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How to Choose the Right Tattoo for Yourself

Updated on November 1, 2014


People get tattoos for quite a few reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • Memorial purposes (in rememberance of Grandma, etc)
  • They look cool/badass
  • Hiding skin flaws such as scars or lack of skin pigment

In any case, there are a few factors to consider when you make the decision to put art on your body, and that's what this article will focus on. You will want to consider:

  1. Where this tattoo is going to go?
  2. Your Age (Dictates the amount of detail this tattoo should receive)?
  3. Is the design you want appropriate?

Lets take a look at each of these a little more in depth.


Where Is this Tattoo Going to Go?

There are a few things to consider in the placement of a tattoo.

For example, if you are a 300 lb person who just had gastral bypass surgery, you are going to want to hold off on getting any ink. The reason being, that you will be losing a lot of weight very quickly, and that will not allow your skin to shrink back to a tight state without some kind of corrective surgery to tighten the skin; so there is a possibility that the tattoo you placed on yourself can be either partially removed, entirely removed, or distorted by the corrective surgery.

Another thing you'll want to consider is what shape the skin is in (usually, the tattoo artist will tell you that there is no way in the world that he should work on skin that's not fit to tattoo on, but there are sharks out there who will do anything for a buck, so take this consideration onto yourself).

Ladies, you are not going to want to tattoo your boyfriend or husband's name on your rear if you have cellulite back there. If the skin is pitted with cellulite, there is going to be a very hard time laying down the stencil unless the skin in the area is stretched to be smooth. What happens in this case is whatever you are having tattooed onto your rump is going to be distorted.

Depending on the scar, some prople either want it commemorated in some way or hidden completely. ONLY YOUR DOCTOR can tell you when scar tissue has healed to the point where it can be tattooed. Your tattoo artist is not a doctor, and if he cares about his clients at all, he will ask you for a note from your doctor stating that the skin is healed appropriately to begin a tattoo.

People with areas of their skin that have damaged skin pigment cells are also going to want to go to their doctor to make sure that the skin is in appropriate shape to get a tattoo, because this is the layer of sking that the ink is going to be injected into. If this layer of skin is just lacking pigment, then all should be ok, but if the skin does not have the appropriate amount of layers (7 layers before you ask) then the ink will not sit right. It will either come out or even bleed the design (in other words, the design will get very blurry very fast. I have seen a rose that turned into what looks like a wine stain before.)


Your Age (Dictates the amount of detail this tattoo should receive)

The younger you are, the simpler you are going to want your design to be. I know that 3D spiders and faces look nice, but as your skin loses elasticity, the ink will then follow where the skin decides to go. And anyone over 50 who got their ink when they were 18 will tell you, that portrait of Lindsay Lohan dancing on a stripper pole you get on your 18th birtday will look like the Crypt Keeper being impaled onto a table leg by the time you're 45.

Besides, a lot of time's less is more, anyway. Your very first tattoo should be simple, easily hidden and vibrantly colored. It will be easier to touch up when it gets faded, and it will not interfere with your career (you are still young and have your entire life ahead of you), and the simple designs cost less. It'll cause less separation anxiety if you decided to get it removed if you decided you didn't really want it anymore.

If you are getting older, say in your late 30's to early 40's, then go for the gusto of getting that 55 color micro-lined, ultra shaded/highlighted picture of your favorite psychadelic album cover... because your skin has already started to sag, wether you believe it or not, and the tatty will be in decent shape well into your 50's.


Is the design you want appropriate?

If you have small children, you are not going to want to get a tattoo of the buddhist penis and/or vagina on your forearm. You'll be the talk of the PTA, the Coaches, the soccer moms and hockey dads... lets just say it would bring you unwanted attention. In case you are the type of person who could care less what the rest of the world thinks, think about the unwanted attention it could bring to your child.

If you are a black man with very dark skin, no offense fella, but you may want to steer clear of the ink altogether. Its not a racist thing. Its just very hard to see ink on very dark skin.

Lets say you are a male... don't get flowers if you are straight... unless you have hula girls wearing the flowers. I cannot tell you how many men I know from the island nations who got flowers and ended up getting hit on every gay man who saw them. It will be a waste of money to get the flowers because you're only going to be back in a few days to get them covered up.

If you're a 500 lb man or woman who has no intention of doing anything with the rest of your life aside from living in bed until they need a crane to put you into a piano crate to bury your dead ass, you can pretty much put anything you want anywhere you want...

But no matter what you do, no matter who you are or who you love... the only names you EVER want to tattoo on yourself are the names of your kids. There is a pattern involved with tattooing a significant other's name on your body... 99% of those who have tattooed theirlover's name onto their body have been broken up within 6 months... but your kids are a part of you forever, so that's okay.


In Closing

I know these examples above may be a bit far fetched and exadurated... but you do see what I'm saying through all my cynicism... use your common sense, your fashion sense and your design sense when choosing your ink.

Next time, maybe we'll talk to the artists about getting into the industry!


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    • Boots Iacono profile image

      Boots Iacono 3 years ago from Northern New Jersey

      Note to the editors on "broken links"... nope, the links are not broken... its linked to my FB profile... please remove the strikethrough font and the warning popup on the names under my images please? Thank you.

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      jess 5 years ago

      great job baby u r sooooo talanted!!!

    • profile image

      Danie W. 5 years ago

      Nice Boots ;)