Once considered just the markings of sailors, soldiers, bikers and criminals tattoos have gone through a major image change in the past decade or so.
Now one fifth of the population are sporting ink and celebrities, from David Beckham to Samantha Cameron, have joined in too. But with the rapid increase of tattoos also comes an increase in tattoo regrets and poor tattoo aftercare.
So what can you do to avoid being one of the third of adults that regret their tattoo? And how can you make sure you care for your artwork, and the skin it is on?
Celebrity tattooist Louis Molloy, responsible for David Beckham’s guardian angel and Freddy Flintoff’s ink, has a few ideas.
Don’t rush in. Do your research and book an appointment for a chat with your tattoo artist. Don’t have a spur-of-the-moment tattoo.
Keep certain areas off limits. I always advise against neck, face and hand tattoos, as these are nearly impossible to cover up.
Leave romance for Valentine cards. If you’re thinking of having your lover’s name tattooed somewhere prominent – then don’t. It’s a nice gesture but if the relationship sours then you will definitely want it removed.
Be serious. A jokey tattoo is much more likely to fall out of favour as you age. Imagine framing a cartoon you thought was funny when you were 18 and living with it on your wall for a lifetime.
Take care of your skin. It is essential to take care of your tattoo just as you would the rest of your skin, if not more so. New tattoos are vulnerable and need a specialized product to help recover and protect. The sun can wreak havoc too.
Don’t be a follower. Never have a tattoo done just because it’s a fashion trend or because all your friends are having it done. Fashion changes and this should be taken into consideration.
Be informed. If a tattooist is prepared to just do a piece of work on you on a whim and not explain any potential downsides then reconsider! A professional tattoo artist will help you make an informed choice.
Tattoos can be artistic, thought provoking and aesthetically pleasing, but before you jump under the needle may be its worth remembering these tips.