Dead set on getting inked? Only slightly curious? Here’s what you need to know before facing down the needle and getting that tattoo.
What is Tattooing?
Tattooing is defined by Health Canada as “the art of permanently depositing pigment into the skin to a depth of 1–2 mm to create a design.” An electric machine vibrates a cluster of needles hundreds of times per minute to puncture the skin and deposit the pigment. Does it hurt? Well, yes—at least a little.
Where did the idea come from?
Tattooing is said to have originated over 5000 years ago. The Maoris of New Zealand were the first to coin the term ta, which means to strike something, and tatau, which means to mark something. Each world culture has a history of tattooing for very diverse and specific reasons.
What are the health risks?
Tattooing is certainly an art form that can have beautiful results, but first and foremost it is a procedure involving needles, blood exposure and the injection of ink into your skin which—if handled incorrectly—could be seriously harmful.
The biggest risks are infection or disease due to unsterilized tools… Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, warts and herpes are just a few of the diseases reportedly transmitted by the tattooing process.
I regret my tattoo—now what?
Tattoo removal is a relatively new procedure which can be difficult, painful and can leave unsightly scarring—not a good back-up plan for getting a tattoo.
Laser treatment: lightens the colour of the tattoo. This procedure can also be costly and, depending on the tattoo, the discolouration can make it look worse.
Scarification: removes the tattoo with acid and leaves a scar in its place.
Surgical removal: the tattoo is literally cut out of the body.
Camouflage: tattooing over the existing tattoo either with a new design or with skin-toned ink.
Am I doing it for the right reasons?
One last thing you must consider is exactly why you want a tattoo. Some compelling reasons: to commemorate a special time or person in your life, or to express their patriotism, individuality or beliefs. Some dumb reasons: to impress a crush or piss off a parent.
At the end of the day, to tattoo or not to tattoo is the question that only you can answer. But be smart, think to the future and inform yourself. Will you always want your first love’s name on your wrist if they end up breaking your heart? Hmmm…perhaps not.
Rapper 50 Cent opted to get rid of his tattoos, in order to be considered for more film acting jobs
“Be sure of what you want,” says Robby of STEREOS, who have their share of tattoos and stories