"Before you Ink, Think" says Barry tattooist

"Before you Ink, Think" says Barry tattooist

FILMING: Tattooist Lee Clements being interviewed

INFECTED: An example of an illegal tattoo

First published in News

A TATTOOIST form Barry is hoping that a new video campaign about the dangers of illegal tattooing will make its mark on youngsters.

Lee Clements, of Broad street's Chameleon Tattoo parlour, is featured in the video talking about the health risks of home tattooing using equipment bought online.

The "Before You Ink, Think" video is the brainchild of Cardiff Environmental Health Officer Gavin Williams, who is a customer of Lee.

He said: "You can't stop illegal tattooing, the best way to deal with it is through education."

He explained that, using kits bought cheaply online from China, lots of underage teenagers are getting tattoos by inexperienced tattooists using unsafe equipment.

Beyond simply risking being marked with an unsatisfactory tattoo, people are putting themselves at risk of bacterial and fungal infections as well as hepatitis and even HIV.

Also, illegal tattooists will not offer the necessary after care needed following what is essentially a surgical procedure.

"I've dealt with people who've been trying to sterilise needles in pressure cookers or in a baby bottle steriliser," Gavin said. "People are putting their lives at risk."

Tattooist Lee said that rarely a week goes by without someone coming to his studio seeking help following a botched home tattoo.

"It's a massive problem and it's something's needed to be done about it for a while," he said. "The easy access to equipment is becoming ridiculous.

"When you buy needles on the internet from somewhere like China you can't regulate what people are selling.

"There hasn't been a professional body in tattooing that's really taken on these issues. The British Tattoo Artists Federation has reinvented itself recently and we are going to be pushing all the local authorities to take note."

The "Before You Ink, Think" video can be viewed on Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFLkmB5514M

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