Categories: Skincare

Body Art – Pros and Cons of Getting a Tattoo

Self expression comes in many flavors these days. Getting a tattoo is a popular way to show off your own sense of style, your favorite things, or even a spontaneous element that enters your life. But, before you set aside a certain section of your skin and get a tattoo, make sure you know all the important issues surrounding these permanent pieces of art.

Many adolescents begin counting down the days to their 18th birthdays – not so they can vote – but so they can get a long-awaited tattoo emblazoned on their body. A carefully selected tattoo offers insight into the individual bearing it.

But should you personally get a tattoo? Ultimately, you are the judge of that. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents have the final say – but even if you are 18 or older, consulting close friends and family members in the decision-making process can also prove helpful.

The Benefits of Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are available in countless colors or simple black, and designs span far beyond the realm of the imagination. If you can draw it, or create it, a tattoo artist can most likely reproduce it on your body. Words and phrases, pictures, objects, and abstract designs are just a few of the many possibilities. If you can’t quite make up your mind, they’ve got books with literally thousands of options for the perfect tattoo to suit you.

Tattoos often give their wearers a sense of reckless abandon and a somewhat safe sense of rebellion. They make a statement without taking the physical appearance to the very edge. Getting a tattoo can serve as a bonding experience between friends or a coming of age for a growing individual.

Symbolism runs deep in many tattoos. Chinese letters and other hieroglyphs are among the most popular designs in some circles. Occasionally, an individual may choose to create a symbolic design of which only he or she knows the true meaning. Cartoon characters and military insignias also reign among the favorites. Selecting from these and innumerable other tattoo designs allows for a satisfying sense of self expression.

Risks and Cons of Getting a Tattoo…

Risks and Cons of Getting a Tattoo

First and foremost, tattoos are by nature permanent fixtures of the body. Once the ink merges with the skin, it is not meant to be undone. For a price – both costly and painful – tattoos can be removed to some extent. The difficult and uncomfortable process of removing a tattoo is enough of a reason to really weigh your options before going under the tattoo artist’s pen.

Often, people get tattoos while they are young and impressionable. Years later, they look back and sometimes regret the designs they selected, or the locations they chose, or the fact that they got a tattoo at all. If you are uncertain about any aspect of getting a tattoo or if the tattoo parlor seems shady, it may be best to keep on walking.

Tattoos are applied directly to the skin via a hollow needle that injects colored or black ink into the skin itself. If you are afraid of needles, this may not be the best form of self expression for you. Tattoos can take up to several hours or even several sessions to complete, depending on the complexity of the design.

Perhaps the most grave and alarming negative associated with getting a tattoo is the possibility of contracting a blood-borne illness such as hepatitis or HIV. If needles are reused for another person after an infected person gets a tattoo, this stark reality could change your life for the very worst. Both of these conditions are considered extremely serious, as neither one has a cure.

Blood poisoning or an infection of the skin may also occur after you’ve recently gotten a tattoo. If the tattoo parlor or the tattoo artist don’t follow good hygiene and guidelines in line with the Board of Health, these risky issues can easily become a reality.

Sometimes it is necessary to get a tattoo touched up so that the colors are more vibrant and the image is clearer. Find out if your tattoo parlor offers this service for free or if additional fees are imposed.

On another note, many people who have tattoos often sport numerous tattoos. Getting tattoos has been described as an “addictive” activity, whereby people may save up money or plan ahead to get another one at a later date. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but it is something you should consider ahead of time. Do you really want just one tattoo, or can you see yourself having four or five? Can you finance four or five?

In the long run, tattoos may also impact what career path you take. A number of companies or particular lines of work – like teaching – make efforts to hire people without visible tattoos. You can always counteract this by getting your tattoo in a discreet location on your body.

TIPS for Getting a Tattoo…

TIPS for Getting a Tattoo

• Think long and hard about your decision to get a tattoo.
• Get references for the tattoo parlor where you will get your tattoo.
• Visit the parlor before you actually get the tattoo to make sure it looks clean and well established.
• Ask for safety guidelines.
• Try a temporary tattoo first in the location where you’d like your real tattoo. Make sure you like how your skin looks with a design on it in that location.
• If you are in a relationship, consult your significant other prior to taking the plunge. Some people feel very strongly about tattoos.

So, What Should You Do?
Choose wisely, for mistakes are difficult, costly, and painful!

Disclaimer: This article is based on evidence that needles used to create tattoos can carry some health implications. For the best advice, consult your physician or healthcare provider.

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Kathryn D'Imperio: