Am I Too Old To Get A Tattoo? How Old is Too Old?

Point blank – Tattoos are for everyone. Every body size, skin color, and every age. You are never too old to get a tattoo. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, there are a few things you will want to consider if you are looking at getting a tattoo between the ages of 40 and 60, or even above that. 

We will discuss these topics of concern for those of older generations who are looking to get inked in this article. Some of these concerns may feel discouraging since they somewhat limit the extent of your design options.

Hopefully, you will see that despite a few limitations, tattoos only become more appealing as we get older. Let’s face it, wrinkles come to those who have spent a long life living so far. We might as well give our signs of age some color!

After reading this article, you should feel more confident, and more empowered to get inked, regardless of the increasing number of candles on your cake each year. The fact is that you are truly never too old to get a tattoo. So read on, consider a few of these key points, find your artist, get your design drawn up, and get ready for the high that can only come with a new tattoo. 

Tattooing Older Skin

It’s a simple fact of nature that as we age, so does our skin. The skin of someone in their 20’s is naturally tougher and more elastic than someone who is in their 50’s. As we age, our skin becomes softer, and less elastic. This process starts for some around 45.

For others, it doesn’t start until well into their 50’s. For most people above the age of 55, getting tattooed might be slightly more challenging due to softer and less elastic skin. This is also an excellent age to start getting tattoos. You will likely know what is important to you, and not make a grave mistake of getting a name, date, or image permanently inked into your skin that you will regret later on.

Tattooing is the process of injecting ink into the second layer of skin, just below the surface. Therefore tattooing someone with softer skin can be a bit more challenging.

Tattoo guns use thin needs that penetrate the skin, injecting ink each time. More intricate tattoo designs can be tougher to tattoo on softer skin as the ink can smear as the tattoo gun can not penetrate the skin as well.

This does not mean that you are too old to get a tattoo. However, it does mean that you may have to compromise somewhat on the design of your tattoo.

If you are getting a tattoo above the age of 50, you will want to discuss your design with your artist to make sure that they are confident that it will not smudge and smear. Tattooing older and softer skin can sometimes require a more experienced artist, with a lighter touch. Forcing the tattoo into softer skin can cause a “blowout” which looks like a smudged tattoo. 

It may be better to go with a more simple design such as a lotus flower, a starfish, or even an important date. 

You can find more info on tattoo blowouts and how to prevent them by clicking here.

It is also important to note that as our skin weathers with age, as a result, so do our tattoos. One of the great things about getting tattooed later in life, is that weathering process, and the inevitable fading of tattoos that comes with it, becomes less important. It’s very likely that it has already happened.

If we are lucky enough to grow into old age, then we will have to accept the “wisdom wrinkles” that we acquire. These wrinkles come whether or not we get them inked, so we might as well give them some color.

Do Tattoos Hurt More When Your Older?

Regardless of your age, the pain of getting a tattoo is relatively the same. Meaning, it is relative to your own personal pain tolerance. Many people describe the pain of getting a tattoo to that of a bee sting. It’s more of a constant light sting than it is an excruciating pain. 

There are some parts of the body that are excruciatingly painful to get tattooed. This is true no matter how old you are. The most painful parts of your body to get tattooed are those where there is little tissue, usually near the bones.

These areas can include the sides of the pectoral region (near the under arm), ribs, wrists, shins and feet. The pain of tattooing these areas does not change as you get older, and it will not be any more or less painful depending on your age. 

Tattoos really do not hurt that bad for the majority of people who get them. Especially if you avoid the areas just mentioned. If you already have a moderate to high pain tolerance, you will likely be totally fine with the small amount of pain that comes from getting a tattoo.

Many people with a self-described low pain tolerance have also reported that getting a tattoo did not hurt very much. Just stay away from areas that are close to bone, where there is little, or thin tissue, and you should be able to avoid any sharp pain during the tattooing process.

If you are worried about the pain of getting a tattoo, it is advised that you discuss this with a few people who already have tattoos. A recent study has found that nearly one in six adults have a tattoo, or are at least thinking of getting inked sometime in the near future. With those odds, you are sure to know at least one person who has gotten a tattoo.

They very likely could have gotten a tattoo above the age of 45, and might be able to set aside any worries that come with getting a tattoo later in life. Friends and family, especially those who have one or several tattoos, are the best guides to the process.

Benefits of Getting Tattooed When You Are Older

We just discussed a few of the things to consider when getting a tattoo later in life. Now let’s discuss a few of the benefits that come with getting inked when you are older.

The first is something that we already touched on – age and maturity lead to better design decision making. Only 5% of all persons with tattoos in the US and Great Britain have gotten their first one above the age of 65. It’s highly likely that next to none of the persons with tattoos= in this group regret the tattoo that they got. 

The tint of youth leads many people in their late teens and 20’s to get a tattoo that they later regret.

Examples of this are plentiful. Be it a name of a significant other they are sure they will spend the rest of their lives with, only to break up later, or a drunken spring break decision.

It’s no secret that we make poor decisions when we are young due to lack of maturity, and just plain life experience. Getting a tattoo later in life all but wipes out the chance for regret. 

The second benefit to getting inked when you are older is actually one of the considerations we mentioned earlier – softer skin. Specifically, softer skin that has already gone through the aging process. When you get inked above the age of 65, your skin that has loosened has probably done so to a permanent extent. This will clear away any concerns that come with making sure that tattoo ages well.

Many younger persons get tattoos that look great when they are young, but as they age, and their body goes through natural changes, these tattoos tend to stretch and warp. This is especially true for women who get their abdominal area tattooed before they have children.

Same goes with men who get their stomach and chest tattooed when they are young. Tattoos in these areas can become warped when our bodies grow and stretch, be it from pregnancy, or gaining weight.

As was mentioned at the very beginning of this article – you are never too old to get inked. So go forth and find your artist, choose your design, and enjoy the high of excitement that comes with a new tattoo.