5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

A lot of people make serious mistakes when it comes to getting images permanently embedded in their skin courtesy of ink and a needle. Some people do it on a lark, frequently during drunken binges with friends. Others base their decisions on fleeting emotions or the desire to impress someone else.

And then there are people who simply lack the foresight to realize that at some point, not too far down the road, the tattoo that seemed like a great idea at the time won’t be so funny or attractive.

Of course, there are always options like cover ups, tattoo removal, or garments that provide coverage, but none are as valuable as a little common sense that stops you from getting a bad tattoo to begin with. So here are just a few things you might want to consider before you head to your local tattoo parlor and go under the gun.

  1. What you want. Whatever image you decide to have permanently adhered to your body is going to be with you for life, so you’d better make sure it’s something you can live with. A heart that says “Mom” in the middle might seem like a good idea, for example.After all, what are the chances you’ll stop loving the woman that gave you life? And yet, your desire to commemorate your relationship with your mother when you’re young may seem like a rather juvenile sentiment later in life. Of course, it’s not nearly as bad as the drunken tattoo you might get to cement your lifelong friendship with your college buddies, most of whom you’ll never see again after you graduate.And then there’s the tattoo that results from an ill-advised bet. The thing is, you need to consider your core values, the ones that are likely to stay with you, and whether or not your tattoo is an accurate representation of them. If not, chances are good you won’t want the tattoo at some point down the line. A good rule of thumb is to figure out what you want and then wait a year. This should stop you from getting something you’re going to regret.
  2. Where you want it. Where you place a tattoo is important for a couple of reasons. First, you have to decide if you want to get it somewhere that is easy to cover, for obvious reasons. And second, you need to think long and hard about the fact that your skin won’t always be as tight as it is now. Between weight gain, sagging, and other conditions that are sure to come with age, the placement of your tattoo could become a frightfully relevant issue before long.
  3. Your future. Whether you’re the one and done type when it comes to tattoos or you’ve just finished a sleeve and you’re already starting a back piece, you need to think about your future before you start tatting up your whole body. Start by considering your career.If you’re planning to work from home, a slew of tattoos may not make any difference. But a tattoo on your neck might not be appropriate if you have designs on a Senate seat, just for example. And how about having a family? For the ladies, a belly tattoo may seem cool, right up until pregnancy turns that butterfly into a blob. And do you really want your kids to see a heart around the name of a man that isn’t their father? Just think about it.
  4. The cleanliness of the shop. Before you submit to the ministrations of a tattoo artist at your local shop, you might want to scope the place out and make sure it seems clean. Ask to see the autoclave (a machine that sanitizes equipment) and make sure the artists wear gloves and use disposable needles, ink pots, and so on for every client.

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