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Should I get a Tattoo?

Dana Hinders
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tattoos may look cool, but getting a tattoo is a lifelong decision. If you’ve been wondering whether or not you should get a tattoo, there are a number of factors you should consider before taking the plunge.

A tattoo is permanent and many people forget that designs that look cool on a college student seem ridiculous when you’re approaching middle age. If you’re considering getting a design that is overly trendy, think twice. It may be what your friends are pressuring you to do, but they’re not the ones who will have to live with the choice. It’s usually best to avoid generic art and pick a design that has a personal meaning for you.

While tattoos are quickly becoming a part of mainstream culture, it’s worth pointing out that they are far from universally accepted. Some people still feel men and women with tattoos are rebellious, uneducated, and unprofessional. In fact, some of the nation’s leading employers will not hire people with certain types of tattoos. If you’re planning to work in a conservative industry such as banking or insurance, getting a large or highly visible tattoo may not be the best career move.

Obviously, getting a tattoo is painful. The pain is relative, but many people believe tattoos on the lower back, ankle, or inner thigh are the most painful. However, if you’re the type of person who faints at the site of a needle, a tattoo probably isn’t right for you regardless of what location you choose.

Tattoos are also potentially dangerous. Hepatitis, a serious and chronic disease that causes inflammation of the liver, is one consequence of getting a tattoo from an unsanitary parlor. Allergic reactions are also a possibility.

If you do decide to get a tattoo, you’ll need to follow the tattoo artist’s recommendations for cleaning the area in order to avoid an infection and promote proper healing. Even after your tattoo has healed, you’ll need to use sunscreen on a regular basis to keep the colors in the ink from fading. If this is something you don’t think you will do, getting a tattoo isn’t a good idea.

Of course, whether or not you want to get a tattoo really isn’t the main concern if you are under 18 years of age. Teenagers generally need parental consent to get tattoos. However, in states where it is illegal for a minor to get a tattoo, even parental consent isn’t enough. You’ll simply have to wait until you’re older.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the WiseGeek team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By DocZ — On Jul 10, 2009

I got my first tattoo at 33 years old, after wanting one for years. It's very big, across my shoulder. I deliberately got it in a place where I could show it off if I wanted to, but where it didn't show in most clothing.

Don't forget that people can make judgments not just because you have a tattoo, but also where that tattoo is. Some people call a tattoo on the lower back a "tramp stamp," after all.

The thing to always remember is that it lasts *forever*

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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