Did you know that your tattoos have natural enemies as well? These mostly permanent embellishments may be tucked safely away under your outer layers of skin, but that doesn't mean they are immune from all damage. Anything from injury to the environment to poor maintenance can pose a threat to your tatt and can result in a wide range of negative effects from scarring to fading. they leave the shop so they know what steps to take to prevent any harm. After all, you may have gotten your tattoo because you wanted to feel bad, but that doesn't mean you have to live with a bad tattoo.
The dangers of going tiny
Forget the maxim that size doesn't matter, because when it comes to your tattoo, that's not necessarily true. That doesn't mean that you have to commit to a full sleeve or back piece, but there are concerns that should be considered if you're planning on keeping things small.
As Boston-based tattooist Chris DeBarge told Rocker Zine, tiny tatts are prone to disfigurement pretty quickly. Tattoo ink that sits in your skin is constantly being bumped and jostled by your white blood cells attempting to clean you up like your parents before Sunday School. With larger tattoos, the ink spots are so large that your poor immune system can't budge them, but with tattoos that are too small – around 1/8 inch, DeBarge mentioned – the ink will move around much more quickly. What you're left with is a blurry, smudgy mess that doesn't resemble your original concept at all, and a bad case of tattoo regret.
Tattoos' natural predators
Your tattoo lives in your skin and thus is at the mercy of any conditions that affect your skin's texture or elasticity. Most of the time, these are natural processes that we simply can't do anything about. One major example is aging: As you get older, your skin loses its elasticity and becomes less flexible and resilient. For those with tattoos from their younger years, the looser skin of age can distort and blur tattoos as a result of wrinkling. Seniors looking to rebrand themselves in their silver years should keep in mind that their skin is less likely to take kindly to complicated or ultra-fine lines in their tattoos. DeBarge recommended that people over 40 keep their designs simple and bold for the best results.
Many of us have another natural condition to keep in mind: pregnancy. There is a finite amount of ink making up your design, and as your skin stretches due to pregnancy, the ink is similarly stretched across a much larger surface area. This isn't a guarantee that a pregnancy will distort an abdominal tattoo, but it's certainly a risk factor that expectant mothers should consider.
While the practice of tattooing is perfectly safe, the fact is that it's still a type of damage being done to your skin. Every time the needle pierces your epidermis, it sends your skin into panic mode, activating its immune response. This means that there's a shelf life on the number of times you can touch up your tatt.
Nobody likes to live with a faded design on their body, but your skin can only take so much. Every time you go under the needle to juice up your color or sharpen your lines, your skin becomes a bit more damaged, and after a while, it can become scarred, unable to hold any ink at all, Touch ups are a common service offered by most artists, and newer tattoos can definitely get a facelift every now and then when needed, but after a point, you're going to have to learn to love your faded ink.
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