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Tattoos and You: What to Expect and How to Deal

Nowadays, Milennials and Tattoos are like peas in a pod; everyone knows someone or a handful of people with these expressive symbols on their skin. Because tattoos are so common, the stigma that goes along with them is slowly disappearing. Personally, I am an advocate for personal expression as long as it is done in a tasteful manner. I am a fan of tattoos as long as they are able to be hidden and would not interfere with career interviews or career duties or offers. Of course however, there are certain occupations, such as being an artist, that are appropriate for conspicuous ink.

I wanted a tattoo ever since my early days of high school, but I never really had the money or motivation to actually go out and get one. One day however, during freshman year of college in spring semester, an ex-roommate and I decided we were to both get one. The next couple of weeks, I did extensive research on what I would get and where. Finally, I had it; it was the perfect combination of my personal values in an appropriate location. So, in April we drove over one Saturday to the venue, had a consultation, and I got a medium size, black cursive inscription reading “faith” with little doves flying off at the end on my left rib.

During my research on where, bodily-wise, and what exactly to get, I was amazed at how many options there really were. There was colored ink, white ink, and black ink; small, medium, large tattoos, and virtually any place on my body to have it engraved. Available are a plethora of different styles and techniques as well, such as watercolor, simplistic, and the the list goes on. On one specific website, I was able to gauge the pain intensity from a given chart: the areas with more “fat” would be much less painful, such as on the butt. Areas with less skin over bone would be more painful, such as on a rib or foot. I fell in love with the tattoos on the rib just below the breast and so that is where I chose; luckily I also have a high pain-tolerance and do not mind needles.

Always make sure to pick a certified, highly-regarded, and clean tattoo shop; this is the most important research you will do, because the last thing you want to do is either get some sort of infection, poorly created design, or pay way too much money. The shop that I went to in Delaware appeared a bit sketchy from the outside, but once I viewed their website and met the owner and artist in-person, they were very esteemed and I trusted them.

Another good tip is to research how to properly heal a tattoo and what or what not to do for the month or two afterward. I read countless sites, including the following: http://www.tattoocolumbia.com/aftercare/tattoo-aftercare/; it gives a lot of great tips, and it is helpful to know what to expect. Here are a few important points: Never soak your tattoo or take hot showers while it is healing; never peel the flakes off, let them naturally fall off; and don’t wear tight clothing over healing tattoos.

ALWAYS listen to the instructions of your artist; usually they are going to want you to wear a bandage for a couple of hours, and afterward, use a specific healing ointment for a couple of days. At the local Walgreens, I picked up an Aveeno intensive night moisture product to make sure that the tattoo was lightly moisturized. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take a steaming shower for about 4-6 weeks. But, it’s a small price to pay for a properly-healed, life-long commitment.

I was lucky to have such a smooth-sailing experience, and almost a year afterward I am considering getting more in the future, but I am really in no rush. One last tidbit of info though, go with someone important to you because you will almost always associate that tattoo with whomever you bring; that is the only regret that I have.


Hi! I currently attend Towson University with a double major in English and Mass Communication. I am actively involved on campus, and hope to inspire and aid as many collegiate women readers as possible.
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