If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, you’re probably concerned about the design right now, and where exactly it ought to go… on your ankle? Your wrist? How much will it hurt? And, heaven forbid, what if you change your mind later? As someone with a few tattoos, and even some experience in having them removed, I can help answer some of your questions! Here are 7 things to consider about tattoos…
1. They’re Pretty Permanent
While laser tattoo removal is possible, it’s expensive, painful, and it may not work on all tattoos. Colored inks, like blues and yellows, are very difficult to remove, so if you’re considering a tattoo with those colors, make 100% certain you want it, exactly, because there’s no turning back once it’s done! In fact, some die-hard tattoo artists wont’ even hear talk of removal of one of their pieces of art, so again, be sure it’s what you want!
2. They’re Painful
Regardless of what you may have heard, there is some pain involved in getting a tattoo. Some artists will only use the needle for brief bursts, pausing til the pain subsides a bit. Others feel the pain is so minimal, and is just a part of the art, that they prefer to press on and do it all at once. Ask ahead of time what to expect, and choose an artist that will help you cope with the pain, no matter what your threshold is.
3. They Will Spread
Over time, even the very best tattoos will spread, meaning those crisp lines will move a little, making them look smudged and making text hard to read. If you’re going for an intricate tattoo, plan on having it retouched every few years, and note that tattoos that aren’t shaded tend to “bleed” a little less.
4. There’s No FDA Regs on Ink
Most things that go into our bodies are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but did you know that tattoo inks are not? They can contain all sorts of nasty, harmful chemicals, and artists and studios are pretty much able to choose to use whatever inks they want. Do a little research ahead of time to be sure you’re getting a reputable artists who uses ink that’s non-toxic and high-quality.
5. You Don’t Have to Be 18
If you have a parent or guardian who’s willing to sign a waiver, you don’t have to be 18 to get a tattoo. Your parent must be prepared to show proof that they are indeed your parent, and chances are, they’ll have to stay with you while the tattoo is being done.
6. You Get What You Pay for
Like most anything else worth having, you’ll get as good of a tattoo as you pay for. If you won’t go to a cheap hair stylist or wear cheap make-up, why would you try to get a cut-rate tattoo? It’s much more permanent than make-up or hair, so be prepared to spend a little more to get a good-quality tattoo.
7. Having Them Removed is Expensive and Painful
I know I mentioned this before, but I have to say it again: getting a tattoo removed in expensive, and it really hurts! An example: my original arm-band tattoo cost $280, a simple design with a little shading and no colors. So far, I’ve spent $600 to have it removed… and I’m going to spend another $1800 at least. And the creams, like Wrecking Balm, don’t really work, so don’t bother with those, either. So be sure you’re absolutely certain you want that tattoo!
8. Tattoo Wedding Bands Are Trendy, but…
A friend of mine, a tattoo artist, told me that there’s a new trend in wedding bands — using tattoos on your ring finger instead of a metal band. This seems like a sweet idea, until you realize that since more than half of all marriages end in divorce, most within the first 5 years, you might want to opt for the metal band, at least until your ten year anniversary! Also, note that having a tattoo on your finger removed is so painful, because there’s not a lot of flesh there… ouch!
I hope this answers a few of the questions you might have about tattoos! I know it sounds like I’m against them, but I’m really not! I have one on my wrist that I love. I just want to make it clear that they’re terribly permanent, so you really need to make sure you’re getting a tattoo you know you’ll love forever! Do you have any other bits of advice to share about tattoos, or any other questions? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: j6 photo