Tattoos are forever–but not all of them should be. We’ve all seen pictures of botched tattoos making rounds on the Internet.
Ugly tattoos aside, there are deeper reasons why people get laser tattoo removal. If you’re just starting to look into getting a tattoo, here’s some wisdom for those who got inked–and regretted it:
Don’t get your tattoos impulsively
Tattoos last forever and require careful thought and planning. Ironically, one of the top reasons for getting laser tattoo removal is regret over a tattoo inked over the weekend, while on vacation, or while drunk. Don’t get a tattoo when you’re inebriated, or might be getting carried away by holiday highs. A tattoo is never one that should be bought on a whim.
Individuals with big tattoos like full back or full sleeve works of art are less likely to regret their tattoo than those who get smaller tattoos. This is possible because huge tattoos take a lot more planning and dedication to sign up for. People who commit to cover half of their backs in ink have probably spent a fair amount of time mulling the decision over.
Don’t get tattooed immediately
Age plays a huge factor in getting a tattoo you’d probably regret. Youthful overconfidence is behind many bad tattoos. In Singapore, most parlors allow people to get tattoos after the age of 18, but you may want to hold off even longer. The majority of people who regret their tattoo got the piece when they were under 21 years old.
Like any significant, life-changing purchase or decision, the best thing to do when itching for a tattoo is to let the idea age for a while. A few months would be ideal, not hours–3 out of 4 people who regret their tattoos only planned for a few weeks before getting inked. Patience is better than regret. It costs cheaper, too!
Don’t let your friends talk you into it
The number of people who have gotten tattoos has risen steadily over the years. Nearly 40 percent of millennials have one, versus around just 6 percent of the population bearing one in the mid-’30s. Getting inked has evolved from taboo to trending on social media sites. Being exposed to endless pictures of our peers going under the needle may make us feel pressured to get one, too.
But peer pressure is a horrible reason to get a tattoo. Tattoos are symbols of individuality and subversion. Getting one because your friends have one would defeat the purpose of these works of art, and is probably going to lock you in for a costly laser tattoo removal appointment in the future.
Remember, hindsight is 20/20
Bad tattoos are fickle things. If you think you might learn to live with it, think again. Tattoo regret grows over time, not lessens. Of course, you’re not going to think that generic motivational quote will look bad while it’s fresh! Most people take a couple of years’ worth of seeing the tattoo every day to truly realize those bad decisions were made in the parlor that day.
If you’re dead set on getting a tattoo, try to imagine yourself 10, 20 years into the future. Will you still be proud of that quote running across your neck when you’re well into your 50s? Only get a tattoo if you can see yourself living with it well into your senior years because if you get one, you’re going to have to!
Pick a style that ages well
Tattoos come in endless styles. There’s trash polka, minimalist, neotraditional, geometric, to name a few that have become popular as of late. But time is not kind to all of them. Bigger, bolder designs age better than small, delicate designs. Even though permanent, our skin still changes how tattoos look over time.
Script tattoos are the most regrettable, according to a US survey. Lettering tattoos are some of the hardest to do well because of readability issues–font style, size, spacing, and the tattoo artist’s skill all dictate quality. Intricate, cursive script is not recommended, because the small spacing between the letters will lessen as skin becomes less taut over time, causing letters to bleed over each other.
Make sure the meaning is permanent
We’ve all heard horror stories of people getting their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name on their skin, only to break up with them or get dumped.
Compared to botched tattoos, a change in lifestyle is a less obvious cause for tattoo regret, but not any less common. Symbols you get inked on your skin to symbolize who you thought you were in a particular time in your life may not make sense further down the line. This is also a good reason not to get celebrities or notable people inked on your skin. The heroes and beliefs of today may be the regrets of tomorrow.
Make sure it means anything to begin with
Aside from quotes in English, many people also like tattooing foreign sayings onto their skin, especially ones from languages with their own beautiful scripts like Chinese, Japanese, or Thai.
There’s nothing wrong with the practice per se, but make sure you’re getting grammar and spelling correctly. You might unknowingly be tattooing permanent gibberish onto your skin, or worse, something offensive. Ask a fluent or native speaker. If you don’t know one personally there are tons of people on sites like Reddit who will be willing to help you out.
Consider how tattoos affect your job
Although tattoos are seeing more widespread acceptance in mainstream culture, corporate views have remained relatively conservative. In Singapore, the issue of showing tattoos in the workplace or hiring people with tattoos is still actively debated. Individuals who are getting laser tattoo removal may not be regretting the design, but are forced to get rid of them because of their line of work.
If you’re 100% sure about wanting a tattoo, but still want no problems with employment, make sure to place your tattoos where they can easily hide behind a suit. This is especially important in traditional, formal corporate settings, or the medical field where tattoos may be seen by some patients as unhygienic.
Tattoos are forever–in theory. In reality, there are many reasons why people get their tattoos removed. Hundreds undergo tattoo removal every year, driving the growth of the tattoo removal business by over 400 percent for some clinics.
If you’re thinking of getting your tattoo removed, you’re not alone. If you have any lingering questions about the procedure, you can check out our FAQ here, or set up an appointment with us for a more detailed discussion.
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