Think Before You Ink: 7 Ways To Avoid Tattoo Regret

This post was written by Leo Gomon at Tattoo.com: One of the largest and most active tattoo communities anywhere. 

The popularity of tattoos has exploded into a massive global phenomenon. Tattooing is so widespread that it’s hard to walk down the street and not see a tattoo shop on the corner ready to permanently adorn willing clientele for life with their brand of body art. Increased public acceptance has led to everyone and their mother wanting to get a tattoo, which in turn raises the demand for tattoo artists who are ready (and willing) to practice their craft.

More times than not, tattoos are impulsive purchases. People don’t properly think the process through, including the long-term implications of their permanent body decor.  Many people get tattoos for the sake of fashion, without doing a lot of research, which unsurprisingly leads to many cases of tattoo regret and a growing demand for laser tattoo removal treatments Tattoo regret can also be caused by an improperly trained or amateur artist botching a great idea, which is problematic since there are no room for mistakes in a great tattoo experience.

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Fortunately, there are ways of avoiding tattoo regret (though there are no guarantees). Read the following tips and (hopefully) you’ll be satisfied years down the line.


1. Take your time:  Think long and hard about what you want on your body.  Perhaps you fall in love with an existing image and want it on your body, but in most cases, a custom piece of art is more satisfying in the long run, as there are no other people in the world with the same ink.  You can never take too much time in your decision process.  

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2. Do your research:  The beauty of the modern age is that information and images are at the tip of our fingertips.  Go online and sift through artists, pictures, portfolios, biographies, testimonials and every bit of info you can find on trained professionals. The Internet is a valuable tool at your disposal and it's up to you to harness its vast power. There are many artists out there, some are immensely talented — and others, not so much.

See also: What Tattoo Colors Are Easiest to Remove? Doctors Answer

3. Establish contact:  Walk in’s are always nice, but aren’t necessarily the best way to go about getting a tattoo (unless you're absolutely set on a piece of flash or existing image).  Call, e-mail or get in touch with your artist by any means in order to establish a rapport; the tattoo process is an intimate experience that marks you for life, and so you want to be able to trust and feel comfortable with them.  Once you do this, be open and accepting of their advice.


4. Think practically:  This mostly has to do with the placement or location of your tattoo.  Do you work in an office that prides itself in professionalism?  Perhaps it is best not to get hand or neck tattoos since they are not easily covered.  Though tattoos are more acceptable in the workplace these days, many corporations still may frown upon visible ink.  Same thing applies to conservative families that would rather not see your tattoos at gatherings.

5. Don’t price shop:  If you don’t already know, tattoos are permanent.  Don’t go around looking for the lowest prices or rates just to get a new tattoo; if you cannot afford it, it is better to avoid the subject altogether until you can.

6. Long Term:  Visualize what you may physically look like in the future.  This may sound silly, but what looks great now, may not look the same in the future.  Certain colors heal differently and may fade or yellow over time; maybe black and grey is your best option. Are you a woman and plan on having kids in the future?  Perhaps avoid tattoos on your stomach because of the stretching that occurs during pregnancy.  

7. Be smart & safe:  Essentially, tattoos are cosmetic/medical procedure and there are steps to ensure your experience doesn’t lead to any complications or infections. The shop you choose should be very clean and smell like a doctor's office.  Inquire about sterilization methods, ink ingredients, and aftercare procedures if you don’t already know them.  If you have any pre-existing skin or health conditions, let your artist know and consult with a doctor to see if moving forward is a good idea.  Many professionals advise against getting tattooed in the summertime due to the constant heat and sun exposure; considering waiting until the colder months to make sure your ink heals properly.  

Hopefully these seven tips help in your decision making process. It goes without saying, but this is not a foolproof guide and there are no guarantees you won’t still experience tattoo regret; it’s a risk, that’s for sure, but if you're reading this, then I can only wish that you contemplate every aspect of your future tattoo so you are still happy in 20 years.

About the author:  My name is Leo Gomon. I love to write and over the years, I have developed an affinity with everything tattoo related; from it’s history to it’s progression into an accepted fine art form. I work for Tattoo.com as a Writer and Content Strategist; Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @findyourink, and be sure to read more of my articles in the blog section of Tattoo.com.

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