Coffee – along with water, this is probably one of the most important fluids for humans. Without it, we apparently cannot function, especially in the morning. Did you know that caffeine addiction is real? There are people so addicted to coffee that they have withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink it. No wonder there is a coffee stand or cafe on every corner in every city.
But, there has been a rumor that coffee or caffeine does not interact very well with the tattooing process. There seems to be some sort of reaction in the body that makes tattooing a little more difficult than it already is. But, is it true? We decided to tackle this problem and see if you can drink coffee before getting a tattoo. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Why is coffee a problem in this case?
Well, let’s just start by saying that it’s not the coffee itself that’s the problem, but rather the caffeine.
Now, caffeine is a chemical compound that is added to drinks and foods to impart a bitter or semi-bitter taste, to promote faster metabolic reactions, and to overall affect your mind and body by making you feel awake.
For this reason, caffeine consumption is extremely high globally, but it is most commonly done through coffee. Black and green teas are also sources of caffeine, which are also, alongside coffee, some of the most consumed beverages in the world. We humans love our caffeine in any form.
Now, caffeine is also known to have negative side effects, especially if consumed too much. For example, overconsumption of caffeine can result;
- Restlessness and tremors
- Headaches and dizziness
- Increased anxiety and heart rate
- Constriction of blood vessels
None of these side effects are pleasant and they indicate that there is too much caffeine in your system. But what are we talking about when we say too much caffeine?
Well, a safe caffeine intake for an adult male or female would be up to 200mg of caffeine per day. It is also considered safe to consume even up to 400mg of caffeine, but there is a catch. With such a high dose, you may experience an inability to sleep or sleep for long enough. There can also be digestive issues, which you are probably already familiar with.
Caffeine and tattoos
Now, why do people think it might be harmful to drink coffee before getting a tattoo?
- Anxiety and agitation during the session
First of all, caffeine is believed to calm you down, reduce your anxiety and make you feel ready to get a tattoo. Now, that’s just a short-term effect, which caffeine usually has.
It makes you more awake and there is a kind of clarity in the mind, but as soon as the effects wear off you feel even more anxious and restless. This sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate can tire the body and make the whole experience a disaster.
Not something you want to experience in the middle of a tattoo session, is it?
- Blood problems and dehydration
Plus, there’s also the issue of caffeine and blood clotting and dehydration.
During a tattoo process there is usually some bleeding, but at moderate levels. After all, your skin is pierced 3000 times per minute, so some bleeding is completely normal. However, after having a coffee before tattooing, the caffeine can constrict blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots. Additionally, studies have shown that consuming caffeine before a tattoo can also increase blood flow to areas with thinner blood vessels, such as the fingers for example.
But, we have to point out one thing; caffeine does not thin the blood, as many believe. Caffeine is just a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure and increases blood clotting. This may not be a problem when tattooing, but during some other activities it can happen.
Now, a bigger problem might be the fact that caffeine promotes skin dehydration. Proper hydration of the skin is essential during and after tattooing. In order to manage the process and aftercare, the skin needs hydration, otherwise it can cause healing problems or even infection.
We mention this because some people don’t drink enough water or replace it with coffee altogether. Without water, your skin suffers and is more prone to greater damage when tattooing.
So can I drink coffee before a tattoo?
Generally speaking, a cup of coffee before a tattoo session shouldn’t do much. To be honest, if your body is used to having caffeine, and all of a sudden you restrict it the same way, you might run into more problems during a session than if you just drank coffee. . Caffeine withdrawal is real and it can happen if you miss your usual daily caffeine intake..
For example, you may feel a sudden headache, tiredness, fatigue, irritability and much more. This alone can be a problem when tattooing when your body needs all the energy to go through the process properly.
However, if you tend to overconsume caffeine and drink more than 200mg per dose, you may want to reduce your intake before a tattoo. Instead, try having a cup of black or green tea, just to get things going.
Overconsumption of caffeine can make you shaky and restless, and during a tattoo you want to be calm and steady. This can make things more difficult for your tattoo artist since your restlessness will affect their precision and concentration while tattooing.
Thus, the consumption of caffeine, in moderate amounts, is good. A cup of coffee should not affect the tattoo process. More than that surely will be, and it might even affect the consequences of the tattoo. So what we suggest is to drink water, eat fruit and stay hydrated overall.
What can or can’t I drink before a tattoo?
Now, coffee isn’t the only drink that raises tattoo concerns.
For example, it is absolutely necessary to avoid drinking alcohol, a few days before getting a tattoo, and probably a week after. The reason is that alcohol causes blood thinning. During tattooing, you may start to bleed excessively, which can cause serious problems for the tattoo artist. There may be visibility issues, ink leaks and stains, and the inability of the skin to dry and heal properly. All of this can eventually lead to tattoo infection.
Moreover, it should avoiding taking medications like ibuprofen or aspirin, or any other blood thinners. This of course is not recommended for the same reason as alcohol; this medication thins the blood and causes excessive bleeding during the tattooing process.
Now, regarding the things you can drink before and during tattooing; good, water is usually the best choice. It moisturizes the body and has no side effects. Just make sure not to drink too much; toilet visits are limited while tattooing, so you may have to hold the pee for a long time.
A cup of herbal tea can also be a good choice. But, if you want to have caffeine without consuming too much, you can opt for black or green tea as a great alternative. Both black tea and green tea are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, which could also be very helpful in supplying the body with nutrients. Decaffeinated coffee is also a great alternative to coffee, but some brands of decaf coffee contain caffeine, so keep that in mind.
Also read: Can you get a tattoo on blood thinners?
The best thing you can do before getting a tattoo is to rest, nourish your body with healthy food and water, and just calm down. Avoid alcohol and energy drinks, or other beverages that increase your heart rate and feelings of fear and anxiety. During a tattoo, you want to be calm and steady.
So if caffeine makes you shake and jittery, try to avoid drinking coffee or substitute it with tea or decaffeinated coffee. Energy drinks are also prohibited because they contain insane amounts of sugar and caffeine, which can also affect you negatively.
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