5 Things to Think about before Getting a Tattoo

By Monica Leslie

April 22, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

When I was in that adventurous teenage phase, facing the world with much aplomb, a tattoo was one of the ‘must-haves’. My youthful perspective told me that tattoos basically screamed a devil may care attitude, and to some extent, are a rite of passage in this country. Looking back, I can now say that waiting it out was the best decision I have ever made. Each inked artwork on me represents what I truly wish to show the world, with no regrets.


1. Trends Don’t Last

Be it a nautical anchor or a phrase in a foreign language, as with fashion, such trends will pass. Before you get your tattoo done, consider the permanence of that design you are going to get inked on your skin. So put a pin on whatever you have in mind, especially if it’s a couple/best friend tattoo. While a tattoo might not be forever, it sure is ‘till death do us part’.

2. People Will Judge

I once read this saying – Life is short, but long enough for you to experience the consequences. And I never leave this out when people come to me for tattoo advice. Despite being so ingrained into our culture and no longer that much of a taboo in today’s society, tattooed individuals will still be judged, whether you like it or not. With this being said, the question here is – are you ready for that, especially if it concerns your career?

While an increasing number of companies are beginning to be more open and lax with body arts, most that operate in formal corporate settings still require employees to be able to cover up their tattoos in business meetings. Not that getting inked is a no-no, but give a second thought to what you want to get on your skin and where you it on.

3. Impulse Decision?

Very much related to the fact that trends fade, so do impulsive decisions. You may be caught in a whirlwind romance, or an amazing friendship, or perhaps just down in the doldrums. Whatever it may be, tattoos aren’t simply a display of designs on your skin. They are a part of you and who you are.

With that being said, sleep on the idea of getting a tattoo. If you still feel utterly convicted about getting that one after a good while, then go ahead in confidence. That way, no judgement or naysayer will affect you.

4. Health Risks

Getting a tattoo is liken to having your hair colored. An allergy reaction is very possible. On top of that, scarring may occur when getting inked or having your tattoo removed (an option we try to avoid to begin with).

Also, apart from having nature disagree with you, one of the biggest concerns you ought to have before getting a tattoo is the hygiene of your chosen studio. The last thing you’d want from getting a highly anticipated tattoo is an infection. Contaminated needles can transmit infections like HIV or Hepatitis easily from person to person. With this in mind, remember that good tattoos don’t come cheap; the same goes for any law and hygiene-abiding parlor.

5. Are You Really Ready?

The truth is, nobody can tell you what to do unless, of course, you are a minor. At the end of the day, tattoos are you way of telling your life story, your beliefs and your personality. And to do this, you first need to know who you are and what you want to express.

As with human nature, the person changes over time with maturity. Understand that you will change, and so will your outlook of life and desires. These will directly affect the way you perceive tattoos and the various forms of it. But once you truly accept all the implications that come with tattoos (not sheer teenage rebellion), you can say you’re ready for one.

On a final note, any legitimate and reliable tattoo artist will never provide their services to anyone underage or drunk. If you happen to find yourself one of such studios, pass on it. A commitment like this is worth paying good money for, researching into and scouting for an artist who shares the same love for this art.

Monica Leslie

Monica is a graphic designer and currently a part-time design instructor at a Tattoo School in Thailand, the Tattoo School Thailand.

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