Perhaps one of the most common objections people face when they're considering getting a tattoo is that they're unsure of how it will look 10, 20 or even 50 years down the road. After all, tattoos are, at least ostensibly, permanent – and that means that people should be taking into considerations things like how their skin will change in the future, right?
Any form of art is subject to some type of deterioration or other over time – paints fade and canvasses thin, audio CDs can lose their data integrity and book pages can tear and wither. Tattoos of course are no exception. Just like any other ink-based medium, the canvas – in this case, your skin – is subject to changing conditions that can affect how the art appears after years or decades. While each person is different and it may be impossible to determine exactly how a tattoo on a given body part will look decades down the road, in general, here are some things to keep in the back of your mind when making that tattoo appointment to keep today's hot new design from becoming tomorrow's bad tattoos.
For those who want a bit of extra insurance when it comes to deciding whether and where to get tattooed due to potential changes years down the road, it can be beneficial to do a bit of research into which body parts have a better track record for holding their shape as people age, indicating a smaller chance that the tattoo will distort due to stretching skin. Beauty blog XOVain pointed out four of the best spots to consider for long-term tattoo integrity. According to the source, the inner forearms, upper outer area of the chest, back of the neck and lower back are all prime locations for more-or-less age-proof tattoos, as these areas are less likely to stretch than other parts of the body. Additionally, all of these areas – with the exception of the forearms – tend to be covered by clothing, which means they see less damage from sun.
Know what you can control
Despite the best efforts of science, we still haven't created a reliable method to slow or halt the aging process. However, there are other things that can affect how your ink ages with you, and many of these factors are much more controllable than the simple passage of time. According to TattooDo, one of the most significant factors affecting how a tattoo ages is exposure to sunlight. You've doubtlessly heard your dermatologist recommending that you stay out of direct sun for your skin health, and for good reason. Too much UV radiation like that found in sunlight can wrinkle skin, and age it prematurely. What's more, sunlight can affect the ink in your tattoo directly, causing it to fade and discolor.
Aging is inevitable
At the end of the day, there's only so much that can be done to slow the aging process of your skin and your tattoo. This leads to TattooDo's principal tip for aging with tattoos – accepting that as you get older, so will your tattoo. Tattoos may be permanent, but that doesn't mean that they're going to keep looking as shiny, sharp and new as the day you get them. Just like the rest of our bodies, our tattoos change as we get older – but think of it as building character rather than getting worse. When you look at your tattoo years later and notice that lines are blurring and colors are fading, that's just the mark of a well-worn piece of body art.
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