It’s no secret that the 2019 American Music Awards was Selena Gomez’s big comeback. And thanks to her Instagram account, we know that Selena Gomez got a new thigh tattoo shortly before (or after—the jury’s still out on this one). Some time after her performance, the singer shared several Polaroids from the event in an Instagram post, including a snap that prominently featured her newest addition: praying hands clutching a rosary strand.
Like so many celebrities, Gomez has gotten several tattoos from one of New York’s most well-known shops, Bang Bang (Drake has several pieces from here) and it was the studio itself who confirmed they were behind the black and grey realism thigh piece. Not long after Gomez posted the collage, Bang Bang posted their own series from the session with the tag #housecall, which you can see in full below. And if you look carefully, it’s pretty clear from the pics that Gomez was getting the piece in someone’s dining room—not a tattoo studio.
Sure, celebrities are used to having anything and everything brought directly to them, but when it comes to tattoos, house calls aren’t quite so okay. But the issue is a little more nuanced than that.
Tattoo studios operate under strict guidelines for proper sanitation and hygiene and tools are sterilized in an autoclave, a machine similar to what doctors use to sterilize their tools. The entire space is required to be made from specific materials and to be kept meticulously clean. (And if you ever happen upon a studio that doesn’t seem neat as a pin, that’s a good sign you should probably avoid adding to your collection there.)
Someone’s kitchen or basement or garage, on the other hand, is a veritable petri dish of bacteria. Add to that poor, often too-dim lighting that’s likely less than ideal for an artist to execute the finer details of a given piece, and the resulting environment is far from ideal. So while it may feel luxe to get inked in the comfort of your own (or someone else’s) home, in doing so, you’re sacrificing hygiene and potentially the look and health of your fresh ink.
This isn’t to say an infection or less-than-neat designs are forgone conclusions of an at-home tattoo. Trained artists can plan ahead—way ahead—to ensure whatever environment they’re tattooing in is entirely hygienic. Plus, we’d be remiss to not acknowledge that many artists are self-taught, honing their crafts from the confines of their own home—but we’re going to assume they’re following proper protocols and keeping everything sanitary and sterile.
One more time for those in the back, though: Do not tattoo yourself—or a friend—at home. If you’re itching for some fresh ink, do your research and book an appointment at a studio with an artist whose vibe matches your own. And one who works from a well-sterilized shop, of course.
If you liked our story Selena Gomez Got a New Thigh Tattoo During a House Call—Is That an OK Thing to Do?, make sure to check out our post Helen Mirren Wants a Second Tattoo, Says They’re Addictive—But Are They Really?