15 Good Reasons Not To Get That Tattoo You're Thinking Of

There's something super exciting about getting tattoos. If you've ever experimented with temporary or henna tattoos at any point, you might already feel pulled in the direction of getting a real tattoo somewhere on your body. Maybe there's a phrase or a symbol you'd like to see permanently inked for its deeper meaning. After all, tattoos are a wonderful way for artsy and creative people to express themselves to the world. This is especially true since there's nothing low-key or minuscule about getting a tattoo — this type of body art lasts forever. 


While it's true that you can pay additional money to get a tattoo removed in the future, most people who sit down in a tattoo parlor aren't exactly planning to get rid of their inked art at any point. Tons of methodical thinking goes into tattoo prepping, planning, and aftercare. With all the factors you must consider before following through with an actual tattoo, you might come to the realization you want to express yourself artistically in a different way. Getting that tattoo you're thinking of probably isn't the best idea for you individually if any of the following statements apply to you.

The tattoo might impact future job prospects

Although society's perception of tattoos has heavily changed in recent years, it's still vital to consider how your chosen tattoo will impact future job prospects. If you're already working at a job you adore with a management team that wouldn't bat an eye at a new tattoo, or you own your own business and know you'll never have to answer to a boss, you're in a great position to move forward with your plans. 


If you're in between jobs, on the other hand, you might want to hold back on getting any major tattoos in super visible places. You might interview for your dream job at a company and lose out on the opportunity if the person in charge isn't comfortable with your visible tattoos (or the one you're considering getting).

If you've already decided you wouldn't want to work for a boss who would be judgmental or close-minded about something like tattoos, then you should still move forward with your plans. Just be aware that potential job prospects are hanging in the balance based on this decision.

You might not be legally old enough to get a tattoo yet

You must be at least 18 years old to get a tattoo in the United States. If you're interested in getting a tattoo, but you're still below the age of 18, you're going to have to hold off until you're old enough (however, some states do allow those under 18 to get a tattoo with parental consent). There are a couple of major issues that come into play for underage individuals who attempt to get tattoos before they're legally allowed to.


This isn't a knock against teenagers and preteens — but they are known to make decisions that aren't always perfectly sound or logical. That's because teenagers and preteens haven't fully grown up yet or developed a solid sense of maturity. They're still learning! Every single person alive on this planet goes through years of learning to gather knowledge and wisdom with age and experience.

Also, claiming to be 18 when you aren't quite there yet can put a tattoo parlor in a serious legal bind. If they get caught giving tattoos to underage people, they can get in trouble with the law. Tattoo parlors will typically check forms of ID before moving forward, but they aren't always able to decipher between fake IDs and real ones. The impatience of an underage person who desperately wants a tattoo can result in a tattoo parlor getting shut down, which means those tattoo artists will lose business and income.


You can't find a local tattoo artist you trust

You shouldn't have to fly to a different state or drive several hours to track down a tattoo artist you can trust. If there aren't any local tattoo artists who can get the job done, it's a huge sign you might need to wait on your plan for a little while. You also don't want to make the mistake of giving a sketchy tattoo artist a chance simply because you're unable to lock down an appointment with someone you really want to book with. There are tons of shady tattoo artists out there who aren't fully trained in their craft, and who are hoping to pull in as much money as possible from clientele unaware of their lack of experience or professionalism.


You'll be able to tell if a tattoo artist is trustworthy based on a few tattoo shop red flags. Do they have a large social media following and a solid social media presence? Have any of your friends or family members received tattoo art from them in the past? Do they have a highlight reel of exquisite work they've accomplished in the past? Make sure you're able to access videos of the tattoo artist in question completing a tattoo from start to finish. This is important because some tattoo artists claim photos of finished work that don't actually belong to them.

You already regret other tattoos you've gotten

Take a moment to consider any tattoos you already have on your body. Think deeply about how you feel about one or more of the tattoos you're living with. Do you deeply regret any of the ones you've already gotten in the past? If so, you might want to reconsider adding an additional tattoo to the lot. Tattoos are a huge deal, and they shouldn't be taken lightly. Dealing with regret over anything can be very devastating, frustrating, and heartbreaking. 


No one wants to feel like they've made a mistake in life, in any department. This is especially true when it comes to doing something to your body that's so permanent. This doesn't apply if you're planning to get a new tattoo to cover up the mistake of an old one from back in the day. It makes a lot of sense that you'd want to hide any unfortunate tattoo art you aren't feeling warm and fuzzy about anymore with new and better designs.

You haven't researched the symbolism you're going for

It's time to do some serious research about the symbolism you're interested in for your tattoo before you pull the trigger. If you haven't thoroughly researched the symbolism you're going for, you could end up with a tattoo representing something you don't actually agree with, believe in, or condone. It's extremely common for people to get tattoos that resonate with their emotions. Unfortunately, if you're not fully knowledgeable about the symbolism behind specific images, phrases, and emblems, you can end up stuck with a tattoo that you're feeling really regretful about. 


You could also end up with a highly upsetting and problematic tattoo, unbeknownst to you. An example of this would be hoping to get a tattoo in Chinese symbols representing your puppy. Your desire to showcase your love for your puppy will be obvious to the world after getting a tattoo like this, right? Well, the Chinese symbol for the word "dog" looks very similar to the Chinese symbol for the words "too much." If the tattoo artist assigned to your request can't tell the difference, you could end up stuck with a tattoo that says something you don't connect with at all.

You're not super knowledgeable about the foreign language you want

Gaining some knowledge of the foreign language of the tattoo you're seeking is essential. There's nothing wrong with wanting to branch out and try something totally new by getting a tattoo in a different language. This only becomes a problem if you're unaware of different aspects of the foreign language you're interested in as it relates to your chosen tattoo. An example of this would be wanting to get an English word tattooed in Spanish without acknowledging that some English words don't perfectly translate to any words in the Spanish dictionary. 


You might be pulled to have a phrase like "dive right into my heart" or "diving into life headfirst" tattooed in Spanish. In reality, there are no words in the Spanish dictionary that perfectly translate from "dive." You might desire a phrase like "stare into my eyes" or "staring at the sun" tattooed in Spanish on you. Unfortunately, the word "stare" doesn't flawlessly translate into any words from the Spanish dictionary, either. This exact issue will arise regardless of your chosen language, whether French, Arabic, Russian, or others.

You're only getting the tattoo because you lost a bet

It would be a huge mistake to follow through on a tattoo simply because you lost a bet. Losing a bet isn't a valid reason to make a decision as serious (and permanent) as getting a tattoo. This is something to consider internally before making any playful bets with friends and family members ahead of time. Agreeing to get a tattoo based on the win or loss of a bet isn't something you should ever agree to at any point in time. 


If this is a mistake you've already made and you feel the need to stay true to your word by honoring the bet, you still have every right to back out and change your mind. Instead of following through with a tattoo, offer up something else of equal value. It might come down to doing something a tad embarrassing or inconveniencing, but at least you won't be stuck dealing with a tattoo that makes you feel angry or regretful for the rest of your life.

You're inebriated by alcohol or other drugs

It's a terrible idea to move forward with tattoo plans when you're inebriated by alcohol or other drugs. Plus, since alcohol thins your blood, the tattoo session will likely be full of excessive bleeding. For these reasons, tons of tattoo shops have rules in place that you're not allowed to show up if you are visibly under the influence of substances. Other tattoo shops don't necessarily care how drunk or unhinged you appear as long as they're pocketing the profit of completing tattoo art for you. You have to be extra careful with yourself in places like that because they don't actually have your best interest at heart. 


Some tattoo shops aren't concerned about the regret you'll feel when you wake up the next morning with a tattoo you aren't proud to have. You signed that waiver, after all. They're only concerned about getting whatever dollar amount the tattoo is worth in that moment. Your stance on tattoos is something you must internally decide before alcohol or other substances begin clouding your mind on a social night out. You can avoid this type of mistake by communicating with the people you're partying with and explaining your boundaries before things get too extreme.

You're already looking into tattoo removal services before you've even gotten it

Are you already doing a deep dive into research about tattoo removal services before you even get your tattoo? If so, this is a huge indicator that you probably shouldn't move forward with your tattoo plans. No one who gets a tattoo should already be planning out how to get rid of it! The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, tattoo removal services don't create the most flawless results ever. It's possible that your skin will never return to its normal state again after getting inked for the first time. 


You can go through several rounds of tattoo removal appointments to achieve a perfectly blank slate, but you may never be able to reach your goal. Another issue here is that tattoo removal services can be costly. The tattoo you get might only be a couple of hundred dollars, but removal services can be in the thousands. Knowing that you're already tempted to learn about tattoo removal services before your tattoo has been added to your skin is a huge red flag.

You're being pressured by a friend or partner to get the tattoo

One of the worst reasons to agree to a tattoo is that a friend or partner is pressuring you to get one. Your BFF may want to get matching butterfly tattoos behind your ears. The idea sounds super cute and sweet in theory, but what would you think about the tattoo if you and your best friend ended up having a falling out? It's possible your romantic partner wants you to get their initials tattooed on the side of your wrist so they can see it every time they hold your hand. The idea sounds incredibly romantic and lovey-dovey, but how would you feel if you and your partner ended up breaking up? 


Although we hope every relationship in our lives is healthy, long-lasting, and amazing, we aren't psychics who can see into the future. Anything can happen, and anything can change. People grow and evolve all the time, which means relationships can crumble in the most unexpected ways. It's up to you to have discernment about any tattoo you choose to get in relation to friends or partners you care about. If you feel like someone you love is pressuring you way too much, it's vital to listen to your gut instincts.

You aren't patient enough to deal with the aftercare process

There's nothing one-and-done about the process of getting a tattoo. You have to deal with loads of aftercare following any tattoo appointment, however small or large the ink might be. If you don't thoroughly care for a fresh tattoo after it's been added to your skin, you can deal with many health issues, including skin infections. Obviously, no one wants to deal with pesky skin infections that look, smell, and feel terrible.


The tattoo artist will likely cover your tattoo before you head out the door to keep it clean. After a few hours, you're free to remove the bandage. After five hours, you can gently wash your tattoo with clean water and mild soap. From there, you'll need to continually apply a healing ointment twice daily (Aquaphor is a fan favorite) without applying another bandage.

You'll have to continue gently washing the tattoo area with soap and water at least twice a day for two to three weeks (or until fully healed). You won't be able to go swimming, sit in the sun, or wear tight clothing during that period either. You might even notice your tattoo developing small scabs or rough layers of skin during the healing process. If none of this sounds enticing, getting that tattoo should be nixed from your to-do list.


You're planning to get pregnant at some point

Having children and starting a family is one of the most beautiful and selfless things people can do. But have you thought about how getting pregnant will mess with your chosen tattoo, though? It's not the biggest deal if you have — or want — tattoos on your arms or legs, which are the most ideal locations for a first-time tattoo. It becomes more of a concern if you're choosing to get tattoos in places that will ultimately stretch after you become pregnant. 


We're referring to your stomach, back, ribcage, hips, breasts, and even your groin area. The reality of pregnancy is that your body will undoubtedly change as you carry a child in your womb. Your skin will loosen, your stomach will grow, and you might even develop stretch marks in different places throughout your pregnancy. If you've already gotten a tattoo in the area surrounding your midsection, it's possible that the imagery of your tattoo won't look the same during and after your pregnancy. 

You're starting a weight loss journey

Starting a weight loss journey is beyond exciting. When people start weight loss journeys, they decide within themselves that they're ready to make a serious change by altering their nutrition and exercise habits to shed some pounds. This is a fabulous move for people who want to feel more confident in their bodies while strengthening their health from the inside out. 


Unfortunately, if you have a large amount of weight to lose, it's possible you'll end up with some loose skin after the weight is gone. Getting a tattoo before reaching your weight loss journey's final destination is risky for this reason. You don't exactly know where your skin will lie at the end of all the weight loss. Any tattoos you get at the beginning of a weight loss journey might not look how you intended by the time you reach your fitness goals.

Dealing with blood or needles makes you queasy

Some people can't stand the sight of blood or needles. It's pretty common if the visual of blood and needles make you want to throw up or pass out (or both). In fact, the fear of needles has a name: trypanophobia. "Needle fear is not limited to childhood — it definitely can afflict adults," clinical psychologist Robert A. Chernoff tells Cedars-Sinai. "Avoidance of needles is the key thing that a person with needle fear tends to do, and that can be very unhealthy for people who really need a procedure involving injection."


Regardless of the cause of your fear of needles, there's no point in booking an appointment with a tattoo artist to receive a tattoo if you already know you'll be super queasy the entire time. You might even end up with an incomplete or partial tattoo if you can't get through the appointment. When you get a tattoo, it undoubtedly breaks the skin and causes drops of blood to shed. If these are things you know you simply can't handle, getting a tattoo probably isn't a great idea for you.

You have allergic reactions to tattoo dye

Knowing the risks that might come into play when getting a tattoo is crucial. One significant (rare) risk is that you could have an allergic reaction to tattoo dyes. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few popular colors that are known to cause allergic skin reactions in plenty of people seeking tattoos: yellow, blue, green, and red. Dealing with an itchy rash at the site of your tattoo is very possible if your body is allergic to tattoo dye. 


The fallout of this issue can stay in motion for years to come. This means that you won't be able to return to normal life for a few short weeks after the healing process is over, and you could still be dealing with an itchy rash for years unless you decide to have the tattoo removed or undergo medical treatment.

You can always have a tattoo artist test a small area of skin before completing an entire project over a larger area. But, if you have any inclination that you'll be allergic to the tattoo dye, you'll definitely want to skip on getting that tattoo you've been thinking about (sorry).