Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A lot of people ask about what it's like to get tattoos. Usually they're wondering about the pain. That mostly what people ask about. Anyone who is heavily tattooed has answered the questions. Does it hurt? Where does it hurt most? How much does it hurt? Is it worth the pain? Always with the hurting questions. I guess everyone would answer their own way. Pain is relative I'd suppose. I had this conversation with my good friend Brad just yesterday as we were drinking cans of Guinness and shots of Jameisons. Not the tattoo pain thing but more the relative nature of experience. We wondered if food tasted differently to each person. Does a green bean taste the same for me as for him. Did the whiskey we were tasting taste the same to each of us? We agreed that it tasted great to us both. The same likely applies to pain. And for sure with tattoo pain.

Random shot of some of my ink.

I have some light work done on one of my elbows. That was the worst pain (from tattoos) I've ever experienced. For me, generally anything on the bone sucks ass. Anywhere on large muscles (not that mine are overly large) but I mean the ones I use most, is the least painful. It was very interesting though to find out that the left side of my back did not hurt at all but the right side was very painful. Pete, my tattoo artist, said he notices that with lots of people. Anyway, the short answer is yes, it hurts. Lots at times, less at others but it is never really great feeling. But then, if you get lots of work done, it kind of is a good feeling. I'm conflicted.

When it comes to healing I usually don't do much other than a good clean wash several hours after my tattoo. I never put any cream on it. I just let it heal. Until now that is. I've been converted. I was recently given the opportunity to try a more natural product to aid in the healing of my last session. The product is called TINKture. It's a trade secret mix of essential oils and, well, stuff. It's a trade secret really so I can't know what's in it. That's my terrible description of what I'm sure amounts to a tonne of time learning and testing and re-formulating and re-testing on the part of the owner of TINKture, Gillian Parkinson.

I wanted to get a real idea of how well this stuff worked so I set up a little experiment. I got a session of work done and did my usual 'let it alone' technique but paid great attention to the healing process. I did about twenty Latin bird names. It was only mildly painful really during the first day or so of healing. Kind of a dull ache. About the fourth day, the itching started (a product of some scabbing I guess, but they call Pete Golden Gloves so really I get very little scabs if any with him.) But did it ever itch. The itching is the part of it all I hate most. You can NOT scratch. It can ruin your work. The rule is always slap it, don't itch it. It was so itchy one evening I had a co-worker slapping my back while we sat and ate dinner at a work function. Another time I sat watching cartoons with my kids while they both slapped the shit outa' my back. It eventually stopped but it took a while.

The ones on the right were not treated with TINKture.

Then, I got another session of about 23 Latin bird names. I applied the oil right after the tat was done, then, as instructed by the packaging, I applied a small amount often. Whenever I felt like I needed it, I put some on. It feels better on contact. Kind of a cooling sensation? Well, I'm pleased to say that I love this stuff. There was no itchy phase. The redness and swelling were very minor. Less than my back for sure. The thing I hate about creams and so on is that they get all gooey. They don't ever really sink into your skin. Yuk. But an oil like TINKture goes right into your skin. Your arm is dry to the touch right away. The sensation is kind of like rubbing a little olive oil into your skin. Your skin stays nice and moisturized but the stuff doesn't get on your clothes or bed sheets. Often after a fresh tat ,you'll get a reverse impression of it on your sheets. That never happened with TINKture.

Right after the session.

Treated with TINKture. 2 hours later riding the subway home (instagramFiltered).

So I say try the stuff if you get tattoos. I'm kind of hooked. My tat healed faster (about a week instead of 2ish) and I'm looking forward to this weeks session so I can start using it again. I just like having it on. I put some on this morning even though I didn't need it. It just smells great. In fact, Rachel has asked that I start wearing it daily. I'm not a dude that's ever worn any sort of scent other than stress (at work) or hard work (at home) or perhaps fear.

Since we are on the topic of healing, I must mention my lovey wife in this post because I've never really had any serious healing to do. But her, she gave birth to our twins via C section and has just had another major surgery. If you like honesty and laughter, read all about her procedure here and how it's going afterward here. She's one tough lady.

Punk Rock Big Year
Paul Riss

Reference links.

TINKture's site.
TINKture's Facebook page.


  1. I'll be trying TINKture with my next tat. I HATE that itchy phase.
    You never really remember the pain of the tattoo proceedure until the needle hits your skin again. It sucks big time, but wearing the tattoo makes it all worth it.

  2. You should Shyloh. she's good people.