Big reasons you should never get a tattoo

BY CARRIE MADORMO, RN, MPH

So
you’re thinking about getting a tattoo? Good for you for doing your research!
This is a permanent decision, so thinking it through and being absolutely sure
is critical. 
“The
choice to get a tattoo is highly personal and one that should only be made
after a careful and deliberate consideration of the consequences (both short
and long term) of the tattoo,” Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Stephen
Greenberg told me. “As we age and a patient’s lifestyle changes, one of
the biggest regrets is not the clothing that a patient wore to a particular
event or a bad haircut or clothing style craze they fell into, but the
permanent tattoo that they wish they had never gotten in the first
place!” 
Unfortunately,
there are times in our lives when it’s best to hold off on the ink. Whether
it’s because you haven’t had a chance to think it through or don’t know your
tattoo artist, take your time and ask yourself if you’re in a season of life
when a tattoo isn’t the best idea. Here are just a few reasons to hold off for
now, according to the experts. 
You don’t know your tattoo artist




You
wouldn’t undergo surgery with a surgeon you’d never met, so don’t do the same
with your tattoo artist. Before jumping in, get to know your artist, look at
her portfolio, and ask for references. Unfortunately there are some
inexperienced and unskilled ones out there.
“It
happens far too often,” tattoo artist Mark Detter told Baraboo News Republic.
“The state requires that artists abide by certain health and safety
standards. But there’s no requirement that an artist have talent.”
A
bad tattoo artist could leave you with a sloppy tattoo at best, serious
infection at worst. “It leaves people exposed to contracting HIV/AIDS and
Hepatitis C,” Heath Technician Matt Kachel explained to Baraboo.
“These are diseases a person may contract and not know about it for a long
time. It can lead to outbreaks, and that’s not something that we’d like to
see.” Don’t worry about asking too many questions. Do your homework so you
can feel good about this experience.
You’re looking for a job




I’d
love to tell you to jump right in if you’re ready for your first tattoo, but if
you are currently job hunting, take a serious pause. Research shows that having
visible tattoos makes is harder to get hired. “Visible tattoos”
refers to tattoos on the face, neck, forearms, hands, and lower legs.
A
negative bias against tattoos seems to affect every business sector. Restaurant
managers prefer hiring servers without visible tattoos while sales
managers worry that hiring sales people with tattoos will affect sales.
Just
because you’re not currently searching for a job doesn’t mean you won’t in the
future. Keep that in mind when choosing the location for your new piece of
artwork.
You haven’t really thought it through




Deciding
to get a tattoo on a whim with friends can feel exhilarating, but it’s best to
sleep on the decision. You’ll be living with this decision forever. It’s best
to completely think it through first.
“A
number of reasons can influence a person’s decision to seek tattoo
removal,” Dr. Roy G. Geronemus told Medical Daily. “Young woman [sic]
become mothers, people experience changes in work status, and sometimes it’s
just a matter of maturity. We call it ‘Tattoo Remorse.'” This tattoo
remorse is causing the number of people looking into and pursuing tattoo
removal to rise. This makes it even more important to seriously weigh the pros and
cons before heading to the tattoo parlor. 
“As
more people continue to get tattoos, the more people are having tattoos
removed,” Dr. Geronemus explained. “With recent advancements in skin
care technology such as PicoSure, tattoo removal has become significantly
easier. For example, in the past the colors blue and green have been
problematic in removing from the skin. However, today these colors have become
the easiest to remove.” Even though the process of removal has become
easier, it still involves multiple appointments and procedures. Make the right
decision from the beginning.
You’re worried about being judged




While
you shouldn’t make life decisions based on what others think, know that a
tattoo could change the way you’re perceived. If you are a sensitive person,
that could play into your decision. 
A
study in Managing Service Quality found that if you have any visible tattoos,
you’re probably going to be judged for them at some point or another.
Participants in the study were asked to look at pictures of people with and
without tattoos, then make assumptions about them. Study participants believed
the tattoos were unprofessional. Older participants even went so far as to say
that the tattooed workers seemed less intelligent and less honest than the
non-tattooed workers.
You’re planning to become pregnant




Even
though tattoo removal is possible, a tattoo is a permanent decision. It should
not be taken lightly, and it’s important to think about its ramifications in
the long-term. For example, if you are planning to become pregnant in the
future, know that your tattoo may change. Any weight gain or loss stretches and
then releases your skin, meaning your tattoo could end up looking different
than it originally did.
Never get one near your sweat glands



This
is one aspect of tattooing that I never considered. According to a recent
study, having a tattoo affects the way your body sweats. That ink on your skin
can actually block sweat, so choose where to place it very wisely. Our bodies
need to sweat to avoid overheating, so it’s especially important to never block
your sweat glands with a tattoo. 
“We
also found the sodium in sweat was more concentrated when released from
tattooed skin,” study coauthor Maurie Luetkemeier told Time. It also turns
out that skin that has a tattoo on it releases 50 percent less sweat than
surrounding skin. Tattooed skin may not be able to reabsorb those lost
electrolytes as well either. 
You’ve had skin cancer




If
you have had skin cancer or if there is a strong history in your family, keep
walking the next time you pass a tattoo parlor. While there is not a direct
link between tattoos and skin cancer, there is enough concerning information
about a possible connection to make you think twice.
“The
process of tattooing involves the integration of metallic salts and organic
dyes into the dermal layer of the skin,” Plastic Surgeon Cormac Joyce told
Time. Breaking into the skin and causing this inflammation could lead to
“malignant transformation.” Dr. Joyce believes that while tattoos do
not cause skin cancer, they could put those already at risk in
danger. Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned.
You’re sick with a virus




Getting
a tattoo is not like having professional makeup applied. Because the needles
penetrate your skin, you will be exposed to potential infections. If you are
just coming down with a cold or virus, it’s best to fully recover before
undergoing any invasive procedure.
“Tattoos
should be thought of as a medical procedure as it poses similar risks as minor
surgery does,” Dr. Greenberg told me. “Patients run the risk for an
immediate or delayed infection, poor healing, poor scarring, localized or
systemic reaction to the ink/dye, and there have also been reported cases of
infectious disease transmission from dirty needles and instruments. While some
of these risks can be treated with antibiotics, many of these risks pose
long-term consequences.”
You want to mark a special occasion




It
seems that tattooing your partner’s name on your body is a red flag that you’re
about to break up. I don’t believe in jinxing yourself, but if I did, this
would be at the top of the list. Next time you want to make a grand gesture for
your significant other, book an amazing vacation for the two of you and leave
the tattoo needles at home.
When
Kaley Cuoco and now ex-husband Ryan Sweeting met, they married within a year
and celebrated that date with a tattoo. Unfortunately, the marriage ended
almost as quickly as it started, and Cuoco was stuck with the tattoo on her
upper back. She shared her journey of covering it with her fans on Instagram.
Rather than remove the wedding date tattoo, Cuoco chose to cover it with an
insect, writing, “the deep, meaningful, larger than life meaning behind
this beautiful piece of ink, is….. It covered the last one.”
Cuoco
clearly had a sense of humor about the process, because she later posted,
“note to self-  do not mark your body with any future wedding dates
#under30mistakes #donttakeyourselftooseriouslykids.” So next time you’re
tempted to make an #under30mistake, brainstorm other ways to show your love.
You don’t know what kind of ink is being used




We’ve
established that before ever seriously considering a tattoo, you should get to
know the artist and ask lots of questions. Part of this process should be
making sure to find out exactly what kind of ink he plans to use and where it
came from. While the ink itself may be sterile, there have been cases of
artists diluting it with water in order to achieve the perfect shade. If the
water is not sterile, this can contaminate the entire ink supply, spreading
infection.
You’re unsure about the spelling and style




There
is nothing more cringeworthy than a misspelled tattoo. It is literally a
constant reminder of your mistake. Double and triple check the spelling and
style before going ahead with any tattoo.
Jennifer
Lawrence knows this firsthand. She has an H2O tattoo on her hand, but the two
is not aligned properly. “I was with Liam [Hemsworth]’s family and
everybody was getting tattoos, and I was like, well, I’m always going to need
to be hydrated, so I guess I should get H2O on my hand,” the actress told
HitFix. “By the way, I know that the two is high and in H2O the two is
supposed to be low. I should’ve Googled it before I got it tattooed on my body
forever.” Google first. Tattoo second.
Perceptions are changing



While
it’s true that having a tattoo can affect how others see and even judge you,
the tide seems to be turning and, fortunately for the tattoo lovers,
perceptions and biases are changing. An article in College Student
Journal found that the majority of college students surveyed were open to
tattoos. Most acknowledged the fact that they could face some discrimination
for a visible tattoo. That being said, over half were still considering one.
Don’t
write it off if a tattoo is right for you. Just make sure you’ve given yourself
plenty of time to choose the right tattoo with the right artist at the right
time in your life.
SOURCE: THE LIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.