Chances are if you googled this, someone close to you, be it your friend, child, spouse, sibling, is thinking about getting a tattoo and you are not in favor of it. There are plenty of reasons for concern, perhaps you think this person is making an impulsive decision, you’re worried about health related or social consequences.
Once someone has their heart set on getting a tattoo, it can be difficult to discourage them from making this decision. However, if you are determined to make them change their mind, there are several factors you can bring up and suggestions you can make that may be able to discourage them.
This one may seem pretty simple, but it’s a good point to bring up especially if you know the person you’re trying to convince has a low pain tolerance. Something that a lot of people don’t know is that tattoos are typically not done with one needle, they are done with groupings of up to 15 needles. The tattoo gun takes these needles and repeatedly jabs them into your skin, placing the ink under your top layers of skin.
Needless to say, tattoos are painful. Everyone’s experience getting a tattoo is going to be different, some locations hurt more than others, and some people are just more sensitive. Pain medication is typically not offered as it can interfere with the way the ink takes to your skin. When I got my first tattoo, I was actually surprised by how much it hurt and that made me reconsider future tattoo plans that I had. If you think that pain may be an effective deterrent, you can definitely bring that point up and see how they react to it.
A common argument that many people have against tattoos is that they do not age well and they’ve never seen an old person with good tattoos, and to a certain extent, that’s true. Tattoos may be a permanent decision, but that doesn’t mean they will look the same forever. The reality is that tattoos, especially colored tattoos, fade over time. Even black tattoos will turn more green as they age. As your skin stretches and ages, so will your tattoo and that can leave your tattoo looking pretty weird after a while. Some locations are more prone to this, but every tattoo will end up fading and stretching in some way just because of the natural changes your skin goes through.
You can also bring up the idea that your personality is going to change over time and what you like now may not be what you like in 10 years. If you think they’re going to regret their decision, bring that up. Ask them how they think they will feel about their tattoo in 10, 20, 40, even 60 years. What you think is cool when you’re 18 might feel a lot less cool in a job interview 10 years later.
If you feel like the person is just being impulsive and that they need to think about the tattoo longer before they get it, suggesting a henna or temporary tattoo may work. Henna tattoos, or other types of temporary tattoos, involve dying the top few layers of skin. This allows the tattoo to last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type, before it flakes off. They can be just as detailed as a regular tattoo so your friend can really test out the design to see if they like it.
Henna tattoos are also great if you are getting your own tattoo and want to see how it will look on your skin. They will be able to apply the tattoo, you’ll be able to see how it moves with your skin, and if you don’t like it then at least you’re only stuck with it for a few weeks maximum.
While tattoos are very safe nowadays, there are still some risks that come along with getting a tattoo as it is a medical procedure. When you get a tattoo, you are breaking the top layers of your skin and placing ink within your inner layers of skin. This creates a risk for infection and the transmission of diseases. That is why it is of the utmost importance to find a clean, reputable tattoo studio and artist to get your tattoo in. If safety is your main concern with your friend getting a tattoo, you can bring these points up to them and educate them about the possible safety concerns that come along with getting a tattoo.
Some of the main safety concerns that come along with getting a tattoo are the risk of infection, possible allergic reactions, and the transmission of diseases. If you are going to a reputable tattoo studio, the risk of infection and disease transmission should be extremely low. However, one thing that you cannot plan for is an allergic reaction. You can do your best to pick an artist that uses high-quality inks, but that cannot completely mitigate the risk of putting a foreign substance into your body.
Our final words of advice are these: just have an open and honest conversation. Ultimately, you can tell them all of these possible negative consequences that come with getting a tattoo and give them all the alternatives, but it’s still their body. If this person is above the age of 18, they are legally allowed to get a tattoo without the consent of others.
If you truly feel strongly about this tattoo, have an honest conversation with them. Sit them down, express your concerns, give them the information that you have, and leave it at that. You must respect their bodily autonomy because, as we all know, the more people tell you not to do something, the more determined you are to do it. Resisting the tattoo strongly may just increase the person’s desire to get a tattoo, especially if it comes from a place of rebellion.