Should I Get a Tattoo?

United States
September 29, 2006 2:08pm CST
TATTOOS are everywhere—or so it seems. Rock stars, sports figures, fashion models, and movie stars flaunt them. Many teenagers have followed suit, proudly displaying tattoos on their shoulders, hands, waists, and ankles. Andrew contends: "Tattoos are cool. Having one or not is a personal choice." Says the World Book Encyclopedia: "Tattooing is the practice of making permanent designs on the body. It is done by pricking small holes in the skin with a sharpened stick, bone, or needle that has been dipped in pigments with natural colors." Although exact statistics are hard to come by, one source estimates that 25 percent of all 15- to 25-year-olds in the United States have a tattoo. Sandy says: "It's the popular thing to do." Why are tattoos so appealing to some youths? Why So Popular? Tattoos are often associated with rebellious life-styles For some, a tattoo is a way of making a grand romantic gesture. Michelle relates: "On his ankle my brother has the name of a girl he used to go out with." The problem? "He's not dating her anymore." According to Teen magazine, "doctors estimate that more than 30 percent of all tattoo removal is done on teen girls who want the name of an ex-boyfriend taken off." Some youths view tattoos as works of art. Others see them as symbols of independence. "I'm in charge of my life," proclaimed Josie, adding that getting a tattoo was "the only life decision I've ever made." Tattooing allows some youths to experiment—to feel they have control over their appearance. Tattoos can also serve as a symbol of rebellion or of alternative life-styles. Some tattoos thus contain obscene words and drawings or provocative slogans. The majority of youths, however, may simply have become caught up in a fad. But just because it seems as if everyone is getting tattooed, does it mean that you should? The Ancient Art of TattooingTattooing is by no means a modern practice. Tattoo-bearing Egyptian and Libyan mummies have been found that date back hundreds of years before the time of Christ. Tattooed mummies have also been found in South America. Many of the tattooed images were directly related to the worship of pagan gods. According to researcher Steve Gilbert, "the earliest known tattoo that is a picture of something, rather than an abstract pattern, represents the god Bes. In Egyptian mythology Bes is the lascivious god of revelry." Significantly, the Mosaic Law forbade God's people to tattoo themselves. Said Leviticus 19:28: "You must not make cuts in your flesh for a deceased soul, and you must not put tattoo marking upon yourselves. I am Jehovah." Pagan worshipers, such as the Egyptians, tattooed the names or symbols of their deities on their breast or arms. By complying with Jehovah's ban on tattoo markings, the Israelites would stand out as different from other nations.—Deuteronomy 14:1, 2. While Christians today are not under the Law of Moses, the prohibition it laid on tattooing is sobering. (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14, 15) If you are a Christian, you would certainly not want to make markings on your body—even temporarily—that smack of paganism or false worship.—2 Corinthians 6:15-18. Health Risks Think before you ink There are also health concerns you should consider. Dr. Robert Tomsick, an associate professor of dermatology, comments: "What you're doing is breaking the skin and introducing pigmented material into the area. Even though the needle only goes in a little way, anytime you break the skin, you have a risk of bacterial or viral infection. I think [getting a tattoo] is generally a risky thing to do." Dr. Tomsick continues: "Once pigment is in, even if there's no infection, there's always the chance of contact allergies, dermatitis and allergic reactions that can cause skin to get red, swollen, crusty and itchy." Despite the intended permanence of tattoos, various methods are used in attempts to remove them: Laser removal (burning the tattoo away), surgical removal (cutting the tattoo away), dermabrasion (sanding the skin with a wire brush to remove the epidermis and dermis), salabrasion (using a salt solution to soak the tattooed skin), and scarification (removing the tattoo with an acid solution and creating a scar in its place). These methods are expensive and can be painful. "It's more painful to have a tattoo removed by laser than to get the original tattoo," says Teen magazine. What Will Others Think?You should also give serious thought to how others might feel about your wearing a tattoo, as many react negatively. (1 Corinthians 10:29-33) On a whim, Li, a woman in Taiwan, got a tattoo at age 16. Now she is a 21-year-old office worker. "It bothers me the way my co-workers stare at the tattoo," Li admits. British mental-health worker Theodore Dalrymple says that to many people, tattoos "are often the visible sign that a man . . . belongs to a violent, brutal, antisocial, and criminalized subculture." An article in American Demographics magazine similarly observed: "It is clear that most Americans consider it risky to have visible body art. Eighty-five percent [of youths] agree with the statement, 'people who have visible tattoos . . . should realize that this form of self-expression is likely to create obstacles in their career or personal relationships.'" Consider also whether choosing to get a tattoo would enhance or undermine your claim of being a Christian. Could it be a "cause for stumbling" others? (2 Corinthians 6:3) True, some youths have had their tattoos placed on hidden areas of the body. Even their parents may not know about these secret tattoos. But beware! An emergency trip to the doctor or simply taking a shower at school could make your secret common knowledge! Better it is to "conduct ourselves honestly in all things," avoiding foolish deception.—Hebrews 13:18. Like all fads, tattoos may lose their appeal over time. Really, is there any garment—whether a pair of jeans, a shirt, a dress, or a pair of shoes—that you love so much that you would commit to wearing it for the rest of your life? Of course not! Styles, cuts, and colors change. Unlike a piece of clothing, however, tattoos are hard to shed. Besides, what is "cool" to you when you are 16 might not be very appealing when you are 30. Many have come to regret making permanent alterations to their appearance. "I got a tattoo before learning about Jehovah," relates Amy. "I try to keep it covered. When others in the congregation happen to see it, I feel embarrassed." The message? Think before you ink. Don't make a decision that you may regret later.
1 person likes this
25 responses
@hppygrrrl (419)
• United States
3 Oct 06
I highly recommend getting a tattoo! But for the right reason of course, not because 'everybody's doing it' kinda thing. You should spend a lot of time thinking about what you want & hopefully it has meaning:) Have fun!
@HerShe (2386)
• Canada
8 Oct 06
Just go with the flow, roz. Let your mind spill onto the pages. 'high level processing'....Oh, the art of language arts. Happy traveling...
@kaspyv (1011)
• United States
27 Nov 06
getting a tattoo should be a well thought out thing...never get one just because everyone else does...in most places it isn't legal for anyone under 18 to get a tattoo, although it does happen. there is no right or wrong answer here its personal preference...just be sure of what you are putting on your body..it won't wash off! as for regretting the tatts later in life...some people do but I think more don't. I got my first one 22 years ago and the last one I got was last week. I don't regret any of them!
• India
7 Oct 06
Think before you ink There are also health concerns you should consider. Dr. Robert Tomsick, an associate professor of dermatology, comments: "What you're doing is breaking the skin and introducing pigmented material into the area. Even though the needle only goes in a little way, anytime you break the skin, you have a risk of bacterial or viral infection. I think[getting a tattoo] is generally a risky thing to do." Dr. Tomsick continues: "Once pigment is in, even if there's no infection, there's always the chance of contact allergies, dermatitis and allergic reactions that can cause skin to get red, swollen, crusty and itchy."
@lisan22 (191)
• United States
7 Oct 06
FYI - getting your ears pierced is risky too. A lot of things you do to your body are risky. However, if you get your tattoo from a licensed artist and follow the directions on how to clean it and keep it clean - you probably won't get an infection. And anytime you get a tattoo is causes your skin to get a little swollen, red and itchy. It's like a sunburn for a couple days. You just continue to take care of it like you are supposed to and you'll be fine. Just like any piercing you get (even your ears)- it might hurt for a little bit, but not long.
@jiggin (39)
• United States
4 Oct 06
nice copy and paste fomr another website just to get paid for it! anyway... skip getting the tattoo. When you get older you will be glad you didn't do something that will look stupid as your body ages. besides, you may end up getting one someplace that your future career will interfere with. Examples would be getting a tattoo on your arm and now you have to wear long sleeve shirts to your corprate job to cover it up. Some jobs do not allow for tattoos to show in the work envirnment, so keep that in mind as well.
@lisan22 (191)
• United States
7 Oct 06
Ok, I HAVE a tattoo, and I was smart enough to get it in a place that is easily covered for any job. In fact, the only time it's not covered is when I go swimming. (It's on my back.) And people who are covered in tattoo's do not want corporate jobs - hence why they can have that many tattoo's. Some of them do have the "mental abilities" to have a corporate job - just they're tattoo's are a sign of rebellion and they do not want a regular 9-5 job. People covered in tattoo's are just like normal people - some are smart and some aren't.
@lisan22 (191)
• United States
4 Oct 06
First, tastefully done tattoo's are beautiful. Getting a tattoo is personal choice. After reading this article, the health risks outlined are a little skewed. First, if you take care of the tattoo properly after getting it you should be fine. It will feel like a sun burn for a couple days, but that goes away. Second, always get your tattoo from a clean and licensed artist. NEVER get it from a friend or someone who does it out of their home. I have a tattoo. I got it when I was 20. I spent a lot of time with the artist desinging it and making sure it was exactly what I wanted. Now 3 years down the road I still love my tattoo. It's done in a spot that can be covered easily for work and I can choose who I share it with. I did not do it to be popular or to meet someone else's standards. I did it because it was something that appealed to me. It was not painful. I have a reasonable sized tattoo that took several hours and I can honestly say that it rarely hurt while getting it. However, to judge those who decide to get a tattoo is immature and childish. So congratulations to those who have made unkind remarks about those who have tattoo's, you've earned yourself the "I'm not the brightest star in the sky" award.
• United States
4 Oct 06
Hi! Having been in the USNavy, I saw many people, men and women, with loads of tattoos, and vowed I would never design my body with them! I even had one boyfriend for a while, who had "stories" of tattoos all over his arms, yet he was like a big, gentle teddy bear. Being a Licensed Massage Therapist, I've also seen many tattoos on clients, and most of the time would not ask for details, since it was/is a personal choice. Some would be very pretty, colorful, and unique. Being a Christian, also, I don't think I would add any type of design on my fair skin. The only thing I would even consider at all would be a small picture of my two cats. Although lengthy, that original question/posting was quite interesting and educating. Thanks, and take care! K
@bblessed (1822)
• United States
3 Oct 06
no
• India
13 Oct 06
no you should not put tattoos onyour skin it spoils ur skin and please never try to imitate anybody be what u really are
• United States
27 Nov 06
I don't have one yet, but I want to get one...
@ralpek413 (773)
• United States
8 Oct 06
tattoo's stretch and wrinkle and are forever. imagine being 90 with that tattoo.
@ralpek413 (773)
• United States
8 Oct 06
tattoo's stretch and wrinkle and are forever. imagine being 90 with that tattoo.
@LBS1178 (317)
• United States
8 Oct 06
Holy Cow thats a lot of research, but if you question it, the answer is no. I used to want a tattoo, and decided against it because I wasnt 100% sure I wanted one. And Im so glad I didnt get it because now that Im a little older, I would be hating it
@jmafofo (359)
• South Africa
8 Oct 06
2 wrongs don't make a right or is it 2 lefts don't make a right - I am not really sure but whatever it is, it means the fact that many people are doing something doesn't make it right. There are millions of murderers in the world but still murder is wrong. So to those who it they should remember that mutilating and vandalising your own body with too much graffitti isn't cool at all.
@Antianara (608)
• Australia
8 Oct 06
don't get one just because everyone else has one.
@zyfro2k6 (392)
• India
8 Oct 06
i very nice to have tatto and now a days use to have it.
• United States
8 Oct 06
Get a tat if you want to get one...No one's opinion counts but yours....No one can tell you to get a tattoo or not to.... I have 3...and they are addicting....if you do get one make sure it's not someone's name....you never know if someday you might need it removed!!!!
• India
7 Oct 06
it seriusly depend on yourself if you get yourself a tattoo.if you are tryin to get a tattoo because you think they will look cool then well and good. on the contrary if you like to get a tattoo to impress others then maybe you should consider it again.not all people think that a person with tattoo is cool or anything. and moreover i have heard that during sometimes in later stages you wish if the tattoo was not just there,a that time it really bugs you up.
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
7 Oct 06
I would get a tattoo if you really want one and you exactly what you want. Anyone who gets one because it is "cool" is an idiot. Never ever get a name of a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband tattooed on you because it is a pain to get rid of. Only get tattoos with extreme meaning, something just for "fun" you will regret.
• United States
7 Oct 06
Don't do it because others are doing it. And if you do get one get one that means something it will be on your body for the rest of your life.I have to and both mean alot to me.Never will regret them.
@Aali311 (6127)
• United States
7 Oct 06
If you really want to. I have two of them and now want to get rid of one.
@bblessed (1822)
• United States
7 Oct 06
no
@LaGitana (278)
• United States
7 Oct 06
Tatoos are a matter of preference. If I were younger, I might get one. I guess the only thing I'd think about would be not to get someone's name permanently etched on your body. Remember Angelina and Billy Bob?
@chalmette69 (3010)
• United States
3 Oct 06
Only if it is really what you want, don't do it because some one else is or because everyone has one. I have always wanted one, but I was always a little scared of the pain.