tattoo, probably due to being young, getting drunk on holiday, a bad breakup or simply not doing their research and getting a bad tattoo.

There can be many reasons, and tattoo removal shouldn’t be seen as a negative outcome to getting something permanent. People make mistakes, it’s how we learn.

Tattoo Removal has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Style changes, people change and grow, and circumstances alter, so there can be a smorgasbord of reasons for removal.

You may have heard recently of Mel B (Scary Spice) from The Spice Girls getting her ex-husbands name surgically removed from her ribs after years of being abuse. She decided against laser removal and got the tattoo removed because she did not want to go through the pain of laser treatment over a long period of time.

This was a rather brave yet harsh decision and should always be carefully considered and talked through with professionals. Laser removal is probably the better option for most people instead of going to the extreme that Scary Spice did. 

There can be many reasons people choose to get tattoos removed and nobody should be judged by others for the choices they make about their own body.

So what now?

There is still a long way to go for full acceptance of tattooing and the industry, even when the art of tattooing has been around for thousands of years. Popular culture has made tattoos more widely accepted, but it is only with open-mindedness and education of tattoo history will things get better. 

Why aftercare is important

Tattoo aftercare is arguably the most important step of getting a tattoo as it dictates how well your tattoo will heal. If you don’t look after your tattoo in the healing stage, it can cause problems further down the line.

So what is aftercare?

Aftercare is the ‘treatment’ of your tattoo after it has been done. Your tattoo is an open wound and should be treated as such, which many people don’t think about.

Getting a tattoo means you have just been stabbed with a needle hundreds of times for the ink to go into your skin, and it bleeds, which makes it an infection risk. This is why aftercare is so important, and looking after your new tattoo is not a complicated process, but a vital one if you want your tattoo to be healthy and look great.

If you don’t follow your tattoo artists advice on aftercare, the quality of the tattoo could be affected. Your artist should always go through the aftercare with you on how to correctly look after your tattoo. 

What’s your advice?

Generally, most tattoo aftercare is the same, but different product brands are used for helping it heal.

Here is our aftercare advice:

  1. Leave the dressing of the tattoo on for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if possible.
  2. Remove the dressing carefully!
  3. Wash the area gently with hot water (as hot as you can stand) with non perfumed, antibacterial soap until the tattoo has stopped feeling slimy.
  4. Rinse well and pat dry the area with kitchen towel or a clean towel. Do not rub the area.
  5. Once dry, dab on some of your choice of professional tattoo aftercare balm/cream. Do not rub in excessively as this can cause unnecessary trauma to the tattoo. We have balms by The Aftercare Company available to purchase for just £2.50 in the shop.
  6. Continue doing steps 3 – 5 two or three times a day for the next 3/4 days. Do not excessively clean the tattoo more than recommended.
  7. After day 4 you can stop using your aftercare product and switch to a non-perfumed moisturiser to help keep the tattoo soft and supple.

As expected, your tattoo will continue to seep fluid or ‘plasma’, which is normal for an hour or two after the tattoo. This can make the wrapping of the tattoo a bit messy, but it is important to leave the wrapping on for the recommended time. Make sure you always wash your hands before you begin cleaning your tattoo!

How will I know if my tattoo is infected?

While this isn’t a common thing, it still needs to be addressed. If your tattoo is infected you may get some irritating and painful symptoms. If you are worried and think your tattoo is infected always seek a medical professional. Here are symptoms of what might very well be an infection:

  • Heat & Redness – It is normal for your tattoo to be warm a couple of days after tattooing but it should never be hot. Likewise with Redness, if your tattoo has a red haze around it after a couple of days this is abnormal.
  • Discharge – Infected tattoos often have some sort of discharge coming from the area. Sometimes it could be clear yet golden in colour, or could come in white, green or yellow pus.
  • Odour – If your tattoo has discharge and a strange odour, it’s probably infected.
  • Blistering/Abnormal Scabbing – This can occur on top of the tattoo and come as red bubbled blisters or raised sores. Abnormal scabbing can also form over the tattoo, making it thick and bulbous.
  • Pain – If you are experiencing extreme pain with your tattoo over the next few days then it is likely infected.
  • Swelling – It is completely normal for your tattoo to swell, however if it increases in swelling over the next few days instead of decreasing in size then this could be a sign of infection.
  • Streaking – If around the area of your tattoo is red and small red lines start forming, then this is called streaking. If you notice signs of streaking in your tattoo, seek medical advice immediately as it could be a sign of blood poisoning.
  • Fever – If your temperature increases even by a small amount over the next few days, this could be a sign of your body battling the infection. 

Unfortunately, even if you are very diligent and follow the aftercare to the tee, you may still get an infection, although it is not common. There will be times in everyday life where you go to the hospital to visit someone and get an infection or virus just because you cannot control outside influences. All you can do is keep your tattoo as clean and healthy as possible to give it the chance to live its best life by following the recommended aftercare.

Any more good advice?

Some other good things to know while you’re in the process of healing your tattoo:

  • Wear loose clothing around the area if possible, for example, if you have a new leg tattoo try not to wear skinny jeans until it is fully healed to stop unnecessary rubbing and trauma to your new ink.
  • Do not pick or scratch at your tattoo and try not to touch it unless you are washing it.
  • Do not let other people or animals touch or lick your tattoo either! 
  • Do not soak the area. Showers are the best idea while healing your tattoo, but if you don’t have a shower, keep the tattooed area out of the bath. 
  • The same goes for swimming and saunas. Don’t go swimming, and don’t go out in the sun or on sun-beds until your tattoo is fully healed. Even then, make sure to always have UV protection on your skin, preferably Factor 50 to keep your tattoo vibrant.
  • Generally, we don’t recommend the gym or any strenuous activities whilst the tattoo is in its healing period.

Parting wisdom

We want you to have a great tattoo that will look good for years to come. You pay a lot of money to have some great artwork, so treat it right when its settling in.

Remember that these are guidelines for tattoo aftercare and all bodies are unique and heal differently. If you are ever unsure about your aftercare, contact us and we will be happy to help! You can contact us on 01332 204240 during opening hours or email us at

If you are ever seriously worried about having an infection, do not wait to hear from us but seek medical advice and treatment immediately.



Tattoo’s and Scarring

Throughout your life you may have racked up a few scars over the years from various things such as terrible accidents, surgical scars, or even just silly happenings. I for one have a long scar in my armpit from being overly vigorous when shaving my armpit, and one strange ‘V’ shaped scar on the top portion of my middle finger where I got it caught in a toaster!

Many people don’t think that they are able to convert their scars into a tattoo but it’s becoming increasingly popular to not just accept them as they are, but embrace them and sometimes develop them into a continuation of the story or memory that the scar left to begin with.

Credit: David Allen, Tattoo Artist @ Pioneer, USA.


There has been some fantastic work produced by tattoo artists all over the world who create beautiful or funny situations out of a terrible happening; Breast cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy who have chosen to get  tattoo’s over their scars to reclaim their bodies and to have a beautiful reminder that they are strong, they endured, and they survived. There’s been many clients who have had amputations and chosen to create funny artwork on their limbs, someone has even had a toe amputated and got a tattoo referencing that the little piggy went to market!

The possibilities are endless, and a good artist will want to create a special piece for you to fit your body, and incorporate your needs as a client. 


How long will it be until I can get a Tattoo?

Depending on the scarring, it can take around 12 to 18 months for a scar to fully heal. The best piece of advice is always check with your doctor/GP/surgeon before beginning the process of getting a tattoo over scarring, as it will always differ per person and per injury. To further help with healing, drinking plenty of water every day will help with hydrating the skin and the regeneration of cellular tissue. You can also try using BioOil on the scarring, as long as you have the go ahead from your Doctor.

It all depends on what the scarring was from. That being said, you should always have a consultation with your artist of choice to discuss everything regarding the scarring, so both parties are aware of the expectations of the tattoo.


Will it hurt?

All tattoo’s hurt to some degree, depending on your own pain tolerance and placement of the tattoo. Scar tissue is no exception, as it is a lot more sensitive than regular skin. 

Pain is relative, but beauty is pain, right?


How will it look?

Depending on your artist and design of tattoo and the actual scarring, it all depends. It’s always best to do your research on an artist, ask them questions about their previous work, if they’ve tattooed someone with scarring before and the outcome of that piece. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Do your homework and you’ll be much happier with the outcome instead of finding someone who is a back alley tattooist, is quick and cheap and puts you in a lot of pain to end up with something you hate in a couple of weeks time. 

Generally, if your scars are still more pink than white in colour, they required a little more healing time, and this would need to be taken into consideration with how it would affect the outcome of the design. 

Different scarring will alter the tattoo. If you have small stretch marks that are white or silver, the tattoo will look differently compared to when it’s on large bright pink or red stretch marks, so these factors need to be brought into consideration when you are having a consultation with your artist.

There are also other factors to consider such as how deep the scarring goes, if it’s from surgical or self harming wounds which will be a lot deeper than stretch marks. These will also need more time to heal from the inside out, so the longer you can let your scars heal before tattooing, the better. 

Check out Mat’s work on this lovely gentleman who came into us with some bad keloid scarring over his shoulders and back, which you can see is still pink in colour. He worked his magic and worked closely with the client to create something both of them were happy with, and from the result, you can see it worked perfectly and was a job well done! Having pinker scarring does not necessarily mean that it cannot be tattooed, but should be taken on a case by case basis.


How do you tattoo over scarring?

Tattooing over scarring can be very difficult, which is why we will stress that you should do your homework and consult your doctor and chosen artist beforehand. The ink can blur and alter the design of the tattoo if not careful by choosing the wrong type of design or artist for the job.

Finding the right artist for the job is the key to creating a design that you are proud of and having a quality tattoo to cover or embrace your scars.

As a final note, always talk in depth to your artist to make sure you can get the best outcome for you to get a great piece of art. 


If you would like to discuss getting a tattoo with one of the artists at Octopus Tattoo, check out our contact page for further details.



What’s The Skinny? – The Sun

Sun, Skin and a whole lotta tattoos.

It’s finally here! The sun! And by the looks of things it’s going to be here for a little while longer *hurray*. So, over the next few weeks I think now is a great time to talk about your skin, it’s care and what effect that has on your tattoos. Whether you have tattoos or not a good skin care routine including protection from the sun is greatly important, not just for you tattoos but for you as a whole. But why?

What’s everyone’s beef with the sun?

Let’s forget about the bad sun stuff for a moment and concentrate on the benefits. Humans are made to be in the sun; it regulates our sleep patterns (circadian rhythms if you fancy reading some more about that), impacts on depression and triggers the production of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for brain function, lowering blood pressure and promoting healthy bone formation. However, like all good things it should be in moderation. I’m sure we are all familiar with the sand dwelling sun creatures that resemble the crypt keeper covered in bovril but what exactly is that doing under the surface? 

The skin already has a natural defence against the sun in the form of melanin. Prolonged exposure to the sun boosts melanin production thus your skin becomes darker. As the skin regenerates the melanocytes get closer to the surface and are shed therefore fading your tan. However, let us not forget that what you are actually getting along with your lovely summer glow is a radiation burn. Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes to unprotected skin and the effects such as redness maybe visible after as little as 30 mins; its full effects take around 2-6 hours with pain making an appearance around the 6-48hrs mark after the initial exposure. When your skin is exposed to UVB radiation it effects your skin at DNA level (there is a lot of chemistry involved so you can read all about it here if you are so inclined) triggering several defence mechanisms; peeling to clear away all the irreparable cells and an inflammation process which increases your sensitivity to heat; that is why having a shower after you have been in the sun can be unbearable….clever ey?

How does this effect tattoos?

Imagine that exposing your tattoo to the sun is a super slowed down version of laser tattoo removal. They work in very similar ways by concentrating a light onto your skin in order to break down the pigments in the dermis. Once the pigment has been broken down your body then absorbs it into the blood stream and disposes of it. This is essentially what is happening to your tattoos but over a longer period of time.

The sun will also alter the colour of your tattoo. The pigment is under 2 layers of skin which act as a transparent filter. As this filter becomes darker so will to your tattoo. Depending on how well you tan and the regularity of sun exposure this could spell a permanent discolouration of your tattoo. It’s worth noting that skin with very little melanin is always best for bright tattoos as this filtering effect is minimal if at all. It does mean that you burn easier though. 

That’t not all folks; The sun also effects the healing process. The tattooing process creates a open wound so the normal protective barrier is now compromised. If the wound is then exposed to direct sunlight it will not only be incredibly sensitive but there is a potential risk that area will get burned. Therefore starting the inflammation process. if the skin blisters, cracks or peels this might take the new pigment with it (painful).

Post holiday tattoos.

The sensible option and one that is highly recommended is to wait until you have been on holiday and get your tattoo when you come back. However,  you still have to be vigilant and look after yourself. If you are crispy and peeling when you arrive for your appointment be prepared to potentially be turned away. As part of the tattoo process your skin will have to be cleansed and wiped numerous times so, if sheets of skin are coming off with each wipe that will take the stencil with it making the tattoo impossible. Not to mention that it will be sore as hell! Tattoo machines create a small amount of heat so if you are already sensitive to temperature that will be exaggerated.

Moral of the story. 

I don’t want this article to sound like I’m slating the sun. I’m really not. I just want to ensure you make an informed decision when getting tattooed why looking after your skin when sitting on the beach or in the beer garden is important. Tattoos cost a lot of money and time to ensure you get something perfect. Don’t let all that hard work from you and your artist be in vain.