Should I Get A Tattoo? Top Factors To Consider

  • Written By Dan Hunter on May 26, 2019
    Last Updated: May 17, 2023

For most people, tattoos are not something just randomly decided upon on a Saturday afternoon. Many people debate about getting a tattoo for weeks, months, or even years before they actually dive into getting one. If you think tattoos are cool, you don’t have to get one immediately. It’s okay to wait.

In the meantime, here’s what you should consider as you think about getting a tattoo.

Ask Yourself Why You Want One

Take some time to think about the driving factor that is making you consider a tattoo. People have lots of reasons. Many people want a deeply meaningful tattoo that reminds them of an important part of their life or philosophy. That’s a very valid reason, but a tattoo doesn’t have to be deeply meaningful. 

On the other hand, other people simply want tattoos for their beauty, and to turn their bodies into a work of art.

There isn’t a ‘right’ reason for wanting to get a tattoo. However, there are plenty of wrong reasons, such as the ones listed below:

Someone Else Wants You To Get A Tattoo

A tattoo should be for you, not for anybody else. This is especially applicable if a romantic partner is pushing for their name to be permanently etched onto your body. This is nearly always an extremely bad idea. Just say no.

You Want To Prove You Can Get A Tattoo Through The Pain

First, who cares how much pain you can take? Being able to tolerate pain is not really a measure of self-worth, and there are plenty of other ways to challenge your body that don’t leave a permanent mark, like hitting the gym or taking up marathons. Don’t go and get a lip tattoo just because you hear it’s the most painful.

tattoo needles fear

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of getting a tattoo. Just make sure you’re getting one for the right reasons.

Do You Have The Money For A Tattoo?

Tattoos are pricey. High-quality tattoos that you can be proud of are even pricier. Tattoos can be beautiful, or just really damn cool; but they still shouldn’t take money away from that you need for more important things, like necessities to live. If you’re struggling financially, wait a while and slowly save up – it’s definitely the most sensible thing to do. This is why it’s sometimes best to wait to get a tattoo until you’re a bit older.

If you’re struggling for money, you don’t want to end up buying a cheap tattoo that you will eventually regret and want to remove. Laser tattoo removal isn’t cheap, either.

Are You Prepared To Look After Your Tattoo?

Getting inked is not just about the day you’re in the tattoo parlor. You also have to take care of your new tattoo for several weeks afterward. It needs time to heal, and you have to follow the right aftercare steps to keep it from fading or scabbing up too much if you want it to look its best. A good tattoo aftercare lotion can also go a long way without costing the earth.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

If you have a lot going on in your life right now, you may want to hold off until you have the time to properly care for a new tattoo. Tattoo won’t be going out of style any time soon, so there is no rush.

If you’re in a physical job or you’re a busy athlete, you may want to put you tattoo on hold. Accidentally injuring your newly tattooed piece of skin can delay the healing process, and can even permanently damage the design.

If you live in a hot country and spend a lot of time in the sun then you may wish to reconsider getting a tattoo, especially if you’re looking to get inked on a regularly exposed area of skin. Over the years, the strong UV rays beaming down from the sun can heavily fade a tattoo if a good quality sunscreen (SPF 30+) isn’t applied whenever outside during strong sunlight.

Many people with heavily faded designs end up either having to get a touch up by a tattoo artist, or turning to laser tattoo removal, which is both expensive and painful. 

Have You Had A Tattoo Before?

As you think about what kind of tattoo you want, you should be realistic. If it’s your first tattoo, it may not be the time to ask for a sleeve or something that covers half of your back. It may be better to start small. You can always add to a tattoo later. For your first time, you don’t want to get in over your head and end up with something large and regrettable.

Of course, you can still can a sleeve or a full back piece as your first tattoo, but just make sure you’re completely committed and sure first.

Know How Well You Tolerate Pain

Yes, a tattoo is going to be painful, and that may be something you need to consider before deciding to get one.

Different areas of the body are more, or less painful than others, and you shouldn’t select a particular placement just because it’s a slightly less painful area.

If you’re set on an area of skin that you probably can’t tolerate the pain level for, then you may want to reconsider. Don’t get a tattoo you aren’t fully happy with.

For most people, the pain is tolerable, especially if the tattoo is small. Your mind will adjust to the sensation after the first few minutes, and the adrenaline will begin to kick in shortly after.

How to make a tattoo hurt less:

Are You Healthy Right Now?

It’s best to go in for a tattoo when you aren’t sick, and when you’re not going through a rough or stressful time, such as being ill or pregnant. Your body will be able to handle the process much better.

After all, your skin is being exposed to trauma when you get a tattoo. It’s nothing your body can’t handle, and it will usually be able to heal nicely on its own, but a tattoo will heal much faster if you’re healthy and well to begin with.

Do Your Research

Especially before getting your first tattoo. You should read everything you can that will help you make the right decision. You need to know if getting inked is definitely right for you.

You need to make sure you understand the process and how it works, and you need to ensure you select both a tattoo and a location that you will be happy with in the long run.

Here are a few other things to research beforehand:

Tattoo Studio

Look into the tattoo shops near you to see which ones have the best reputation. Talk to people you know who have tattoos, and find out what their experiences were, and how happy they are with the finished product. If they don’t mind you taking a look, you should also check out their tattoo to see what you think.

You want to select a studio that’s known for quality work and clean conditions.

Tattoo Artist

Once you’ve selected a studio, or as part of the studio selection process, find out what you can about the tattoo artists who work there. Check out pictures of their previous work, and if possible, talk to someone you know who has used that particular tattoo artist before.

Two different tattoo artists in the same studio can, and probably do, have vastly different experience levels, techniques, and styles, so it’s definitely worth investigating.

Tattoo Styles

In conjunction with selecting a tattoo parlor and artist, you should take a look at the different types of tattoo styles so you can select tattoo artists who are skilled in the particular style, and so you can tell them exactly what you want.

Taking the time to think about the entire tattooing process means you’re on the right path to getting the ink that’s a good fit for you. Remember, it’s very easy to get great tattoos if you take your time to think about the decision, but it’s difficult, expensive and painful to take away regrettable ones.

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