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THE SWEETEST TATTOO: SHOULD YOU INK UP?

Tattoos

The Sweetest Tattoo: Should You Ink Up?

If the beautiful Donna Marie Lombardi (main photo, right) is anything to go by, if done right, tattoos can look amazing on black women. The striking  25 year old gained fame on the US reality series “Black Ink Crew” (VH1), panned by critics but loved by the masses, as it follows the lives of dysfunctional tattoo artists. Its popularity reflects the fact that tattoos have gained considerable popularity amongst people of colour and are more common than ever.

According to research firm IBISWorld, an estimated 20 million Britons  have at least one tattoo and approximately 1.5 million pieces of body ink are added annually creating an industry estimated to be worth £80 million. However, statistics show a 440 per cent increase in revenues from removal procedures in the past decade, with 39 per cent of adults surveyed regretting their tattoo.

Tattoos
Photo: Donna Marie Lombardi of Black Ink Crew

A tattoo is a lifetime commitment, so you must be absolutely 100 per cent certain that you want one. You may think that it is the best thing in the world today, but will you feel the same about it in years to come?

Design

Tattoos are great for show, although the design itself should hold some meaning. There are hundreds of predesigned designs to choose from.

Research relevant resources to decide on the general type of look that you want then narrow it down to the actual design. Alternatively, hire an artist to custom design an exclusive tattoo which are more expensive than mainstream ones.

Another consideration in the design is whether it will be in colour or just black. Black tattoos tend to have more definition due to the contrast with your skin. In comparison, colour tattoos are much richer and help to add more character to your chosen design, but they do cost more.

Which Body Part?

First, bear in mind the size of your chosen design.The size of your tattoo will, to a large extent, be determined by the location on your body. Large tattoos will not only take longer to complete and will be more noticeable. The back, shoulders, chest and stomach are better areas for large designs.

Second, how visible do you want your tattoo to be? Do you want it to be on public display or do you want it to be more discreet?

It is important to bear in mind your normal style of dress and that certain professions have strict rules about visible tattoos.

Third, certain areas are more painful than others. As a general rule, areas of your body where the flesh is thinner and bonier, such as your ankles, head and lower back, tend to be more painful.

Less painful areas to tattoo include your shoulders, chest, upper arm and upper back. And due to the number of nerve endings involved, it goes without saying that more intimate areas of your body could be extremely sensitive.

Finally, consider the changes your body as the years pass. A cute and sexy tattoo on the belly may not look as good when you either lose or gain weight. How it would look, years from now, on the part of your body that you are thinking of putting it on.

The biceps, the back of the shoulder, and the lower back do not stretch nor shrink as much as the rest of our body does. Therefore, these areas would be perfect for tattoo placement; and they would be easier to conceal.

Tattoos
Photo: Donna Marie Lombardi of Black Ink Crew
No Pain, No Gain

Tattoos involve piercing into skin so no matter how big or how small the tattoo may be or where it is located, you can expect to feel some pain. The overall amount of pain you experience though, all depends on your tolerance. If you have a high pain tolerance, you may feel next to nothing during the entire process.

When you get a tattoo, the needles will puncture your skin at very fast rates and variable depths. The outline of the tattoo is  the most painful, as the needles needs to be inserted fairly deeply and carefully to ensure that it is done correctly

Tattoos
Photo: Donna Marie Lombardi of Black Ink Crew

The shading of the tattoo normally is not painful, although it depends on the penetration depth and effect that you desire.

Normally, the pain you feel is a slight burn or scratching feeling. If the tattoo is going to be on an area where there is less bone and tissue such as the wrist or chest, the pain will be a bit more intense. Areas like the arms and legs however, that have more tissue and muscle, normally are not that painful.

Never show up to a get a tattoo on drugs or drunk. This will thin out your blood, causing you to bleed more. Always choose a tattoo artist that you are comfortable around.  You should accept the fact that the tattoo will take time. Quality work is an art and should never be rushed.

If the pain becomes too much to bear, you should let your tattoo artist know immediately. He will allow you to take a break, or stop and come back later. You can always break up your sessions, as tattoos do not need to be finished immediately.

What if There’s Regret?

Removal technology is improving all the time, but it is still time consuming, expensive and painful. Laser therapy, considered the most effective form of tattoo removal, breaks down the ink pigments, resulting in a gradual fading of the tattoo. The process typically requires 6-12 treatments, depending upon the size and colours involved and can costs thousands of pounds.

There will always be both pros and cons with tattoos. Before you decide to get one,  make sure that the design you have picked out is something that you can see yourself with for years to come. If there is any doubt in your mind, you should not get it. Even though it may seem cool at the time, the price for removal and the complications with surgery may not be worth it in the long run.

Photos: Donna Marie Lombardi @donnadadondada

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