Your Tattoo Questions Answered


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Have you ever been tempted to get a tattoo, but had way too many question to even know where to start?  You have come to the right place.  Here are the answers to the most common questions I receive.

Does it need to be meaningful?

I often see people stressing about wanting a tattoo, but not until they find something that has a special meaning to it. Remember that tattoos are a form of body art. It is totally acceptable to get something just because you find it aesthetically pleasing. But also keep in mind that your artistic tastes are prone to change. You probably do not have the same taste in music as you did a few years ago, so your taste in body art may change as well. For this reason, getting something with a meaning behind it can help make it more timeless. Yet it is not a requirement.

Should I avoid the latest fad? 

Image via Imgur

Another concern I often hear is “I want this design but I don’t want to look basic.” Whenever a particular type of tattoo becomes popular, it often gets labeled as a basic design or a fad. Some examples are quotes on the ribs, infinity signs with words in the middle, and arrows. If you are worried the trends are influencing you in your decision, then wait a while and see if you still want it. If you know that you definitely want it but are worried about being mocked, my advice is to completely disregard what people are saying about fads. The trends are going to change every few years but the tattoo is going to be on your body forever. If you love it, that is all that matters.

Image via Pinterest

Placement

Once you have figured out what you want, the next question is where to get it. This depends on what you want. Is this something you want to be able to show off or keep to yourself? You also need to keep professionalism in mind, especially if you are younger. While tattoos are becoming more accepted and some fields are very relaxed, many workplaces will still ask for them to be covered. I would avoid getting anything on your hands or wrists since that is very difficult to conceal (hands tattoos tend to fade faster anyways). Mine are on my shoulder and I personally think that is a really good spot. Some others I have seen are the upper back, hips, and thighs.  One of mine is pictured on the left if you were curious!

Image via Tattoo Ideas

Artist 

You want to find an artist to make your vision come to life.  Look up reviews and ask around.  With this type of service, it is more efficient to look for a specific artist you like rather than judging the entire parlor.  Look at the artists’ online and in store portfolios and take note of their unique specialties and styles.  If you want a watercolor or a white ink tattoo, then you should find an artist who specializes in them.

Image via Tattoodo

Pain

And the most popular question: “Does it hurt?” Short answer, yes. But pain is felt differently by each individual and varies depending on placement and design. Most equate the feeling to cat scratches, and I would say that is accurate. Be aware of how you usually respond to pain and prepare accordingly. You can use the chart pictured as a guide.  Take a friend with you for support or go alone and zone out until it is over – whatever works for you. Make sure you have eaten and are hydrated. But do not take any pain killers or drink any alcohol beforehand: they are blood thinners and can affect healing.

Aftercare

You have gone through all this time and money to get your perfect tattoo, the worst thing would be to mess it up with lazy aftercare.  Every artist is going to have their own preferences, so make sure to listen to what they are saying and get their card in case you have any questions later.  You will find a plethora of information online; listen to your body and your artist.  (Except if they try to push an expensive, sponsored product from their store, you probably don’t need it).  The most important things are to keep it out of the sun, do not soak it (you can take a shower, but do not sit in a tub or pool), and do not pick at any scabs or flaking.  All of these will affect the color and risk infection.

*Disclaimer: I am not a professional, this is all based on my personal experiences.  Always consult a professional before doing anything drastic to your body.

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Yasmin Sara

Yasmin Sara studies International Political Economy and Communications at Fordham University. She loves to geek out about comics, TV shows, and tattoos. You can follow her on Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest under the username batglare.