Tattoos are a lot of things besides trendy. They can show the world the things you care about the most because you’ve immortalized them on your skin. They can memorialize loved ones or bear inspirational messages with you always. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take them seriously, or consider all the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to get one. Whatever your considerations for getting inked, keep in mind these 10 reasons why a tattoo might not be right for you.
You’re looking for a job
Not all employers look down on tattoos, but there are some industries, especially in the business and legal sectors, where a visible tattoo is a big no-no, especially if it’s on your neck, hands, face, or any other place you can’t readily cover-up. If you have one on your arm you may need to wear a long-sleeved shirt every day. Unfortunately, though they’re seemingly common, tattoos are considered as unwelcome as weird hairstyles, multiple piercings, or other forms of body art.
You don’t know exactly what you want
If you just want a tattoo to have one, that may not be the best reason. Remember you’re basically stuck with it for life. Do you really want to explain to your grandchildren why you have a meme on your leg and what it means? Pop culture is fleeting, but tattoos are permanent. Don’t rush into a decision.
If you’re female, consider the pregnancy problem
Tattoos may be permanent but they’re also changeable. As you age, the skin around the tattoo behaves differently and the ink fades or blurs a bit. But if you’re pregnant, any tattoos you have may stretch and shrink along with you. And stretch marks will mar the appearance of tattoos already on it. And it goes without saying that you should never get a tattoo while you’re pregnant, because…
There’s a risk of infection or worse
Applying a tattoo is literally stabbing your skin to put ink through underneath it. Because it punctures the skin, if the needle is not sterile it can introduce infection or diseases like Hepatitis C or even HIV. Even if the needle is properly sterilized and all precautions are taken, there’s no guarantee you won’t react to the ink itself. You could have an allergic reaction, or the ink could dissipate into your system leaving you with scarred skin that would need to be inked over again.
If you’re at risk for skin cancer
If you’ve had it or have a family history of melanoma, there’s a small chance you could activate cancer from the placement of tattoo ink. This only applies if you have a risk of skin cancer; it does not mean that tattoos cause cancer. But by introducing metals and dyes into your system through the ink, there’s a chance that your immune system’s reaction will lead to the formation of unhealthy cells.
What you don’t know about your artist and their work
The sad thing is that unless you research your artist well you may end up with a terrible tattoo. The internet is full of pictures of poorly executed art and it’s mostly because of the inexperience of the artist. No matter how cool their sample art looks on the wall, you don’t know if they actually drew them. And drawing on paper and tattooing on the skin are not the same. And of course, there are no erasing tattoos from the skin, at least not to the point of looking new again. Because…
Tattoo removal is not easy
There are only four real choices when it comes to an unwanted tattoo: you can cover it up with makeup, you can have a coverup tattoo placed over it, or you can go the laser surgery route. Tattoo removal is not like a giant eraser, however; it will lighten the ink but it will never fully destroy all the ink particles in your skin. The fourth choice is surgical removal, which is the most extreme choice and should be the absolute last resort.
Tattoos cost money
Of course, they cost money, it’s an industry. But keep in mind the amount of money involved. And if your tattoo is complex or needs more than one session to complete, tattoos can run into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It’s a major cash investment, just like people who buy art to put it on their walls. But you can always take the art down off the wall and put something else up instead. With your skin, you don’t have that option.
If you want someone’s name, think again
Even when they’re done beautifully, having a tattoo with your ex’s name on it is just opening up hurt every time you look at it. Numerous celebrities have been documented with regretful tattoo choices when the love of their life suddenly decides to skip out. Memorial portraits are also really tricky because realistic drawing on the skin is extremely difficult to get right. You could get stuck with an unintentionally funny face.
There are social consequences to tattoos. People can and will judge you for them, especially if they’re ironic, edgy, or controversial. The trend may become unpopular again; it’s only in the past 30 years that tattoos gained some acceptability. You yourself might change to the extent that the tattoos no longer represent who you are as a person.
There are many reasons not to get a tattoo. It’s all a matter of risk versus reward. Decide with all the information so if you choose to sit in that tattoo parlor chair, you do it with a clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into.