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Is getting a tattoo worth the consequences?

6th July 2012

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According to the British Association of Dermatologists one in five adults in the UK has a tattoo and almost a third wish they hadn’t got it. 

The study of 580 people discovered men were more likely to have regrets than women, particularly men who got the tattoo before they were 16. On the other hand women who got their first tattoo over the age of 21 were the least likely to regret their decision.

We’ve known since people started inking up that a lot regret it. The gender divide isn’t surprising either. It’s a well known fact women mature quicker than men (sorry guys!) and it seems logical that women over 21 would have a much more mature state of mind than boys under 16 – an exceedingly juvenile time to get a permanent alteration to your body.

When I got my tattoo I was 18, nervous and had been planning it for the good part of a year. I was aware of the risks of getting something that in five, 10, 20 years I’d hate and was even more aware of how painful (and expensive) laser surgery is.

I opted for something small, in a relatively hidden place (my shoulder blade) that had meaning to me. I haven’t had any doubts about it and I hope that I never do.

What’s dangerous is how accessible tattoos are. In a moment of excitement, with some money to burn and a great idea of what would look amazing wrapped round your wrist, tattoos are a fashion trend that’s very easy to follow. It’s also tricky to stop at one. Although there is no such thing as an addiction to tattoos, the endorphin release can feel like it.

Fast forward a few years and the unicorn head you had tattooed to your ankle isn’t quite as cute. All of us have had to face the obligatory complimenting a friend’s tattoo, whilst grimacing, secretly knowing they’ve just scarred themselves for life.

And being embarrassing isn’t even the worst of the risks! As well as unsightly, tattoos can be a limit on your opportunities. In 2007 an American survey revealed that 60% of employers said they would be less likely to hire someone who had visible tattoos. A big difference. Losing out on your dream job opportunity because of the dragon on your arms is not only disappointing, but stupid.

Plan your tattoos people! Consider them well and for a very, very long time! If you go off the idea in a month or two then it’s probably not a good idea to attach it to your body permanently. Be careful with what you get -a drawing of a painstakingly inked naked woman looks a hell of a lot less sexy at 70 than it did at 17. Google ‘worst tattoos’ quickly after reading this, it’ll prove my point.

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