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Tattoos: wearing your scars on the outside for all to see?

Updated on March 13, 2015

Reasons why not to get a tattoo

    1. Tattoos are permanent and can be expensive. Small tattoos run anywhere from $30 and up and the better the artist, the larger the tattoo and more permanent the ink, the more expensive it will be. Your taste in art and the emotions it may illicit change over time, but the tattoo, though it may fade and blur, remains the same. The cost to remove, even a small tattoo can run up to five times or more what you paid to have it put on.

    2. Unwarranted discrimination even from other tattoo wearers. If your body looks like you took a bedazzler to it and inked on a flying pig, next to a seahorse and a dolphin, people may see you as childish and unable to control your impulses while making poor decisions. Women with lower back tattoos are viewed as more promiscuous and men with multiple tattoos on their arms and bodies are viewed as unprofessional or wild spirited. You have to think about the impact of your body art on others if you have it displayed for all to see.

    3. You cannot give blood. Blood banks will not accept blood from someone who has been recently tattooed, as the risk for blood borne diseases such as hepatitis, increase with each injection of ink, though the risk can be minimized by making sure you inspect the tattoo parlor and the person doing the tattoo to make sure they follow proper sterilization techniques.

    4. Metallic based inks have been shown to disrupt the efficiency of MRIs and even cause burns in some patients. Particularly dark inks with a metallic base have been known to distort MRIs and people with thick dark tattoos, such as tattooed eye liner and eyebrows have actually reported being burned by radiation while undergoing treatments. It is rare, but it happens.

    5. Tattoos mask skin cancers and make it hard to detect melanomas which may spread rapidly if left untreated. Again, while rare, coloring and tinting the skin prevents you from monitoring melanomas or other skin diseases. Allergic reactions to dyes have been reported to crop up even years after the original ink has been placed.

    6. Allergic reactions, pain and swelling may occur immediately after the tattoo. While it differs with all people, there have been reports of infections, swelling, pain, permanent scarring of the skin (lumps and bumps) at the injection site of tattoos.

    7. While you may see your tattoo as expressing your personality, others may view it as an inappropriate invasion of their own personal space. Inappropriate art can attract negative attention, ridicule and repulsion, especially when the tattoo contains inappropriate language or symbols, mimics bullet holes, internal organs, oozing wounds or is patterned to look like a snake or spider.

    8. Limits job opportunities. If you are working with the public, your ability to rise in the company will be limited unless you keep the tattoos covered from view. Most tattoos are viewed as unprofessional, though this is not always the case. Some companies refuse to hire people with tattoos and it can even limit your acceptance into military or government positions where a tattoo might identify you as belonging to a certain group and make you more easy to spot during a covert operation.

    9. May prevent you from competing in certain events or volunteering with certain groups. Tattoos say a lot about who you are, so if you are expressing an opinion, have any nudity in tattoos or bad language or inappropriate artwork, businesses, sports groups and organizations have the right to ban you or ask you to cover up the art if they deem it to be a distraction.

    10. There is some evidence to support that getting multiple tattoos is the sign of addictive behavior, including the thrill of adding new ink, of being rebellious against convention, or enduring pain and taking risks with one's health.


Tattoos: the good, the bad, the ugly

Tattooing has been around for centuries. Many cultures used ink as body artwork to enhance their beauty or strength. Others used tattooing as a means of showing their affinity to a certain group or tribe while others used it to mark the lower classes as slaves and servants. In times of war, tattooing was often used as a means of transporting valuable information like maps and codes hidden in artwork on their bodies so that enemies would not be able to detect the information if they were captured.

In the early days of the United States, tattooing was mainly seen on sailors and those who were part of the deviant counter culture and many older, more conservative adults still see tattooing as a sign of misfits not the mainstream.

Sailors picked up the habit of getting tattooed from their travels to countries where it was more in vogue, but it was not until the mid 80s that tattooing really became popular in the United States and it seems like more and more youth are wanting to get tattooed, despite warnings from parents and friends that they will later regret the tattoos and pay a small fortune to have them removed.

Marking your body for life should not be a decision embarked upon lightly and if you are religious there is evidence to support that marking your body is not in line with Biblical teaching, as tattoos and body art, including piercings were often a sign of pagan worship and were used to attract attention to oneself as well as a statement that we did not appreciate the natural beauty of our bodies just as they were.

Still, there are many religious people today who find that tattoos make them feel more spiritual and even tattoo small religious symbols on the inside of a wrist or ankle to remind them and the world of whom they worship and for many their tattoos hold great meaning, but for others, the tattoo choices may seem like a really bad idea.

First of all, if you are wearing a tattoo for others to see, you must expect that someone is going to ask you what it means. If you have a cupcake tattooed on the side of your neck, a stranger meeting you for the first time is going to be hard pressed not to stare at your art and wonder why in the world you chose to put something like that on your body permanently.

By wearing body art, you are drawing attention to yourself and may be making people uncomfortable. Society has taught us that it is impolite to ask people about their physical scars or handicaps, yet it is also hard not to notice them, so we are left not knowing what to say and will often avoid a person because the whole topic makes us feel uncomfortable and it is hard to know where to look when you see strange symbols, faces and colors drawing your attention away from the person behind the artwork, which in reality may be the intent of some who may feel uncomfortable in their own bodies and desire to distract and camouflage their appearance by directing your attention elsewhere on their bodies and not directly on them.

People who get tattoos often exhibit copy cat behaviors, where they see a design on one of their peers or an entertainer whom they admire and want to imitate them with the same design. Others see a cute cartoon or unusual anime design and think it would be fun to put it on the back of their neck, but do not realize that it will limit them in other ways, like attending a formal event later in life. There is nothing like a tattoo of the power rangers on the back of your neck to make you look like a qualified professional.

One study found that nearly 30 percent of all tattoo wearers have later wished they had not gotten them done and it can be expensive to have them removed, as well as painful with the possibility of scars and depigmentation of the skin.

Getting a tattoo is not cheap either, especially if you hire a qualified artist. The Pew research center states that over 1.5 billion is spent annually on getting tattooed in the US alone and that a whopping 36 percent of all US young adults now sport at least one tattoo.

People with tattoos are seen by most to be more rebellious, less cautious, more open to sexual encounters ( a French study showed men were three times more likely to approach a tattooed woman to ask her for a date, thinking she was easy), and more likely to live for the moment rather than plan for what lies further down the road.

Older adults seem to be more repulsed by tattoos than younger adults, which may also be a reason why young adults want to get inked, to separate them from their "old fashioned" caregivers and fit with the youthful crowd. It is hard to resist following the cultural trends, especially when so many movie and rock stars sport inked designs.

Many countries are banning tattoos, as they have been associated with gang affiliation and the drug culture. There is a growing movement in Japan to keep full body tattoos out of public places with some stores even sporting signs stating that visible full body tattoos are not allowed inside.

While getting a discrete tattoo in an area that can be covered up may not be detrimental to your employment opportunities, more and more businesses will not hire employees with visible tattoos and few professional jobs allow employees to be tattooed with law suits siding with the employers over the employees in most cases.

There are alternatives to permanent tattoos including henna dyes and spray ons.

Before getting a tattoo you should really ask yourself why you want the tattoo. About thirty percent of those getting tattoos admit that they are addicted to the inking process and get a physical high from seeing new artwork laid down on their bodies.

For many, the tattooing process is cathartic and allows them to express their inner feelings outwardly in art, for others getting a tattoo is like a badge of courage or symbolizes that they belong to a certain group and share similar rank and privilege. Oddly, many, though they display their tattoos outwardly, prefer to keep the meaning behind them secret to others.

Tattoos can often reveal a lot about the character of the person wearing them and just like a physical scar, tattoos can be reminders of painful events the wearer has endured or a journey they are traveling using their own body as a photo album to remember the events.

Chances are you either love tattoos or hate them, but it is getting harder and harder to find a young adult who does not have at least one tattoo on their body by the time they have reached age 20, so if you are looking to be unique and different, you might actually be better served not to get a tattoo so that you will stand out as unique and different while those hoping to look unique and different are just blending in with everyone else.

Some tattoos really make you wonder about the sanity of the people wearing them.

Taking the art of ink a little too far?
Taking the art of ink a little too far? | Source
Face Tattoo
Face Tattoo | Source
If you can't be it, tattoo it on your back
If you can't be it, tattoo it on your back | Source
Because everyone loves a plate of eggs on their head, right?
Because everyone loves a plate of eggs on their head, right? | Source
Kind of cool tattoos that go beyond the norm
Kind of cool tattoos that go beyond the norm | Source
You are what you tattoo on your neck? Cupcake... big cupcake...hmmm....
You are what you tattoo on your neck? Cupcake... big cupcake...hmmm.... | Source

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