Tribal Tattoos

Tribal tattoos were all the rage in the 1990s and remained so into the early 2000s, as with any trend, it led to overuse of the term and a blur in the origin of the artwork. People flocked to tattoo shops all over the country wanting tribal body art without so much as a thought to the symbolism of the piece they were about to have permanently applied to their bodies.

The word “tribal” has a different connotation for different people, largely based on their geographic location. For example, in the Southwest United States, it may bring to mind stereotypical notions of Native Americans living in teepees and hunting buffalo In other parts of the world, it may make someone think of mysterious peoples living in the jungles of the Congo or the African Bush. The art of tattooing has been practiced for centuries in cultures all over the world, so it’s impossible to narrow it to a single group of people.

The very same word, for the purpose of the tattoo industry, is a bit misleading. In the context of tribal tattoos, it simply means a tattoo in a style inspired by Polynesian body art. I guess if you happen to be a Pacific Islander, then your mental image of tribal tattoos is probably the closest to correct.

The word may give some the impression that the art is somehow more meaningful or closer to the roots of tattooing, when the truth is no one is 100 percent sure what the origin is. The fact that tribal tattoos are always solid black makes some people think it is a more pure and undiluted form of the art.

Many people have already had this revelation and have accepted the tribal tattoo for what it really is: still a really sweet looking tat. is a comprehensive Web site that’s completely embraced the idea. It has all kinds of links, and tons of ideas to inspire your new tribal body art. The thumbnails are divided up into easy to use categories like “tribal butterflies,” “tribal religious symbols,” “tribal lettering,” “tribal dragon,” “tribal celestial designs” and of course, tribal renditions of the ever popular upper and lower back tattoos.

It’s seriously doubtful that the body art industry is deliberately trying to trick anybody with this misguided term, but maybe they should consider renaming the trend as a service to the public. Maybe something like “Polynesianesq,” would be better, or “shadow,” in reference to its typically solid black coloring. “Faux tribal” would certainly be more accurate.

Most think the design has some sort of mysterious, deep meaning, when the truth is the popular form of tribal tattooing usually has no symbolic meaning other than the sentimental value placed on it by the wearer. Hopefully you’ve done your research well before you get into the artists chair. He may offer some guidance, but it’s not his responsibility to tell you what kind of tattoo you want.

Don’t be disappointed in your tribal art. If you feel you’ve chosen you design in error, just think back to what attracted you to it in the first place. Was in the unique flow of the shape or the intensity of the solid blackness? All those things are still there and permanently on your body for better or worse. Don’t waste time regretting your decision on a mere technicality. The point is, if you like it and it means something to you, then wear it with pride. When people ask you what your tribal tat stands for, just tell them how it’s symbolic to you. Maybe you got it to memorialize a loved one, or mark a major event in your life. That’s usually what they want to know anyway. Just love your tattoo for what it is.

The Process of Tattooing

So, you’re finally going to do it? You’re going to get that tattoo you’ve been talking about for years. You have the perfect design all picked out and know exactly where you want it. You’ve visited the shop a few times and are confident you’re chosen the right one. It’s clean and well lit, the artists are all wearing gloves and the autoclave is in plain sight so you see that it’s being used. The guy who’s going to do your ink seems nice and you feel like he’s really listening to you and understands what you want. You’re just a little hesitant because you don’t know precisely what to expect. Well, here’s a little enlightenment on the process.

Just like most other major life decisions, getting a new tattoo begins with some paperwork. You’ll be asked for the usual stuff, then a photo ID to prove your age. Rules vary from state to state, but you have to be at least 18 everywhere. Tattooing a minor with a parent present and/or written parental consent used to be ok in some places. The rules were stretched and abused, and it’s really not the norm now, but some shops will still do it.

After all your forms are filled out, you’ll have a seat in the artist’s chair. Some used chairs kind of like a dentist would have, other’s used tables or benches like a massage therapist does. If the shop is small, it may just be a plain kitchen chair. You may be seated in an open work area or a closed room, depending on the placement of your tattoo. Either way, your artist will try to make you comfortable.

Next is the preparation phase. The skin that’s about to be inked will be cleaned, usually with rubbing alcohol, then shaved, then cleaned again. Nothing but a brand new disposable razor should be used, and even then, it should only be used once. You can ask to check the razor out first if you want to. The artist won’t think you’re rude. He’ll probably thing you’re dumb if you don’t.

Now you need a stencil. These use to be traces or drawn by hand. It was a time consuming and tedious process. Thanks to the invention of the thermal-fax, it now takes just a few minutes. You can bring in a design you like, and your artist can scan it into the thermal-fax which prints it on a piece of transfer paper (assuming there’s not copyright infringement involved). He will then moisten your skin with water, soap, or sometimes a stick deodorant. This will help the transfer stick better and come off darker on your skin.

At this point, you artist will take a few minutes to prepare his workstation. He can’t do this ahead of time or everything wouldn’t be sterile. He will gather the ink into little bowls called “ink caps.” Then he will take the tubes and needles out of their sterile wrappers and put them in his machine. There should be a cup of distilled water on the table to rinse the needles between colors.

Now it’s time to get down to business. Before the needle touches your skin, the tattooist will dab a bit of ointment over the transfer. This is to make the transfer stay on longer, and to help the needle slide more smoothly over your skin so you’ll be more comfortable. First comes the outline. It’s basically getting what’s on the stencil permanently inked onto you skin. It’s going to hurt, but it shouldn’t be unbearable, otherwise there would be people walking around everywhere with half-finished tattoos. If you’re not getting color, you’d be finished at this point. If you are, the tattooist will switch to magnums, needles specifically made for coloring and shading.

You’re now the proud owner of a new tattoo. The artist will clean it and usually take a picture for his portfolio so prospective clients can see what he’s done. Next, he will put a protective ointment over the area, and cover it will gauze. On your way out, you’ll be given a sheet of instructions on how to care for your tattoo while it’s healing.

Henna Tattooing

Are you thinking of getting inked, but not sure you’re ready for the commitment? Consider a henna tattoo. It’s the best way to avoid permanent ink with out looking like you whimped out.

The tall shrub like henna plant grows in dry, arid climates. Much of the world’s henna supply comes from Egypt, Sudan and India, but it’s cultivated in some
African and Middle Eastern countries as well. In Pakistan, the plant tends to be known as “Mendhi.” The plant is ground into powder and made into a paste that will temporarily stain the skin.

Leaves are harvested from the plant just as the pink and cream-colored buds start to bloom. The flowers are can be used for perfume, and the leaves are hung to dry. It’s important to keep them out of direct light. Allowing them to air dry in semidarkness will preserve their skin-staining qualities.

The paste consists of the powder and a substance usually referred to as a “developer.” Hot water is by far the most common developer. Some henna artists swear by additives such as lemon juice, various kinds of tea and certain essential oils. Henna will start staining the skin upon the initial contact, as well as any soft surface it comes in contact with, so it’s important to protect the work area and make sure the paste goes exactly where you mean for it to.

The paste should set on the skin for about two hours after design is fully applied. Carefully brush the dried paste off of the skin without rubbing. The design should be an orange color. Don’t panic. The color is not finished developing. It should keep evolving for the next 12 to 48 hours depending on skin type.

It’s of utmost importance that the new tattoo doesn’t get wet in the first 12 hours. The water will automatically stop the color development. Aftercare of the fresh henna tattoo is very similar to that of a regular under skin ink tattoo. Avoid soaking in the bath, and use only mild soap. Be careful to keep it clean and make sure to pat the area dry rather than rubbing.

The art of henna application is typically practiced by females, or at least there is very little documentation that proves otherwise. Henna tattoos are traditionally applied to the hands, including the fingernails, and the feet for ceremonies and celebrations such as weddings and festivals, especially religious ceremonies.

The earliest documented use of henna as body art dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Mummies uncovered in archeological digs have revealed signs of henna use, not only on the hands and feet, but as a hair dye and possibly even a conditioner. There is evidence that pharaohs were often hennaed and that specifically hennaed hands may have been perceived as a status symbol among the ancients, signifying prosperity. In other parts of the world where henna application is popular, it’s used without respect to social or economic boundaries. Peasants are just as likely to be tattooed as royals.

Henna crosses many diverse cultural boundaries, but application techniques have stayed pretty much the same. The artwork may vary depending on the formality of the event. Tattoos worn for every-day decoration won’t be as ordinate as those for special occasions. The popularity of various designs changes from one geographical region to the next.

For example, the dominant style in Arabia is large, flowery design covering the palm, in addition to the back of the hand. This design tends to leave more unadorned skin showing than some alternative styles. Fine-lined, intricate paisley patterns are popular in northern India. These designs usually only cover the palm and leave very little skin uncovered.

Henna is a permanent dye. It only fades because of the natural regeneration of the skin. The typically tattoo lasts about 10 to 15 days. The fading process is affected by the tattoos placement on the skin and the lifestyle of its wearer.

Social Acceptance of Tattoos

Would you sit for hours and let someone stab you repeatedly? There are those who crave such treatment. Since its beginnings, civilization has possessed habits that were seen as barbaric and low-rent. Being tattooed has, in the history of the U.S., been seen as something that only the dregs and roughnecks of society would do. Yet in this, the technological, age tattoos have become a more accepted and mainstream part of society.

Some of those who are being tattooed today do so to be trendy. The most popular or–as many would put it–the most cliché, tattoos are tribal or Celtic designs, barbed wire, and skulls for males, and, for females, flowers, fairies, hearts, and butterflies. Still others are tattooed because they see their art as an extension of themselves and wish to be a canvas for their artist.

According to Tattoo Facts and Statistics online (, in 1936 Life magazine estimated about 6 percent of the U.S. population had at least one tattoo. The same article states that in April 2000, the National Geographic News reported that approximately 40 million U.S. citizens had been inked.

If you break it down by age groups, a 2003 Harris poll tells us that young adults aged 25-29 possess the highest percentage of tattooed individuals–a stunning 36 percent! Over the past few years, both the age range and the number of those being tattooed have steadily increased.

Tattoos are gotten for many reasons. In biker culture, one might get a tattoo to symbolize their affiliation with their biker crew, just as a gang member would have his gang’s symbols etched into his skin to show his loyalty.

For many, a tattoo is a passing fad, a craze, and is something they will later regret. These are most often the people who go with a group of friends to get tattooed because it’s “cool,” or perhaps some are those who would, in the thralls of a passionate affair, get a lover’s name inked into their flesh. These people are most commonly the ones who will seek out means of tattoo removal later on in life, ashamed of what they consider a momentary lapse of judgment.

And yet for others, a tattoo is a distinct and desired part of life–an expression of their personal beliefs and a work of art. Not long ago, tattoos were unacceptable in high society and were seen as the rude and brutal etchings of roughnecks and those who were of a lower standard. Throughout the 1960s, the rebellious, anti-social mind-set of the day helped to mainstream tattooing as more and more flower children were inked in defiance of what was “proper.” By the 1970s, rock and rollers began to proudly display their tats, and by the 1980s, many celebrities, from rock star to model to sports star to actress, boasted of their ink.

A History Channel program reveals that the earliest sample of tattooed skin which has been discovered dates back to 12th-Dynasty Egypt (1938 B.C.), but that there is evidence to show that, in Pre-Dynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt, tattooing might have been practiced as early as 4500 B.C.

Today’s age has been described as the age of the Renaissance for tattoos. An article by U.S. News and World Report states that ten years ago, tattoo parlors were opening at a rate of one per day in the U.S. Tattoo artists now advertise page after page of “Flash” art on their walls, ready-made tattoos for the customers who want ink, but don’t know what design they want.

In the past decade, newer, stricter regulations have been put into place to protect both the client and the artist. Cleanliness and equipment guidelines have allowed tattooing to become a safer form of rebellion for teens looking to shock their parents or to find a way to express themselves.

But for some, tattoos will always be taboo. In this day and age, there is still discrimination against those people who choose to be inked. Often, one will cover his art for a job interview, fearful that any potential employer will judge the person not by his resume, but by the ink in his skin. It is the same for the females who allow their skin to become a canvas. While those with the understanding see tattoos as unique and beautiful expressions of one’s personality and another’s skill, others see them merely as blemishes or stains on an otherwise unmarred surface. Ultimately, it is an individual’s choice whether or not a tattoo is a beautiful addition to one’s person or a beastly mistake to be erased.

Kinds of Tattoo Ink

The tattoo culture often refers to the process as “getting work done” or “getting inked.” The truth is, the solutions used to color the skin is not ink at all, but pigments suspended in a carrier solution, in most cases, water. The function of the carrier solution is to clean the pigments, and keep them well mixed and smooth so that the application is easier and more comfortable. Sometimes the carrier is a mixture of a couple of things. Other commonly used, and probably the safest carriers are Listerine, witch hazel, ethyl alcohol, propylene glycol and glycerin.

It pays to ask what kind of carrier the tattooist is using. You wouldn’t believe the things some unscrupulous scratchers would but into your skin. Here are some you should be aware of:

• Denatured alcohols – These can burn the skin, and are toxic, even if you don’t show any initial reaction.

• Rubbing alcohol – toxic, toxic, toxic!

• Ethylene glycol – antifreeze falls into this category

• Various detergents

There is a common belief that the pigments used are vegetable dye. While that’s probable true some of the time. Metal salts are more commonly used, and sometimes even plastics. The earliest known pigments were pure, ground up pigments. As stated above, the ones used today come from several different substances, namely plastics and metals. Plastic-based colors produce the most vivid colors, but more people report reactions to in than the other “inks.”

Black light tattoos are a recent fad. The tattoo appears to be very faint or totally invisible in regular light, but shows up under a black light. The craze has really caught on, with black lit clubs and bars. However, the ink that makes it all possible is new and unproven, and may be something to be wary of. Some it could be toxic or even radioactive.

Alcohol is good for sterilization, but there are a lot of other risks involved. It makes the skin more permeable so more chemicals are allowed into the bloodstream than would be normally. It also causes more bleeding and the ink may not stay in the skin as well as it should, leading to a spotty tattoo. It’s also a “promoter,” binding with pollutants and carcinogens to make them even more harm than they would alone. That means, if the pigments aren’t absolutely pure the alcohol could bind with and impurity that may pass through your system on its own and wreak havoc on your body.

Tattoo artists have a choice to either mix their own inks or to buy them premixed. Purchasing them from a well established and reputable supplier is usually pretty safe. They aren’t going to intentionally risk their business and their future profits by selling something that could bring legal action against them. However, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate such things, so they aren’t obligated to supply a list of ingredients. You’re more likely to find out exactly what’s in the ink if it’s mixed on the spot by your artist, but it is up to him if he fills you in or not. That’s right; they don’t have to tell you anything. Such things are protected as trade secrets.

If you have had allergic reactions to certain metals before, say to the nickel in a pair of earrings or faux gold jewelry; mention it to the artist before you actually go in for the ink. He should know if you might have a reaction to the ink. He might even be able to mix the ink in a different way that is less likely to aggravate your allergies.

Where to Find Flash

Those giant posters of possible body art options covering the walls of your local tattoo parlor are collectively referred to as “flash.” The term started out as carnival jargon, where tattooist used to peddle their trade. It originally referred to fancy, expensive looking prizes at the game booths, which were often rigged and impossible to actually win. The word evolved to refer to the flashy show signs. The classic tattoo font descended from the lettering on carnival signs.

The flash you see on the wall of most tattoo shops tends to be pretty generic, and if your tattooist can get it, so can every other shop in town, and probably beyond. It’s a good place to generate some ideas, but don’t think you’re going to get anything truly original right off the wall.

The way flash usually works is: Your tattooist buys it from a dealer, probably the same place he gets the rest of his supplies. The purchase also gives the shop the rights to reproduce the design on a stencil, so you won’t be wearing around a permanent copyright infringement. There are flash vendors all over the place.

Thanks to the internet, you have access to pretty much all of them. The copyright issue works pretty much the same way. You find a design you want, pay for it, and that gives you the right to have a stencil made and a tattoo applied. Different venders have different rules about reusing a design. The laws are really hard to enforce, but if you and a few friends want to get matching tats, you better read the fine print first just in case. Here are some sites to check out before you head to the chair:

1. – This is one of the most user friendly sites out there. You can search their collection by keyword, color (or lack or), size, artist. They have tons of choices. Just to give you an idea, there are more than 1,500 responses to the keyword search for “butterfly,” and more than 700 for “cross.” That’s barely getting started. Flash sets are sold in sheets, and grouped generally by artist or subject matter. Prices for sets range from about $100 to more than $300 bucks. Not all sets are exactly the same size though. Prices for individual stencils stay pretty close to the $10 range.

2. has tons of cool tattoo related links. Featuring work by a handful or artists, they sell flash by the sheet or by the set at greatly varying prices. There’s probably something in every price range. They don’t offer individual designs, but they have links to plenty of site that offer free ones.

3. – This one offers a catalog, but you have to register for it. They don’t have individual designs. There’s not a huge collection to view on the site, but what they show has a decent variety, and the display is pretty neat. The sets of five or six pages range from $5o to around $180.

4. – The name is kind of cheesy. They have more than 1,000 thumbnails for you to view, but you look at full sized pictures or even prices without a paid subscription.

5. – is a little tricky to navigate at first, but once you get off the main page, it gets a lot better. They cater to the individual and print and ship your design usually with in 24 hours. The variety is worth checking out, and prices hover around $15.

Getting permanent body art is a huge decision. It pays to look at as many ideas as possible, though the design you actually go with may not end up being inspired by a picture at all. Don’t go cheap just because you’re low in cash. If you can’t afford exactly what you want, just don’t get inked. You’ll feel stupid later if you do. Remember, the only way to get something no one else has is to go custom.

Tattoo and Copyright Laws

Creativity is an extremely personal thing. All true artists are protective of their work. It’s a part of them, an extension of their soul. Tattooists are no exception. Copyright laws are intended to protect artists and inventors from having their ideas stolen, their profits suffer and their art abused. However, the idea of copyrighting tattoo designs is not something tattooists are ready to jump on board for. No one is ever anxious to bring lawyers into the mix, and it’s very questionable whether or not copyrighting would even effectively protect custom work.

Even flash, the sheets of tattoo designs that paper the walls of just about every tattoo shop on the planet started its existence as someone’s original work. Tattooists buy the sheets from a dealer, probably the same supplier they get the rest of their stuff from. When that deal goes down, it’s not art in the sense of wall décor they are paying for; they could go to any discount store for that. It’s the right to reproduce the design to a stencil and tattoo it on to a customer. The legal principal behind flash is the same as selling a book that you brought at a bookstore. You paid for the right to own that copy of the book and you have the right to sell it.

Theoretically, custom work is an original design intended for only for one person. The vast majority of the time, all custom designs start out as drawings on actual paper before being applied to someone’s skin. So for the purposes of copyright law, the tattoo itself is actually a reproduction. Since it’s typically the same artist who both draws and applies the tattoo it’s not that big of a deal.

The law is not super clear on what constitutes an infringement of copyright when it comes to tattoo reproduction. It’s impossible to make any body art the exact same way twice. Bodies are shaped differently, ink takes to differently to various skin types, the colored pigments with mix up a little bit differently each time, etc. So in that sense, tattoos can’t be replicated. Even if another tattooist copies your original work, it’s still just that, a copy. That’s like a professional band covering another’s song. It’s just their version of it.

On the other hand, the law used the following phrase: “substantially similar.” That means the reproduction in question doesn’t have to be exactly perfect, it just has to be similar. Under that logic, the design can be colored entirely differently, and embellished upon, but still be considered “substantially” the same enough to
support a law suit. To the layman, it sounds like the viability of such a suit depends on who is interpreting what constitutes as substantial.

Under copyright law, a work can technically be very much the same as another and still be considered original. For example, innumerable musicians have recorded Beatles songs over the years, and even though it’s been done so many times, one version of “All You Need is Love” is legally just as good as another (no accounting for taste, of course).

So, to the average person it seems that copyright laws would be much more user friendly for tattooists, and the rest of the creative community for that matter, if it were the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that mattered. For the most part, the tattoo industry regulates itself and seems to try and keep it that way by not raising much of a fuss. Law suits involving tattoos are not terribly common and professions who make up the industry don’t seem to be bothered enough by others appreciating their work to start filling up the court system. It may be in part because they think doing so would be just like inviting the government in to regulate them.

Men and Women Tattoo Design Ideas

Do you find it hard to decipher which design is best for you? That is why it is highly advisable for one to ponder on the idea over and over again as well as to go over a collection of designs before finally deciding on anything. More so, the tattoo artists are also fond of presenting you with other choices.

Take note that you are the one who is having it inked on your skin and therefore, it is your own call. Hence, it follows that you look for your prospect tattoo design ideas, trim down your list, and then finalize your decision.

Men vs. Women’s Ideas

It is but natural for the men to have a different choice over the women. Most of the men are likely to prefer the designs that spell masculinity whereas the women are more into the pretty and dainty concepts. After all, the choice of a tattoo design comes with the sense of expression.

As it goes, many men profess their undying love for their girlfriends or wives by employing a tattoo with their names on the heart designs. Some of them even extend their efforts of coming up with personalized and creative designs.

Many people agree at one point and that is to refrain from having these tattoo designs inked on their skin as there is a large possibility for the relationship to go on the rocks and then end up for nothing. A tattoo can only be removed by undergoing a surgical procedure, so to speak.

For the women, the most common choices include the tiny and interesting feminine designs of hearts, flowers, and butterflies, to name a few. They also love having them on their hips, leg, shoulder, lower back, and ankle. They are also easier to hide.

So much more, the tattoo is something that can be very personal. It is oftentimes thought of as a reflection of the person’s personality and also a way of showing off something that is very dear to him or her.

It is necessary to take note that there is nothing such as a universal tattoo for men or for women. It all depends on the understanding, choice, and preference of the individual. What matters most is that you should take time to browse through the catalogue either online or that which is owned by the tattoo artist so that you may understand which one will best suit you.

Suggestions for Tattoo Designs

Your preference highly depends on your gender plus your style. Making up your mind may be difficult but all that you should do is to look at several prospects and finally pick out one.

For the women, the most popular choice is the butterfly design. The cross and fairy tattoos are typically used as the symbols of a person’s faith. They can also be used as dainty, attractive, discreet, and sensual signs of the body. Other common selections are the flowers and rose tattoo designs.

For the men, the tribal tattoos rank as the number one choice. They mainly spell the masculinity of a person. Other popular preferences include the sleeve designs, the dragon tattoos, the lion, Celtic, eagle, and those designs that spread over the shoulder blades.

Going over the tattoo design ideas is not that hard especially if you have a clear idea in mind.

Trendy Tattoo Ideas for You

There is the misconception that a tattoo is only a thing for someone who has spent his days in the prison cell. True enough, it had also been utilized in the past to mark a person who has done something wrong like a crime or a violation. However, this must not always be the case.

In the olden days, it had always been regarded as a body ornament that served whether as a symbol of seniority, ranking, right, religion, devotion, an award for someone’s bravery, talismans, as an amulet, or as a symbol of security.

In fact up to these days, some religious sects still require their believers to acquire that certain type of marking. On the other hand, such is also being practiced by the members of a gang. So this just clearly shows that the variety of tattoo ideas is applied for different purposes.

Some Ideas to Pique Your Interest

Are you fairly interested in having your own tattoo? Do you want to be a part of the trend? Are you cramming to find a cool idea? To spice up your quest, you may consider different styles that range from the historical up to the modern and newer ideas. Here are some suggestions for you to consider.

The sailor tattoos. They have never been forgotten all throughout the years. Although they may be a bit common to possess yet they bear a strong sense of symbolism. The nautical star is one of the best designs ever that is classically believed to bring forth guidance and strength.

The dragon tattoos. Again, they are one of the most ordinarily used emblems. The striking and bold dragon tattoos stand for strength and power. Their styles range from the classic ones up to the modern choices. For the women, the dragon design produces a sexy appeal while never setting aside the embodiment of the strong female strength and other related dominating qualities.

The modern designs. Indeed, a number of unique and new designs have come about. Included are the butterfly, flowers, and other personalized crafts. In fact if you are creative enough, you may come up with your own design and hand it over to the artist who is assigned to do the job on you.

The Best Source of Ideas

The first source for tattoo designs is your own creative inclination. Think about a cartoon character or a certain concept. With your creative juices pouring out, you may generate a sweet, sexy, strong, or tough impression depending on the design that you decide to get tattooed on your skin.

The next source is the tattoo library. You will find a lot of online websites that store as much as 10,000 and above designs from the classic up to the contemporary. Some of the websites allow free access whereas some others ask for a small fee.

Of course, you may browse through the tattoo artists’ catalogues too. If you are lucky enough, you may spot their personal creations.

There are lots of tattoo ideas to choose from. You may opt for something romantic, something that is tough, or something that simply defines your hidden side. Your decision greatly depends on the image that you want to project. Hence, you must be wise enough to pick out the right design and scout for the best resources that come available.

Aging Tattoos

Although there have been many technological advances in tattooing, tattoos will always age as the skin ages. Genetics, environment and lifestyle combine to determine both the skin’s long term health and the appearance of a tattoo. Even with fastidious care, aging skin tissue loses moisture and elasticity. A tattoo on dry skin with diminished elasticity will fade and its contours will soften.

The more fine detail work in the tattoo’s design, the more it will change when the skin ages. Faded and softened tattoos do not show detail or shading as well, and the smaller the tattoo the more pronounced the effect. For that reason, large tattoos tend to age more gracefully than smaller, intricate designs. Bolder and larger pieces hold up to changes over the years. Trendy, bold tribal tattoos will change very little over time, whereas small, elaborate designs with fine line shading are likely to change dramatically. Just as prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause dramatic, irreversible and sometimes deadly skin damage, they also accelerate damage to body art. Sun exposure speeds up line or color decay. Black ink is particularly sensitive to sun exposure. Some black inks fade to gray with extended sun exposure, while others take on a bluish tinge. Occasionally, whites and light yellows disappear if the skin is badly sunburned. One of the key threats to an aging tattoo design does not alter the tattoo itself but is a very real consequence of a simple fact of life – weight fluctuations. The speed of weight gain or weight loss, skin moisture and tattoo placement all influence how well a tattoo withstands weight gain. The more slowly the weight fluctuates, the more skin retains its elasticity. Moisture also helps skin to retain its elasticity.

The way a tattoo reacts to weight gain varies widely from person to person, because it depends on where the person carries his or her weight. Areas where the skin remains more taut or areas that have more muscle will hold the design better than sagging or fatty areas. Although most tattoos will change shape when the skin is stretched or contracted, torso tattoos are arguably the most susceptible to irreparable damage after weight gain. A tattoo artist’s skill and equipment can change a tattoo’s long term durability. A well trained tattoo artist can bring considerable craftsmanship to the boldest and simplest tattoos. There is a wide variety in the resilience of tattoo inks as well. Tattoo inks consist of simple carbon particles. The carbon base usually comes from burnt wood, cotton, vegetables, India or pen ink and plastic. Professional artists have access to more than 100 different colors.

Ink manufacturers are not required to list the composition of their products, so tattoo artists may not know the base of their chosen ink. Nevertheless, plastic based inks are heavily marketed for their relative colorfastness and permanence. Unfortunately, plastic based inks are also more likely to cause allergic reactions.

Though there was no documented study available at the writing of this article, it makes since that the technological advances in skin care could be beneficial to prolonging the life of your tattoo. The age-fighting trend is enormously popular in the cosmetic industry these days. Virtually every major brand is getting in on it. There are all kinds of products claiming to lift, firm and unwrinkled the skin. Some of them even claim to slow down, stop or even reverse the aging process. Most of them really do work to some degree. If it makes the skin on your face look better, why wouldn’t it make your tattoo look better as well?