Opinion: Tattoos are lifetime commitments, think before you ink yourself

  • 2 min to read
Tat pic

Student shows her regretful tattoo on her side. Tattoos are a lifetime commitment and once it is on your body, it is permanent.

The buzzing of a tattoo machine fills my ears and is enough to get the adrenaline pumping through my veins. 

My heart races before the needle pierces my skin; excitement and anxiety fight within me for dominance. 

During the tattooing process, there is a slight sting everywhere the needle grazes, but the pain is not severe enough to deter me from getting my fourth inking. 

After the pain stops and the swelling goes down, I am left with another piece of art to add to my personal collection. 

Tattoos are a wonderful way to express yourself, but forethought and research need to happen before putting permanent ink to skin.

Once the initial tattooing experience is over, there is the stigma that comes along with each piece. 

Though the negative views on tattoos are on a steady decline, there are people and industries that still disapprove of having and showing tattoos. 

There is a false assumption that people with tattoos are less qualified to perform certain jobs/tasks, irresponsible or impulsive people that cannot be reasoned with. 

Tattoos are not an impulse decision; adding permanent art to your body is not something to do on a whim. It takes time and intentional effort to think of and decide what art you want on your body, where the tattoo will be placed on your body and which artist will do the tattoo for you.

There is a common saying in the tattoo world: good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good. 

When I tell people that I have spent over $450 on individual tattoos the initial reaction is a slack-jawed face of shock and the question of “why would you pay that much?” 

Artists charge upward of $100 an hour because they are giving you a piece of themselves. Tattoo artists value their original artwork and time; if artists don’t value their own work then why would other people? It is because of the time commitment and dedication to the craft of tattooing that artists charge higher prices. They make a living by tattooing and it is good to keep that in mind while getting a tattoo and when it comes time to tip. 

Having a tattoo is a lifetime commitment. There is upkeep and maintenance, especially during the healing process such as daily soap treatments and healing ointment applications that prevent infections from happening. Until a tattoo heals, it is essentially an open wound and should be treated as such. 

Then there is the daily maintenance associated with keeping a tattoo looking its best for years to come. Keeping the area clean, moisturizing a tattoo and putting sunscreen on it when exposed to sunlight are all basic components of caring for a tattoo once it is healed. Doing all of this will ensure the longevity and integrity of your ink.

Tattoo ink is permanent so before you go out and get a partner’s name etched into your skin, or one of the other common tattoos that people end up regretting, stop for a minute, take a deep breath and think about what you want on your skin for the rest of your life.