They used to be tribal markings that were a sign of a person’s identity, their family or indicated one’s geographic region or religion. They were a way for illiterate people to tell others their name. Now they are a style statement, a sign of rebellion or non-conformity or just a symptom of the need to be cool. Tattoos are all this and more. People sporting tattoos are either revered or reviled; depending upon which side of the tattoo divide you are on. So if you’re contemplating getting tattooed, there are some pros and cons to consider; it’s a good idea to think before you ink:
The pros of tattooing
A tattoo is a method of self expression: your tattoo announces to the world more about who you are and what you believe in. A tattoo can be dedicated to a country or a team you love. A tattoo could symbolize your religious beliefs or it could be a tribute to the love of your life.
Getting yourself inked is also about self beatification; where the body itself is envisioned as a blank canvas that features real art. A tattoo can represent significant events or epochs of one’s life.
Many tattoos are in the form of permanent makeup. The skin of the face, lips, eyebrows and eyelids are actually tattooed to produce a permanently “made up effect”. This is also known as cosmetic tattooing.
Tattooing can in some cases also be used to disguise scarring, spots or the impact of skin problems such as Vitiligo.
The cons of tattooing
A tattoo can stretch, age, fade or blur with time. You cannot predict exactly how or to what extent a tattoo will alter over time.
A tattoo is a method of body alteration; i.e. it is permanent. This is a major problem if it did not turn out exactly as you want it to. It is also a problem if you no longer like the tattoo, or if the relationship it signified is now at an end. Unless you undergo the cost and the effort of tattoo removal, you are stuck with this piece of ‘art’ for life. Remember something that looks utterly cool right now, may look terribly dated in 10 years.
The process of tattooing itself poses some health risks: there is the risk of infection if improper safety procedures and equipment is used or if the tattooist is not sufficiently trained and experienced. The skin can have an allergic reaction to certain dyes and pigments used for the process of tattooing.
Rightly or wrongly, people make assumptions about tattoos. They assume that a person with tattoos could have gang affiliations or worse that they’ve been to jail! Or they could assume that if one sports a tattoo they must be part of a biker’s gang. It is also true that some employers discriminate against potential employees if they have been inked; that they may prefer to hire someone with a more conventional appearance rather than someone who sports tattoos.