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5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

They can be cool, funny, sad, serious, political, symbolic and creative. They can be black and grey or vibrant colors. They can be hidden your little secret, or they can be displayed for all the world to see. Because they can be so many things (permanent being among them!), it is important to take a few things into consideration before you enter the wonderful world of body modification.

They Are PermanentYes, I realize you all know that. But, having worked in tattoo shops, I have learned that a lot of people don’t really consider their permanence when they start coming up with ideas for their tattoos. You may think you’ll always like your tribal armband or having Tinkerbell on your breast, but trust me, you probably won’t. When choosing designs, think long and hard about the fact that it will always be there. Yes, there is now tattoo removal, but relying on this fact is a lousy idea. Laser removal is both more expensive and more painful than the tattoo itself, and it doesn’t always leave your skin looking new and fresh. If you’re going into a tattoo with the idea “well, I can always remove it later”, you probably shouldn’t get that tattoo.

Does It Mean Something?I’d estimate that, at one of the shops I worked at, 50% of our business was covering up old tattoos. The 1 reason? “I got this silly tattoo when I was 18.”. The problem, of course, isn’t with getting a tattoo at 18, but with getting one that means nothing to you. Getting a tattoo with some friends on the spur of the moment may sound like a fun bonding experience, but if the piece itself holds no meaning for you, you will come to hate it.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get something fun or outrageous (I love it when people ask for weird things!), it just means you should ask yourself why you’re getting it.

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up? I’m 30, and I’m still asking myself this question, so don’t think this is reserved for the younger folk!

While I’m glad to report the world is slowly coming around to the idea of tattoos, a lot of people still frown on them. Yeah, we’d all like to say we don’t care what others think of us, but if there is a career or lifestyle that you are passionate about seeking, you may have to care a little. Certain professions still forbid visible tattoos in the workplace, so you need to consider if you may end up in one of those professions. While I absolutely love the tattoo on my forearm, I’ve questioned the wisdom of it more than once, as I know I will likely end up in the education field.

The good news is that this doesn’t mean you can’t get a tattoo at all you just may want to consider putting it somewhere that can easily be hidden. An ankle, the back of your shoulder, your upper arm or on your ribcage are all good options for the hidden tattoo.

Timing Is Everything A tattoo shop’s busiest season is in the summer. It shouldn’t be.

Tattoos need a decent amount of time to heal (expect 3 4 weeks), and should not be exposed to direct sunlight or a lot of water in that time. This means no tanning and no swimming. Depending on where you get it, you may also want to do it when you have a couple of days off work (my feet swelled up so badly, I had to just sit still for a day!). It’s the artist’s job to give you a good tattoo, but it’s your job to look after it; make sure you get it at a time when you can care for it properly.

Are You Ready?There’s a lot more to getting a good tattoo than saving up some cash and picking a design. One of the regrets I hear most often from clients is that they got their first tattoo at the first shop they saw. In my experience, a person is truly ready to get a tattoo once they’ve:

Thought long and hard about the piece they want

Researched the shops in their area and chosen the cleanest, most experienced shop with the best reputation

Looked through the artist’s portfolios and chosen the one most suited to their piece

Had a consultation with the artist

Saved up enough money for at least the first session (if it takes more than one)

Tattoos are a beautiful thing. Take the time to do it right, and it will be a permanent piece of art that you can carry with you forever.

Follow (9)Comments 80 comments

mecheshier 16 months ago Level 4 Commenter

Great Hub!!!! My daughter is wanting a tattoo and has wanted one since she was a teen (she is now 23). I tell her, fads come and go but tattoos are permanent. I love your other suggestions/tips as well. Thanks you. Voted up for useful.

James Halpin 2 years ago from York, Pennsylvania

Very good hub. You brought up a lot of great points that everyone should follow. I found the person who did my tattoo from looking at porfolios online. Very happy with both of my tattoos.

Tess45 2 years ago from South Carolina

I got my first tattoo at the ripe old age of 45. Takes up my entire right forearm representing my love of sewing and I love it. My second tattoo I got in the beginning of August with my cousin on my right chest to honor my Uncle and my dad. It’s a seahorse. My uncle had one on each side. Soon, I will get a monster of a memorial tattoo left arm for my son, who shuffled off this mortal coil on June 6. It will also honor my daughter, his sister. Her boyfriend, a very talent artist has already drawn it. I can hardly wait. Excellent post. Very insightful.

Erin LeFey 2 years ago from Maryland

Great hub with some great advice! Luckily I did exactly these things with my first tattoo (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th) they’re so addictive but it is great common sense for the first timer! You are so right about getting something you are going to live with permanently (my first was at age 34, so I did think long and hard about it) and about it having meaning. There are so many beautiful tattoos out there.

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Level 7 Commenter

Great article! MOre people should go through these steps of careful analysis first. I have a friend who has an absolutely gorgeous tat of a family of wolves all across her back and shoulders. It is huge, and I know it cost some serious buck and time.

For her 40th birthday, my daughter treated herself to a full color tat of a leopard on her calf. It is about 6″ and was all done in a single sitting. It is an amazing “coming at you” 3 D effect.

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