No Ragrets: 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Tattoo

FYI, tattoo removal is more expensive.

Don’t be like that dude from We’re the Millers; think about your tattoo through and through before booking the appointment.

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Tattoos are a form of self-expression; they’re art in ways that can tell a story on the canvas of your body. And, like stories, tattoos are a mix of your childhood memories, important life moments, and everything in between. Then there are times when they serve as reminders of young (and perhaps not-so-smart) decisions made on a random day. As someone with 23 tattoos, it’s only fair to admit that I regret half of them.

My friends often express admiration and say, “OMG, I want them too!” But, honestly, some of my tattoos were the result of ~being spontaneous~. Don’t get me wrong; they are markers of who I was and where I’ve been, but they also serve as a constant reminder that I should have made better choices, especially when it came to the artist and placement.

If you’re planning to book that tattoo appointment soon, I implore you to learn from my missteps. Getting inked is akin to welcoming a new addition into your life, like a baby. It’s a decision that will not only have a lasting impact on your body but will stay with you for the rest of your life. With that in mind, here are five things to ask yourself before getting a tattoo.

That Design and Placement, Really?

When it comes to your tattoo design, I’ve learned that your ink doesn’t have to be a mirror reflecting the chapters of your life. Sometimes, small images you find on Pinterest are worth putting on your body. Regardless, do your research to ensure your chosen design isn’t culturally appropriative or completely inappropriate.

Choosing the right placement for your tattoo is equally crucial. Some body areas can be more painful to tattoo, and the visibility of your ink can impact both your professional and personal life. I’ve learned this firsthand through various placements, and I understand the significance of weighing the pros and cons. It’s essential to select a location that makes you feel comfortable and at peace with your choice. Your body is your canvas, and once that tattoo is done, there’s no going back.

Is That Tattoo Artist the Right Person for You?

I remember the week before I got my first tattoo, hastily booking an appointment with the first artist I could find. What a mistake that was! To start on the right foot, it’s important to invest in a reputable and experienced tattooist. Quality often comes with a higher price, and if they lack certification, it’s a red flag.

Now, like painters, sculptors, and other artists, tattoo artists have their own specialties. Whether it’s minimalist, portrait, or colored tattoos, there’s an artist who excels in each style. Therefore, it’s vital to ask for recommendations, read reviews, and review their tattoo portfolio. Your chosen tattoo artist will be the one to turn your vision into reality, so ensure you’re comfortable with their work.

Is Your Pain Tolerance and Aftercare Ready?

No doubt, tattoos involve some level of discomfort. It’s common knowledge, but what’s often overlooked is the pain tolerance among people. You’ll find yourself in the tattoo chair as the needle goes to work. While your friend might breeze through the process, you might label it as self-inflicted torture. The process can take hours, and you’ll feel every minute of it. The sensation can range from mildly irritating to a more pronounced pain, depending on the tattoo placement and your personal pain threshold. With high pain tolerance, getting inked was never an issue for me. However, I am one of the most ticklish people that I know, so it’s something also worth considering.

Once the tattoo is done, the next thing to keep in mind is your aftercare. It’s crucial that your new tattoo heals properly and maintains its original color. Listen to your tattoo artist’s instructions and follow their guidance for the best results. Proper aftercare will prevent infections and preserve your ink in the long run. This is especially important when your tattoos are colored – don’t forget the SPF!

Will This Tattoo Affect Your Future?

It’s ironic how something as beautiful as tattoos can be deemed dirty, rebellious, and taboo by certain segments of society. Even though tattoos are becoming more tolerated, negative stereotypes surrounding body art persist, especially in the workplace. While I’m fortunate enough to have landed my dream career in a company that accepts tattooed individuals, many industries remain strict about them.

Ask yourself if this tattoo is worth potentially affecting your future. It’s a harsh reality, but the issue of discrimination remains a prevailing concern in the Philippines. Despite the progressive attitudes and tolerance toward body art in many parts of the world, certain industries and employers here still hold traditional views that associate tattoos with criminal activities and unprofessionalism. This means that, for some individuals, the decision to get a visible tattoo can have consequences.

Think Twice, Are You That Committed?

Tattoos are permanent, and the removal process is both more painful and expensive. Take the time to consider everything mentioned earlier. If there’s any uncertainty lingering within you or if you’re experiencing cold feet, it’s better to wait than to rush into something you might regret for the rest of your life.

In conclusion, getting a tattoo can be a rewarding and meaningful experience, but it’s crucial to consider these five factors before going under the needle: a well-thought-out design, choosing the right tattoo artist, understanding the process, weighing the implications, and practicing patience. These factors can make the difference between having a tattoo you cherish and one you wish you could remove. As a personal preference and perhaps a final piece of advice: Avoid getting matching tattoos.

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