You want to get a tattoo? Hey, you’re not the only one. You can’t move for inked bodies on the red carpets, soccer pitches, beaches and dance floors of this world. The tattoo has become mainstream and body art is found on people of all ages and backgrounds. But getting a tattoo is not for the faint hearted and it’s wise to know what you are getting into before surrendering to the needle. Here are five tips for avoiding tattoo catastrophe and achieving results you will be proud of.
How sure are you?
A tattoo is permanent. Are you ready to make a change to your body that is irreversible? Is it something you have wanted to do for a long time, or could it just be a passing phase? You owe it to yourself to thoroughly consider the implications of having body art, because getting it removed by laser is both painful and expensive. Just saying.
When you are 100 per cent certain that a tattooed you is required, start thinking about a design you can live with 24/7. Seek out the best tattoo studios in your area and check out their websites, portfolios and Instagram feeds to find artwork that resonates with you. In Cardiff studios such as www.strongholdtattoo.com you’ll find a choice of tattoo artists with varied styles.
The scary thing about getting a tattoo is that if you don’t nail the right style, you’ll soon be looking like the most unfashionable loser in town. Trends in tattoos come and go, back in the 90s everything was tribal, then there were tramp stamps and arm bands and lots of other variants. The written word on the body became a lot more popular with lines from poetry, philosophical quotes or foreign scripture featuring heavily.
Right now trends reflect popular culture with comic book and animated characters being sought after. Arrows, feathers, city skylines, tropical imagery, compasses, maps, tiny bird silhouettes, mandalas, unicorns, tigers and faces will always be in demand. The secret to getting a unique tattoo that doesn’t date, is to work with the artist on a design that means something special to you, perhaps drawing on influences from your own life. If you want to have text inked onto your skin, check and double check any spellings or translations – nothing worse than wearing a permanent typo on your body. Getting good results relies on great communication between you and your tattoo artist – so keep looking until you find somebody who gets your ideas.
Location location location
Depending on the complexity of the design, tattoos can take anything from an hour to a series of two hour sessions every fortnight for months. A small wrist tattoo in black won’t take long, but a multicoloured jungle scene across your back is a work of art that could take weeks. The most difficult and painful area to tattoo is between the hip and shoulder – this area is sensitive but it’s vital to stay still as well, so you’ll probably require several breaks and breathers. You can take painkillers to ease discomfort, although best to take them afterwards as some can thin the blood, leading to a higher chance of bleeding. Tattoos on feet and hands fade the fastest, so if you want something that retains its vivid colours indefinitely, choose a better protected part of the body. Popular venues at the moment include the inner forearm, back of the neck (top of spine), collar bone and upper shoulder. However, it is possible to tattoo most parts of the body, so if you have a specific place in mind, check with your tattoo designer.
Keep it clean
After-care is very important. A tattoo should be kept well moisturised, out of the sun and not immersed in water during the recovery period. There will be scabs, dried skin and soreness and it is vital to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Be wary of placing the tattoo onto surfaces covered with germs and bacteria. Your tattoo designer will be able to recommend a recovery and healing regime and products ideal for speeding up the process.
Coloured tattoos will suffer from sun fade, so in the long term you’ll have to habitually coat yourself in sunscreen to keep those colours fresh and intense.
There are no signs of the ink revolution slowing down any time soon, so if you are set on grabbing yourself some cool body art, follow these tips for avoiding tattoo catastrophe and getting exactly the design you want.