Why Get a Tattoo? We've all seen tattoos of various designs, styles, sizes, shapes and colors. Aside from the fact that tattoos can be removed by lasers, surgery and other methods, they are quite permanent. Most people have very specific reasons for these lifelong marks and some even have stories behind each one. One simple reason for a typical tattoo is just for looks. The tattoo may be one that resembles one seen on a celebrity. It may also be a design that is simply pleasing to the eye. Perhaps the tattoo has bright colors or neat shapes that attract the eye. Aesthetics are one common reason for many tattoos. Another reason why one might get a tattoo is as a memorial. Friends and family who have passed away are often memorialized through tattoos. These memorials are also often created in the memory of a particular celebrity. These might be designed with flowers, crosses or other shapes and dates of birth and death. They might include special sayings that were important to the deceased. They may also involve complicated tattoos that are copied off an actual photograph. Children and relationships are a popular reason for getting a tattoo. Millions will have tattoos designed incorporating a child's, spouse's or partner's name. Typically these will be accompanied by other designs such as flowers, butterflies, shapes and even likenesses. Hearts, stars and script letters are often found on spouse or partner name tattoos. Many people will have tattoos designed to commemorate special events experienced during their lifetimes. Achievements, difficult times and other special events are often displayed as a lifetime reminder of an important time in one's life. Tattoos also represent spiritual status for many cultures. They can also be a symbol for social ranking. Some social groups are known for specific tattoos which would require a member to receive the same. Others are known for having tattoos in general, regardless of their designs. Expressing individuality and personality are often the most common reasons for getting a tattoo. If a person likes butterflies, they might get a single tattoo or multiple tattoos flaunting butterflies. If another enjoys a particular field in which they are employed, they might have tattoos representing what they do for a living. There are other ways to look at expressing individuality through tattoos, however. Many tattoos are designed to reflect heritage. Ancient symbols that are associated with the history of many cultures are often displayed on those who are of a particular culture's decent. For example, someone of Irish decent may choose a tattoo depicting the Claddaugh design while another of Egyptian decent might prefer one similar to ancient ancestors. On the other hand, many choose designs resembling certain cultures simply for aesthetics. Regardless of where you want to have your tattoo applied on the body or where you have the procedure done, it's important to comprehend why you really want the tattoo. Tattoos are permanent. Having a tattoo created for the right reasons, and reasons that are truly important to you will help increase the enjoyment of the design for years to come. Why Do People Get Tattoos? There are nearly as many reasons for getting a tattoo as there are people who have them. Each person has his or her own particular reason; it may be a common reason or it may be unique, but it is nonetheless individual. People who get a tattoo on impulse or a dare, while intoxicated, or to please someone else, are the ones who are usually less satisfied with the results. Even while holding it out as a spur-of-the-moment mistake, a person who acquires a tattoo under these circumstances are rarely happy with having it on a longterm basis. Unfortunately, these types of situations do comprise a fair percentage of the number of people who get tattoos-- and later regret it. Most people who get tattoos primarily as a means of rebellion are also dissatisfied in the long-run; as they grow out of feeling the need to rebel, they grow out of enjoying the symbols of it. For those who make an informed decision about getting a tattoo, whether they acknowledge it or not they are usually in either of two categories: those who are identifying with a group, or those who are identifying themselves as individuals. Both are using tattoos as a means of self-expression. On the extreme end of the spectrum are inmates who belong to such groups as "the Aryan Brotherhood." A tattoo shows both members and non-members alike what group the inmate belongs to. These tattoo designs are of various codes and other oddities which they assume people who are not likewise affiliated will not understand. Most inner-city gangs also have coded tattoo designs for the same reason. In these types of instances, tattoos serve a dual-purpose: they are a means of bonding a person to a particular group, and they are a means of separating oneself from those who are outside of that group. Some people get a tattoo simply because they want to have one. Other than not putting much careful thought into its longterm implications, nor being very selective about what particular design they want, this is not necessarily negative. For many, simply liking artwork on one's skin is reason enough to visit a local tattoo studio, hand over a relatively-large sum of money, and have something etched into one's skin that is intended to remain there for the rest of one's life. The most intricate design or the most plain one can be a matter of speaking to the entire world, or something which one chooses to keep solely to oneself. Others use this form of self-expression in a manner similar to what generations past used to do with t-shirts: to show the world what they wish to say. They choose wording, or designs which symbolize something that is meaningful to them. You can see everything from American flags and crosses to the names of who they love, and, occasionally, wording which pushes the limits of the First Amendment. In the past, people wore what they believed, stood for, and cared about on their shirts; these days tattoos often serve the same purpose. Many people use tattoos as memorials. Tattoos can be designed for remembrance of a deceased loved one, of course, but they can also be designed for the purpose of keeping in mind other places or situations which a person does not wish to forget. When there is someone or something that you wish to hold close to your heart, a tattoo can be a beautiful way of doing it. Photographs and other souvenirs are not permanent-- tattoos are. Why do people get tattoos? The reasons are as varied as there are individuals. Whether you yourself have a tattoo or not, if you know someone who does, it is important to realize that you do not know what that person's reasons are, unless he or she decides to tell you. Who Is Most Likely To Get Tattoos? While tattoos have been gaining a widespread appeal and acceptance during the last couple of decades, they are still more popular with some people than with others. No longer seen as something which is limited to small segments of the population, nevertheless they are still not embraced by everybody. For many, they are great forms of self-expression; to others, they are as taboo as they've always been. Like most aspects of American life, it's often a matter of one likes them very much or one dislikes them intensely; there is rarely any middle ground. While preferences toward specific styles of tattoos differ very much between individual persons, the opinions on them rarely change. One group which has grown fond of tattoos is the younger generation. This is so much true that these days most areas which have colleges and universities also have at least one tattoo studio nearby. For many in the younger crowd, visiting the tattoo studio is as much a social experience as it is about the artwork. Comparing notes about which designs they like, the costs, and even the tattooing process itself is often done with one or more friends. The popularity of tattoos amongst young people also extends to high schoolers, many of whom are not old enough to legally acquire a tattoo. Some get around this by dangerously attempting their own tattoos with homemade equipment; others go to nearby states where it is legal for artists to tattoo minors if they have their parent's presence and consent. On the opposite end of the spectrum you will find members of the older generation who sometimes use tattoos to either recapture or attempt to hold onto their youth. It's questionable as to whether those in this category do so for the artwork itself, or more for the environment of the tattoo studio, as most studios are clearly designed for the younger generation. You can find quite a few older folks leafing through books of tattoo stencils alongside the younger crowd who are twenty or thirty years younger than themselves. This type of situation is at its oddest when the tattoo studio also doubles as a piercing parlor. Certain groups also go for tattoos. While the practice used to be considered the arena of bikers and others of that element, they still hold quite a monopoly on the subject. It is unlikely that you will ever find someone whose primary concern in life is his motorcycle who does not hold to the age-old tradition of acquiring tattoos to symbolize his number-one passion. The person may have one tattoo or many; he may have done the artwork himself with a homemade machine or even plain needles, or he may have spent a considerable amount of money to have his tattoos done professionally; but whatever form the tattoos take, it is almost guaranteed that he will have them. People who have spent time in jail or prison also have the common factor of tattoos. While these tattoos are almost always recognizable as being crude replicas of art, this fact is mostly due to the tattoos being done by such unsanitary means as using cigarette ashes instead of tattoo ink and whatever may be handy instead of sterile professional tattoo needles. For anyone who is at all familiar with tattoos, it is not difficult to recognize the difference between one which was done by a licensed tattoo artist and one which someone did on himself while incarcerated. These days you can find tattoos on every segment of the American population, nearly everywhere in America. While young adults, convicts and bikers are usually most noticeable, tattoos show up or are hidden on everyone from businessmen to farmers to housewives. They have become a part of American life. What to Expect When You Get Your Tattoo To many people, tattoos are exotic and daring things to get into. It's such a huge decision as the design, whatever it may be, will be permanent. Not only might this seem daunting but the actual process of getting a tattoo can be frightening to those who have never experienced it. Most people know that tattoos are created with a needle that delivers ink into the skin by the use of a special tattoo gun or machine. Beyond that, many are clueless as to how the procedure might actually carry on. It is important to realize that every tattoo artist and parlor varies in their techniques. The first thing to be prepared for is choosing a design. If you have a copy of something in particular, be prepared to discuss it with your tattoo artist. He or she may be able to make recommendations to make the image look its best on your skin. If you do not already have a design, the tattoo artist can assist you. The design will depend on where you want the tattoo on your body and if you prefer all one color or multiple colors. The tattoo artist can assist with making decisions based on your personality, size preference for that tattoo and the aesthetics of the design. Once the design has been decided upon, the tattoo artist creates a stencil. This stencil is laid out on the skin and traced. Some artists will draw the stencil straight on the skin freehanded. The general design can be visualized at this point on the skin. When the design is decided upon, the tattoo process begins. This is where things can start to change a bit. Depending on the location where the tattoo will end up, the customer is typically seated in a position as comfortable as possible to make for easy access to the skin by the tattoo artist. Obviously the sitting position will vary accordingly. The time frame is another variance. As is easily guessed extravagant, intricate and very large tattoos will take a longer amount of time than a smaller, simpler design. Tattoos that are excessively large, such as designs covering the entire back often require repeat visits to the tattoo parlor. Generally, for an easy and small tattoo of one color, one can typically expect to it to take about an hour or less for the design. Some can take as little as thirty minutes. If there are a lot of color changes or intricacies the amount of time will increase. Price can vary depending the geographical location of the tattoo parlor. Other factors that are reflected in the price include the size of the tattoo, difficulty and color variations. Many parlors charge by the hour with a general range of between $40 -- $150 per hour, again depending on location and the design. For very large tattoos, prices might change accordingly switching from a per-hour fee to a set fee for the entire process. Once the design is finished, expect to be taught how to care for the tattoo afterwards. It may be dressed in a bandage that will need proper care for the days following. The tattoo artist will discuss all after care instructions with the customer prior to letting them leave the parlor. Getting a tattoo can seem a lot less daunting when you know what to expect. Getting to know your tattoo artist can help one feel more at ease with the whole procedure. Meeting the staff before hand might also go along way to ensure comfort with those working around you. What Is Going On Today With Tattoos As with most things in life, changing times signals new improvements, and tattoos are not an exception. The process itself has come a long way since people had no choice but to use crude homemade instruments to force equally-crude variations of ink into their skins. People these days also do not need to resort to regular needles and either ashes or bottles of India ink, because most have clean, sterile tattoo studios and licensed, reputable artists readily available. For a practice that has been around nearly since the beginning of time, such factors as health, safety, and procedure are relatively modern. Since South Carolina lifted its ban against tattooing in 2004, which required eleven years of failed attempts before its eventual success, the state of Oklahoma remained the sole hold-out in banning tattoos until that ban also was finally lifted at the end of 2006. Currently, tattooing is legal in all states of the United States, each with its own set of laws, some of which are governed by the state itself, others which have left the matter in the hands of city or other local governments. Laws and regulations covering tattooing are varied on a state by state basis. If you wish to get a tattoo, or if you're considering going into the tattoo business yourself, it is wise to familiarize yourself with what is required in the state where you live. One key point is that if you have received a tattoo license in one state, it is not necessarily valid in another state. An unusual exception to state laws is that it is becoming a common practice for parents to take their teenagers to a nearby state where tattooing minors is legal with parental consent, even though they reside in a state where it cannot be done. Crossing state borders in order to get a tattoo may appear extreme, but it happens quite frequently. However, this has produced difficulties in some instances where school districts have implemented policies forbidding their students from having visible tattoos. As tattoos as a basic form of artwork and self-expression have expanded, so has another aspect of tattooing which has its roots in ancient history but until quite recently was not widespread in modern times. Many women, the famous and the average alike, are now opting for tattoos as a form of permanent cosmetics. No longer needing to apply such things as eyeliner or lipstick on a daily basis, a more permanent form of these previously-temporary cosmetics are made by tattooing in a manner quite similar to the more well-known types of tattoos. Getting these types of tattoos not only requires careful consideration on the part of the client, but skill and professionalism on the part of the artist. Especially since HIV and AIDS became a life-threatening risk, reputable tattoo artists have become even more conscientious in taking health precautions for both their own and their customers' sake. In addition to keeping their studios clean in general, there is a large focus on such practices as using disposable tattooing needles, throwing away unused inks, and wearing gloves. Prior to this problem, while most artists did take a reasonable amount of care during tattoo procedures, it was not nearly as important as it is today. While keeping tattoo studios under the jurisdiction of the state, city, or county Board of Health may be an intense measure, it is good to know that reputable tattoo artists consider it to be important, necessary, and worthwhile. What Do The Religions Say About Tattoos? One subject on which the major Biblically-based religions agree is that getting a tattoo is wrong. Fundamentalist Christians, Catholics, and Jews all agree on this. They do, however, hold very different viewpoints on why it is wrong. It is interesting to take a look at the beliefs and viewpoints of these religions-- not only what each one believes, but what each one bases that belief upon. For Fundamentalist Christians, the generally-expressed opinion is that people should not get tattoos because tattoos are "a pagan practice." Fundamentalist leaders state that this is a good enough reason for not getting tattoos, although they also add that there is nothing in the Bible which states that a person should not. Potential confusion regarding this standpoint is explained in terms of the Fundamentalist belief that the whole of the Bible consists of the New Testament, and the New Testament contains no references to tattooing, either positive or negative. Describing the practice of tattooing as something that was, or is, done by pagans, constitutes their main objection to the practice. As Catholics believe that the Old Testament is as relevant as the New Testament, the general Catholic negativity toward the subject is covered by such Scripture passages as Leviticus 19:28, which reads "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves..." For most Catholics, though, it is still usually considered to be more a matter of personal interpretation and personal choice. The usual modern-day Catholic interpretation of the subject is that while tattooing is indeed wrong by Biblical standards, it is not necessarily sinful. The Jewish faith takes the subject, and negativity about it, even further. As the Books of the Old Testament are taken to be the word of God, and commandments to be adhered to, in the Jewish faith tattoos are something which is simply not done. This commandment against any desecration of the body has been proported to be one of the main reasons tattooing was done on observant Jews at the concentration camps during the Holocaust; it was not merely a means of identification as many people assume. It was an attempt to separate observant Jews from their God, albeit unwillingly. In the Jewish faith, desecrating the body with tattoos is considered to be such a violation of the commandments that a person who has tattoos is sometimes denied burial in Jewish cemeteries. While this used to be the standard practice, modern times reflecting fewer prohibitions has resulted in this being less of a concern than in the past. Although today few but the most orthodox consider it to be a serious issue, it is still indeed an issue. The general consensus amongst these three major Biblically-based faiths is that it is wrong to get tattoos, although each one's reasons and points of view certainly differ. Whatever one's personal faith may happen to be, the two main factors involve both what one's religion teaches about tattoos, and what their specific reason is for it. These are important factors regardless of how observant an person is of his or her particular religion; and makes it clear that one should consider both factors in order to make an informed decision on whether or not to get a tattoo. Tattoos VS. Other Body Art These days, it is not uncommon for tattoos to be associated with other forms of body art. In many areas, especially larger cities, tattoo studios are no longer solely tattoo studios, as they also offer piercings. In combining these two, two issues frequently arise. First, while many people consider tasteful, well-done tattoos to be a legitimate form of self-expression through artwork, a large number in this category also consider body piercing to be unacceptable; or, at the very least, undesirable. It is difficult to communicate this to young people, especially teenagers, when an increasing number of tattoo studios also offer body piercing. Kids will naturally assume that if artwork is acceptable, acquiring holes and rings in various parts of their anatomies should also be acceptable. A second important issue regarding this subject is that while states generally have strict regulations surrounding tattoos, that is not always the case with body piercing. Even when tattooing is strictly regulated to the extent that minors cannot be tattooed, or, in some states, requiring the parent's consent for the process, it is becoming an increasing problem in some areas that body piercing carries no such requirements. There are a couple of serious repercussions to this fact. First, many parents rightfully consider it to be a violation of parental rights to find that "piercing artists" can undermine their parental authority by putting piercings in their under-aged kids, not only without a parent's consent but without their knowledge in advance. Second, in the areas where this can legally be done, there is also the issue of health standards. While the general rule is that a person is presented with risk factors in writing prior to getting a tattoo, piercing artists often allow minors to sign health waivers; although this is illegal, it is sometimes done anyway. This opens up a whole "can of worms" with both legal and health issues. Legally, minors cannot sign such forms; but the health aspect of it is also worth noting. As body piercing carries much higher and more frequent risks of infection than tattoos, in signing these health waivers the teenager is rarely aware of how significant these risk factors actually are. While the risk of infection from body piercing is high enough in general, it can become even more so depending on the location of the piercing. Having piercings done in areas that are normally exposed to saliva, or airborne dirt, is simply asking for trouble. Yet piercing artists are often more concerned about making money than they are about the potential health repercussions to their young clients. In addition to these factors, there is also the factor of social stigma. While youngsters may be accurate in assuming that acquiring body piercings will impress their teenage or other immature friends, it is not likely that it will impress anyone else. Even if they withstand parental objections, and ignore the dismay of school staff and employers, they have yet to see that body piercings generally do not go over very well in "the real world." Whether one is most concerned with the potential health risks of body piercing, or the general consensus of the American population, body piercing has a long way to go before it is considered an acceptable practice. Tattoos carry some degree of valid purpose; in the opinion of most American adults, body piercing has no value other than for its owner to appear less than respectable. First You Want It, Then You Don't -- Tattoo Removal A tattoo is meant to be permanent. Unfortunately, what a person might want today may not be what he or she wants two or twenty years from now. Both the procedure of and cost of getting a tattoo are relatively minor in comparison to having it removed at a later date. It may be wise to consider these facts before visiting your local tattoo artist with design and cash in hand. Two of the most commonly used methods for getting rid of an unwanted tattoo are also two of the most unsatisfactory. The first method involves removing a piece of skin from a less-noticeable part of your body, and grafting it on top of the tattoo. This odd form of "plastic surgery" covers up the tattoo, but generally leaves scar tissue, as the skin is not in its normal state. Another popular method is to simply go to a tattoo artist and have another design tattooed on top of the unwanted one. With this method, the black outline from the original tattoo will be noticeable through the new one; the larger the original, and the more black ink it has, the more difficult it will be to cover it. A surgical method which is equally if not more unsatisfactory is called dermabrasion. In layman's terms, you can think of it as going at your skin with sandpaper. Even when this method is performed by a licensed physician, you will likely decide that the resulting scar is worse than the original tattoo. The reason for the scarring is that removing a tattoo by this method means going through the tattoo and the underlying skin. The scarring left by this method will leave that portion of your skin a much lighter color and a different texture than the surrounding skin. Of all tattoo removal methods currently in practice, dermabrasion is the method which will leave the most noticeable scarring. Excision rarely presents a satisfactory alternative, either. As its name implies, the excision method of tattoo removal consists of having the tattoo surgically cut out of the skin, and the surrounding skin then sewed back together. The scar may not be as noticeable as one from the dermabrasion method, but the rather gruesome excision procedure itself more than makes up the difference in terms of a procedure which you will probably not like going through. A variety of creams are sold for tattoo removal. Tattoo artists state that they are a waste of money and time, as they do not work. Whatever new concoction is sold under the guise of being a sure method of getting rid of a tattoo, a potential customer should keep in mind that since the tattoo is not simply on the top of the skin but deep into its layers, over-the-counter creams sold for this purpose will do little if any good. The chemical peel method which uses trichloroacetic acid produces some degree of results, as it actually removes the layers of the skin. Currently, the use of lasers is one of the most common methods of tattoo removal. It is not as simple as it may sound, however. First, depending on size and details of the artwork, removal by laser can take up to ten sessions in order to achieve a degree of results. One source states that each session can cost between $250-$850 per session. It has been said that the laser removal method can be quite painful. The most recent tattoo removal method is Intense Pulsated Light Therapy. Although it is considered to be less painful, and produces better results than removal by laser, it is also much more expensive. The most common sense way of looking at the subject is that if you're planning to get a tattoo, you should plan on keeping it. None of the methods currently available for tattoo removal are guaranteed to produce satisfactory results, and those that show any amount of success in the final results are quite expensive. Choosing Your Tattoo Parlor Once you have made the decision to get a tattoo you'll need to find a qualified tattoo parlor. This is a very important decision, as it can easily make or break your tattoo. Before you decide on a tattoo artist or tattoo parlor, you must first see if they are qualified. There are hundreds of thousands of tattoo parlors out there, some better than others. If you go to a less than perfect tattoo parlor, you could very well end up with an infection that can cause you more trouble than you ever thought possible. Finding out how long a parlor has been in business is very important -- as this will tell you how much business the parlor receives. When you look for the best parlor you should always watch for those who have the best history with keeping their equipment clean. Clean equipment and a clean studio is without a doubt the most important consideration when dealing with tattoos. If the artist isn't licensed or not a professional there will be little to no guarantee that the equipment is clean. Health is a big concern with tattoos for most people, and for good reason. If you are looking to get a tattoo you should always make sure that the artists are licensed, the parlor is clean -- and the equipment is sanitized and cleaned after each and every tattoo. The best tattoo parlors will welcome you in with open arms, anticipating your business. When you meet the tattoo artist, he should be friendly and not intimidate you at all, nor should he at any time attempt to push a design on you. Under no circumstances should the artist try and talk you into getting a more expensive tattoo design if all you want is something small and simple. Pushy sales and unfriendly salesmen are common pitfalls with most businesses. Tattoo parlors should always be friendly and open to what you want. Although the more experienced tattoo artists will offer their opinions, they shouldn't try to push you around. If a tattoo artists thinks there will be a problem with your design or if he thinks he can do anything to improve it, he will more than likely let you know. If he is able to save you some money, the higher quality tattoo artists won't think twice about doing so. Before you decide on a tattoo parlor to do your tattoo, you should always compare what's available to you and weigh out your options. The higher quality tattoo parlors will cost quite a bit of money, more than the other parlors. This is to be expected, as the higher quality studios cost more to pay their artists and keep their parlor nice and clean. These parlors are among the best in the world, with sparkling floors and a clean interior. The tattoo artists here ensure that their rooms are clean, with most wiping down their equipment and materials every chance they get. The ideal way to find tattoo parlors in your area or close by is to use the Internet and search or just open a local phone book. If you look for the keyword tattoos, you'll find several that are relatively close to you. Once you have found some addresses, simply drive out there and take a look around. If you like what you see, you can always come back. You shouldn't rush your decision -- but instead look at what each tattoo parlor has to offer you. Celtic Tattoos Celtic history goes back thousands and thousands of years. Early Celtic people were well known for their skills in artwork of jewelry, metal, and even weapons. They were warriors as well, regarded as fierce fighters by the Romans. Throughout Ireland, there are many examples and evidence of Celtic artwork and Celtic crosses. Over the years, modern Celtics evolved and established symbols for themselves along the way. Throughout North America, Celtic people often wear these symbols to let others know that they are a Celtic descent. The symbols and knowledge have been passed down through the years, as there is little no written history. Tattooing however, keeps the Celtic tradition alive with the infamous Celtic cross and other popular Celtic designs. Most Celtic tattoo designs come from Ireland, where the evidence of Celtic history is very strong indeed. The Trinity College found in Dublin, Ireland, contains many manuscripts that document the Celtic heritage and symbols. The height of Celtic tattooing however, occurred during the era when stone and metal work was really popular. Celtic knot tattoos are some of the most popular and most common designs, featuring loops with no end that symbolize a never ending cycle of dying and rebirth. There are also Celtic animal tattoo designs as well, which are similar in design to the knot tattoos, although the cords in the design normally terminate in heads, tails, and feet. The pure knot tattoo designs are normally never ending, unless an individual adds an end to symbolize a spiral. The meaning behind the knots in Celtic tattoos defies any type of literal translation and is found at a much deeper level. The interlacing of the knots expresses the repeated crossing of both physical and spiritual elements. The strands and their never ending path is a popular design for Celtic tattoos, representing life, faith, and love. For many years, Celtics have used these designs for emotional as well as heritage purposes. Those who are from a Celtic descent, Irish, Scots, or Welsh, normally find a Celtic tattoo to be a great way to express their heritage pride. These tattoos help to reestablish pride, and give tribute to one's ancestors. The tattoos aren't easy to do, most taking several hours. Unlike other tattoo designs, Celtic tattoos are among the hardest designs in the world. If you are from a Celtic descent and have decided to get a Celtic tattoo, the first thing to do is find an artist capable of doing the tattoo. The designs are very difficult and not all tattoo artists can do them. It's always best to find a tattoo artist who has a background in Celtic designs, as this will ensure the tattoo is done correctly. The artist who does the tattoo needs to have an eye for detail and exact line placement -- which is a skill that not all tattoo artists possess. Celebrities Love Tattoos It is not really surprising to learn that many celebrities love tattoos, nor is it surprising that those who are in the public eye and in the media have quite a significant influence on the American population's fascination with tattoos. The stars have tattoos, so all of their fans want tattoos also. For celebrities, age is not a factor; older stars as well as the younger ones have them. We know all of these people-- but how much do we know about what unique styles of artwork they have? One of America's most longtime popular movie stars, Robert DeNiro, has appeared in movies sporting numerous tattoos. Whether or not his fans realize that they are only accessories for his films, the fact is in real life Robert DeNiro has only one tattoo, that of a black panther. Another actor who shows off many tattoos in his movies is Johnny Depp; all of his, however, are real. Bruce Willis also has a few tattoos; most notably the symbol of his movie "Die Hard." Tattoos have long been in style with musicians. Former teen idol Justin Timberlake has a guardian angel, amongst others. Rapper Eminem has more tattoos than can be counted, including his daughter's name and his own. The wording on Keith Urban's wrist, "Omni Vincit Amor" is Latin for 'Love Conquers All;' he also has an eagle on one arm. Some sports celebrities also go for tattoos. Michael Jordan has his fraternity symbol tattooed above his heart, while Dennis Rodman is a virtual canvas of artwork. Not to be outdone, many female stars also show various degrees of artwork. Young actress Drew Barrymore is essentially a canvas full of tattoos; it is said that she created most of the designs herself. Reese Witherspoon is more subtle, wearing only one small star tattoo which is rarely visible. Pamela Anderson has a variety of tattoos also, the most notable being the word 'Mommy' on one finger, which reportedly used to read 'Tommy.' Spice Girl Victoria Beckham has five stars to represent each member of her family, her husband's initials, and the traditional Jewish phrase 'I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.' Some of today's supermodels also sport tattoos. Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, and Stephanie Seymour all have these permanent forms of fashion accessories. Most supermodels who opt for tattoos show fewer and smaller designs than celebrities in other fields. While many celebrities have had tattoos for a very long time, the popularity of tattoos amongst stars has been increasing, both in the number of celebrities who have them and the number of tattoos that they have. A very few have only one tattoo; more and more are taking on a large number of tattoos as well as more and more visible tattoos, using skin as a canvas for nearly unlimited varieties of permanent artwork. As celebrities show off their tattoos, and this is picked up by the media, it presents an ever-increasing influence for their fans, especially amongst the younger generation, to want to do likewise. As with anything else that stars do in the public eye, their influence with tattoos helps this form of artwork become more widespread, more popular, and more acceptable to most of the American population in general. Celebrities and Their Tattoos When deciding on whether or not to get a tattoo, the first thing to think about is how the tattoo will be a permanent mark on the body. The next thing to consider is what the preferred style might be. Most tattoo parlors have samples of previous designs that can be altered to suit the customer. But what many people enjoy is sampling and mimicking what many of those whom we idolize might have already had created. Today, celebrities influence much of what is done in society. Clothing styles, hair dos, things to eat, places to hang out and, yes, even tattoos are often influenced by many celebrities. There are more famous people that have tattoos than what has been originally thought. Some may be quite surprising. As many people know, Angelina Jolie is one of the most popular tattooed actresses today. She flaunts over a dozen tattoos, each with their own meaning. Angelina Jolie is such a fan of tattoos that there are always plans for more in the future. In fact, she's made the tribal dragon tattoo the most popular among women. When it comes to tattoos and famous actresses, it's certain that Pamela Anderson's name will be brought up. The arm band was made popular almost entirely due to Pamela Anderson. She also put an emphasis on the barbed wire tattoo as it's one of her most well known marks. Mike Tyson sports a facial tattoo that is of Maori influence. While the tattoo didn't exactly cause a boom in applied facial tattoos, it does prove interesting among tattoo enthusiasts. Johnny Depp is one highly acknowledge actor for having tattoos. He's decorated with over twelve known tattoos all with stories behind them. Depp's tattoo on his right bicep is the most well known. When Johnny Depp and Wynona Ryder were together, he had "Wynona Forever" tattooed on his arm. When the relationship ended, it was modified to say "Wino Forever." A good example of why tattoos should be thought through before taking the leap. A group tattoo was made for those actors in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each actor received a tattoo of the word "nine" written in Elvish script. Tattooed on different areas of the body, and a first tattoo for some, each member now has a permanent mark commemorating the making of the movies. Other movie celebrities where we will find many tattoos to admire or copy include Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Gillian Anderson, Alyssa Milano, and Christina Ricci. We can also find tattoos in music artists such as Billy Idol, Eminem, Henry Rollins and Brittany Spears. Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Anna Kournikova, and Stone Cold Steve Austin make up just a few of the sports models that flaunt their own ink. This is just a sampling of a few of the tattoos that are likely to be found among celebrities. These people are acknowledged and admired for their style and personalities. Many of them have caused booms in the tattoo trends throughout the years with special emphasis on designs that closely resemble their own. It's not unusual or unheard of by tattoo artists to receive requests for a tattoo that looks just like one sported by the hip celebrity of the times. Caring For A New Tattoo When you finally decide to get a tattoo, the first thing you'll need to do is find a reputable tattoo artist. Most tattoo artists have several designs that you can pick from. If you don't find anything you like, you can always ask him to make a custom tattoo. You should always be careful in what you choose, as you'll have the tattoo for the rest of your life. The design is very important, although not nearly as important as taking care of it. Good tattoo artists will also clean and apply antiseptic ointment to your tattoo as they create it. Expert artists know that this helps keep the tattoo healthy. Once the tattoo is finished, the artists will wipe it down, clean it off good, and apply another coat of antiseptic ointment. Once the ointment has been applied, he will put a piece of soft tissue or cellophane over the tattoo. Once the tattoo is finished, the artists should tell you how to take care of your new tattoo. Some of the better artists will talk to you and give you a detailed sheet with all of the information you need. If you went to a tattoo artist who didn't explain this to you, you may be wondering just what you should do. Taking care of a tattoo isn't hard -- as long as you know what you can and can't do. When you first get home with your new tattoo, you should never hop right in the shower. You should keep it dry for the first few days, but also clean it every few hours. Before you touch the tattoo or clean it, you should always make sure that your hands are clean. If you keep your hands clean, you won't have to worry about an infection. You'll also want to visit your local drugstore and purchase a tube of A&D ointment. A&D ointment is the best to use. A&D will keep your tattoo clean and shiny and should be used for the first few days. Once the ointment starts to dry on the tattoo, you should wipe the old application off and apply some more. Don't rub it too hard, or you could damage the healing process. For the first few days, you should avoid using soap as well. After 5 -- 6 days, you can quit using the ointment. A&D ointment will keep your tattoo healthy, which you'll notice the first time you apply it. After you stop using it, you should use an unscented body lotion. You want to avoid body lotions that have scents, as they can easily irritate the tender skin that resides under your tattoo. After you have used the lotion for a few days, you can stop using it. Most tattoos, after they have healed, tend to leave a scab in some areas. If your tattoo has a scab, you should be careful when you try to pick it. If you aren't careful, you could end up damaging your design. The best thing to do is you have a scab is to leave it alone. You can put A&D ointment on it if you want, as most of the time a scab will itch. A tattoo can be a great thing to have providing you take care of it. Tattoos will stay with your for the rest of your life, unless you choose to get them surgically removed. Taking care of your tattoo now will keep it healthy and infection free in the long run. If you follow the above advice on how to take care of your tattoo -- you won't have anything to worry about. Are Tattoos An Addiction? The longtime connection between tattoos and individuals of questionable character is not the sole account for why tattoos are frequently given a bad reputation. While of course this connection, which is becoming less and less of a factor as each generation progresses, has been true in many circumstances, the subject of tattoos in the present day has yet another cloud over its reputation; it is darker, and rarely based on the truth. From both those who know and those who do not, there are frequent insinuations about the "addictive" characteristics of tattooing. Many people sport multiple tattoos; some have acquired them over a number of years or decades, while others make regular trips to their favorite tattoo studios, but arbitrarily labeling this as an "addiction" is unfair, unrealistic, and rarely based in fact. As each person has his or her own individual reason for getting tattoos, it is impossible to know what a person's reason is unless he or she states it. Some like artwork, some wish to honor a special person, some get tattoos in order to feel a part of some specific group, some people just enjoy spending money. In other words, most people have their own individual reasons for getting tattoos, and it is almost never a matter of being "addicted" to them. There are two parts of this misconception. Both play a role in giving a bad reputation to the subject of tattoos as well as to the people who elect to get them. The first is that people are addicted to the tattoos themselves; the second misconception is that people are addicted to the process of getting them-- specifically, that they are "addicted to pain." One might wonder the mindset of anyone who states the latter opinion; but it certainly provides quite a scope of misunderstandings on the entire subject. One tattoo artist, in remarking that tattoos are a "fever," had been referring to the simple, if odd, enjoyment which many of his clients had in being able to spend money to buy permanent artwork for themselves. "I think I'll get another one" was something often heard in his studio. This did not constitute "addiction" by any definition of the word. Nor, in his decades of practice as a tattoo artist, did he ever have a customer who even remotely enjoyed the discomfort of the tattooing process. The word, and its mistaken applicability to tattoos, is often tossed around by those who know too well what the word "addiction" really means. Addiction is a compulsion, something over which a person has no self-control. Addiction cannot differentiate between a "want" and a "need." Individuals who do have numerous addictions-- drugs, alcohol, behaviors, etc.-- can very well become addicted to tattoos. However, that is certainly not the case for the majority of people who decide to get them. Most people who get tattoos do so simply because they want them; they do not possess the weakness of character which leads addicts in the position of being compelled to do something. The concept that a person gets tattoos because he or she is addicted to pain and therefore enjoys the painful process of being tattooed can only come from either the most ignorant or those who have some personal issues of their own. Unfortunately, both of these misconceptions shed a very negative light on both the subject of tattoos and the people who wear them. It is a bad reputation which neither deserve, for there is almost never any fact in either point of view. While there are those who get tattoos with less than desirable motives, most people who get them do so with no negative attachment to either the tattoos or the process whatsoever. The bottom line is if you find someone who is attempting to convince you that getting tattoos is an addiction, you've probably found someone who actually is an addict and does not realize that most people are not. Application Techniques Of Tattoos Tattoos are more common these days than they have ever been in the past. As we all know, tattoos are decorative markings in the skin, such as symbols, signs, and letters that are applied by puncturing the outer layer of the skin and injecting color. Tattoo guns are the best instrument to use, as they move extremely fast and are sharp enough to easily puncture the skin. There are several types of tattoo guns available, many of which use a very sharp needle. There are guns out there that use more than needle, although they aren't ideal for tattoos that require strict lines or designing. Single needle tattoo guns are the best for tattoo applications, although the needles need to be changed out after each tattoo. Tattoo needles can be very dangerous if they aren't disposed of -- possibly leading to serious infection if they are used over and over again without being disinfected or disposed of. There are also tattoos out there known as "jailhouse tattoos". These types of tattoos are normally found in jails and prisons, using homemade material for tattoo guns. Normally, tattoo artists in jails and prisons will make their own guns, using batteries and needles for ordinary ink pens. These tattoos aren't very safe, and normally lead to infection. The skin is punctured to inject the ink, although with jailhouse tattoo guns the needle will literally pull and jerk at the skin, ripping it and normally going very deep with the ink. If the skin is jerked or ripped, it can result in the tattoo looking horrible. In most cases, if the ink goes too deep into the skin, it can lead to an infection. Deep ink also looks terrible as well, especially if it penetrates the third layer of skin. For that very reason, jailhouse tattoo applications aren't recommended and should be avoided at all costs. With any tattoo, color is very important. Black and white are the most commonly used colors, although there are other colors used as well. Tattoos need to have an equal balance of color, along with the right shape. If the shapes used in your design follow the contours of your body, the tattoo will look even more impressive. Therefore, you should always have your tattoo applied by someone with a lot of experience. From a technical standpoint, tattoos involve micro pigment implantation, as they are a form of body modification. Tattoos are a design in ink, normally symbolic or decorative, permanently placed under your skin. Tattoos have been around for hundreds of years, although tattoos in the past used everyday needles and ink -- with a very high risk of infection. Although they are very common and very popular, tattoos always have risks. No matter what type of application method is involved, there will always be a risk of infection. Today, electronic tattoo machines are the most common methods of tattooing. With electronic tattoo guns, the ink is injected into the skin by a group of needles that are attached to a bar. The electronic gun moves very fast, going in and out of the skin hundreds of thousand of times per minute. If an experienced tattoo artist uses the gun, the results can be amazing. Experienced tattoo artists are always the way to go, as they have the experience to give you the results you want. With the right tattoo artist and the right application technique -- you should have a tattoo that you can be proud of. A Tattoo?! Are You Crazy?! One certainly does not need to be a sociopath in order to get tattoos, nor does the appearance of a tattoo mean that a person is one. However, numerous studies have shown that most sociopaths do indeed have tattoos as being one of their strongest common factors. In addition, a well-known crime writer stated in an interview that every single one of the many serial killers he had spoken with had had multiple tattoos. For many people, tattoos hold no negative connotation; for those who already have serious personality defects, tattoos are often a very visible symbol of it. For those in the latter category, everything about tattoos has an entirely different purpose and meaning than it does to the majority-- why they feel the need to get them, and what they represent. Psychologists tend to refer to tattoos as "body modification;" and most have both very strong opinions and knowledge about how tattoos are connected to those who are in the minority. On the most clearly defined side, psychologists state that for those who already exhibit signs of personality defects, tattoos are but an extension of their anti-social personalities. It is said that these types of individuals who engage in drug use, promiscuity, and violence, merely make tattoos a part of that particular lifestyle. Psychologists state that these traits, coupled with tattoos, are linked to subclinical psychopathy. In clearer terms, for this segment of the population, getting tattoos is yet another means of "thumbing one's nose" at society, and of displaying one's sense of self-importance. As one of the foundations of sociopathy is to refuse to adhere to what is generally considered to be acceptable behavior. given that tattoos still have some degree of negativity associated with them, they are of special allure to those who already have serious personality problems. For these people, acquiring tattoos is primarily an aggressive means of defying what is conventional. In using tattoos in this manner, one also presents a "tough" image. The problem with this is when one uses what to most people is relatively harmless to portray a sense of toughness, it is rare that the individual in question will stop at artwork. For one who connects tattoos with toughness, aggression in his behavior is also a very real possibility. While this fact is relevant to sociopaths in general, and cannot afford to be overlooked, it takes on an even darker side for those who commit serious violent crimes. In research regarding serial killers, a much worse connection comes up about tattoos. Continuing with the factors already evident in sociopaths, there are the additional factors of causing bodily harm and of refusing to let go. In plainer terms, these types of individuals gain tattoos-- often by their own attempts-- both as a means of expressing hatred and as a means of permanently holding on to the objects of their hatred. On a slightly lesser but still important scale, as most of the individuals who fall into the categories of sociopaths and violent criminals were subjected to severe abuse in childhood, it is relevant to note that it is not unusual at all for them to display, in their adult life, tattoos with the name or some representative symbol of their abusive parent. When facts like this are taken into consideration, even if much of the population isn't aware of it, it's no wonder tattoos have such a negative reputation. While it is true that most people in the United States of America choose to get tattoos for no negative reason and no underlying motives whatsoever, learning that tattoos are a common standard amongst sociopaths and serial killers does tend to lend a less-than-desirable quality to the entire subject. Things To Expect From Tattoo Removal At some point or another or for various reasons, people often make the decision to get their tattoo removed. In some cases the tattoo will reflect a lost love and sometimes the tattoo will be something that the individual doesn't want anymore. Whatever the cause may be, getting a tattoo removed is a decision that takes quite of bit of time and thought. If you've been thinking about getting a tattoo removed, you'll need to start out by making an appointment with a local doctor or dermatologist and discuss your options. Your doctor will look over the tattoo, the condition of the tattoo, and which methods he thinks will work best for the removal. All methods of tattoo removal do require surgery, which in itself will carry along risks and side effects. Even though you may be getting a simple surgery, there may be complications with it as well. For this very reason, you should always consider getting a tattoo removed very carefully. It's very important that you be extremely sure you want the tattoo removed before you proceed with any type of tattoo removal surgery. Most often times your doctor or dermatologist will be able to explain to you step by step how the surgery works, how long it will take to complete, and the type of recovery that you can expect. As you probably already know, the surgery site will be quite tender for a long period of time and will more than likely result in scarring. As time goes by however, the scarring will tend to lessen eventually to the point where it isn't all that visible. The answer to scarring however, all depends on the tattoo's size. If you have a large tattoo, the scarring result will be more than that of a smaller tattoo. Depending on where you have the tattoo that you want removed, you may notice quite a bit of pain. Certain areas of the body, such as the chest and elbows are more sensitive than other areas of the body. Once you and your doctor have agreed on a decision to remove the tattoo, you'll be given an appointment time for the surgery. It may or may not be performed as outpatient surgery; it all depends on your health and any complications that may arise. In most cases, those that had tattoo removal surgery are held overnight and observed before being allowed to go home. Before you have the surgery, you should always speak to your surgeon and find out if there are any known risks associated with your procedure. As many know, the costs of getting a tattoo removed can be very expensive. If the tattoo is a large one, the expenses can be outrageous. Most insurance companies won't pay for these costs unless there is a medial or health reason involved. With insurance not paying for the removal of the tattoo, you'll need to pay costs out of pocket. You should always talk to your doctor and make payment arrangements before you have the surgery. Once they are approved, you shouldn't have anything to worry about in terms of costs. Getting a tattoo removed can be expensive, painful, and impose risks that you'll need to think about. Even though you can get a tattoo removed, many wonder if it's worth it. The best way to deal with tattoos and their removal -- is to avoid getting them in the first place -- especially if there is any doubt in your mind that you may not want them later on. The Meanings Of Flower Tattoos These days, more and more women are getting tattoos. As more women decide to get tattoos, flower designs continue to rise in popularity. The best thing about flower tattoos is the fact that there are many different colors and types of flowers -- providing many different meanings as well. The flowers can mean a few different things, although specific types of flowers such as the rose and the Lilly may have a more specific meaning. In general, flower tattoos have a connection with nature, bringing up thoughts and images of life and vitality. Anytime we look at a flower, we see the duration of life, simply flowers connect with us in the sense that we both grow. Flowers emerge from the earth and continue to grow on a daily basis. Then, the flowers bloom, knowing that they will later dry up and start to wilt away. Having a tattoo with a flower brings back the entire process known as life. Keep in mind however, that different colors and flowers on tattoos will symbolize other things as well. White flower tattoos symbolize purity, while red flower tattoos can symbolize a burning passion. There are many colors and designs available, giving plenty of meaning to those desiring flower tattoos. Roses are the most common flower design for tattoos, symbolizing love. During the turn of the 16th century, roses were tattooed on those who were sentenced to death. If they were to escape from the gallows, the rose tattoo would serve as a symbol to easily recognize them. These days, roses symbolize both love and passion. Roses have long been known as a romantic flower, popular for special occasions with the ones we love. In the western regions, rose tattoos are a symbol of love and purity. In the Eastern regions however, love and purity are symbolized by a lotus flower. Tattoos that feature lotus flowers also bring a little more meaning to the table. Lotus tattoos are also known to symbolize fortune, peace, beauty, and goodness. Even though roses are the most popular tattoos in North America, Lotus flower tattoos are more common in other regions. Other examples include the acacia flower tattoo which is the symbol for love and friendship. There are some people with Irish heritage who choose to get tattoos with the flower known as the Bells of Ireland. This flower is well known throughout Ireland, with the tattoo symbolizing good luck. Irish who have this tattoo are known to be lucky, or have an insane trend with luck. Those who think of themselves as being the perfect lover may want to get a tulip tattooed on their arm. Tattoos with tulips represent passionate love and fame for being a great lover. If you happen to be shy and timid, you may want to go with a violet flower tattoo instead. Violets are common tattoos for those who are shy and timid, and enjoy taking things slow. Those wanting to symbolize wisdom and virtue on the other hand, would be well to get an Iris. Magnolias are also common with flower tattoos, as they symbolize an individual's love for nature. Flower tattoos are very common and popular designs these days, giving plenty of meaning behind their beauty. The flowers can be large or small and as bold as you wish them to be. No matter which flower you have decided to use with your tattoo, you can ensure that the flower says the meaning you are looking for. Information To Known Before Getting A Tattoo Before you decide to get a tattoo, you should always take a little bit of time to talk to your tattoo artist. When you speak to him, you should be sure to ask questions and find out anything you can about your new tattoo. You should also find out information about his background, and other important bits of information that will assist you in moving forward with your decision. The first thing you should find out is how long the parlor has been in business. This will let you know just how professional the quality of tattoo work is and the overall reputation for the business. If the tattoo parlor belongs to the Better Business Bureau you can always check their record and see if any complaints have been files about the business in the last few years. You should also find out about his qualifications as well. Experience is a must here, as infections and other diseases can easily be contracted if the equipment isn't clean. Tattoo artists deal with needles on a daily basis, making experience very important. Finding out how much experience and qualifications a tattoo artists has will tell you quite a bit about what you can expect from them. You'll also want to find out if the tattoo studio guarantees their work. In the unlikely event that you don't like the outcome of the tattoo, you'll obviously want it to be fixed. The better studios will fix it without requiring any money. Refund policies are also important, especially if you don't like the quality or the workmanship of the tattoo. The cost is also very important. Before you decide to get a tattoo or agree to anything, you'll obviously want to know the full cost. The bigger tattoos can be quite expensive, although even the smallest of tattoos can be expensive as well, especially if you're on a budget. You can save yourself a lot of time and prevent any type of surprises by knowing the costs upfront. Infection is also something you'll want to find out about. The better tattoo artists can provide information about infections, and tell you how to prevent them. They will also tell you about their services, and how they can prevent you from getting an infection. When you ask infections, he should also be able to tell you exactly what to do if you think you are developing an infection as well. If you suffer from a fear of needles, you should always ask if there is a way to help you. You should never feel bad about asking, as many people are deathly afraid of needles. Needles are used with tattoos, as there is no other way to put the ink in the skin. If you are afraid of getting a tattoo due to the needles, you should make sure that you let your tattoo artist know. Chances are, he may be able to take extra steps to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Asking questions is never a bad thing when it comes to getting a tattoo. If a tattoo artist hesitates to answer any question you ask or acts hasty towards you, you should always leave and find another tattoo artist. Tattoos always have risks and concern, which is why tattoo artists should be more than willing to answer any questions that you may have. Asking questions can help to ease your concern and make you feel better about the artist -- which is why you should always make sure you write a list of questions before you visit the tattoo parlor. How to Find a Good Tattoo Artist Let's say that you've considered all the effects of having tattoo. It's been considered that it'll be a lifelong commitment and is a permanent mark on the body, aside from having it surgically removed. You know what type of design you'd like to have created. You know exactly where on the body you'd like it imprinted. Now, you've got to find a good place to have it done. The first thing to do is some research. Ask friends and family members who currently have tattoos where they got theirs done. Find out what their experiences were like. Ask if it was a clean environment, if it was comfortable and if the designs turned out to their satisfaction. Many times, tattoo parlors will be able to refer names of customers who can recommend their services. While word of mouth is typically the best advertisement, you can also simply try opening the phone book. Locate local tattoo parlors and give them a call. They should be more than willing to answer any questions you might have. At best they should allow you to come and visit the facility to become comfortable with the surroundings prior to committing to becoming tattooed. During a tattoo parlor visit, first determine the cleanliness of the facility. Make sure tools are sterilized between each customer and disposable and single use needles are indeed disposed of after each use. General cleanliness is just as important; if care isn't taken with building upkeep, then it can be believed that care won't be taken elsewhere in the business. Chat with the tattoo artists and the staff members. If you don't feel comfortable asking any questions or expressing concerns with them, chances are you won't feel comfortable having them put a permanent mark on your body. You should feel completely at ease as it's possible that a large amount of time may be spent with them. Check the designs of particular tattoo parlors. One very helpful tip is to compare art with an actual tattoo to compare how closely the tattoo resembles the tattoo itself. It's wise to inspect what kind of design range the tattoo artist is capable of. One might have a hundred different photos of skulls and crosses but it can be very different than having a butterfly, rose or a name tattooed on. Be sure the artist is very flexible. The Internet can be a very useful too when it comes to business searching. Simply type in "tattoos" and the name of your geographical location into any search engine and you should be given a list of choices for places to check out. The Internet can also prove helpful to get opinions on certain tattoo parlors through blogs, forums and chat rooms. Information obtained from the Internet should always be double checked and checked again for confirmation as opinions will widely vary. When finding a tattoo artist in your area, it's important to always be comfortable with your decision. While it is understood that the tattoo will be a permanent mark on the body and great thought should be put into the design and the location on the body in which it will be placed, it is also imperative to be sure you are completely comfortable with the tattoo artist. After all, you'll want to be positive that this lifelong design will be done accurately and correctly. How Tattoos Are Made Many times when we think of tattoos, we think of a very long and painful process. This is often a very frightening thought. A lot of people wouldn't even think of getting a tattoo simply because of their idea of what the process involves. To understand what getting a tattoo means, we have to first take a quick look at a small part of the human anatomy. The skin is made up of two layers; the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of skin; the part we can see and touch. The dermis is the deeper layer, or secondary layer. When a tattoo is applied, the ink is injected deep into the dermis. As the epidermis sheds an enormous amount of cells every day, the dermis is a much more appropriate place to inject ink. Otherwise, shedding occurs causing the tattoo to be only temporary. When injected into the dermis, the tattoo ink lasts a lifetime. The method of creating a tattoo has not changed much since the beginning. It is believed that designs were created in the skin using sharp pieces of bone in the distant past. Today, needles deliver the ink into the dermis. These needles can produce up to 30,000 punctures per minute. Tattoos are made by a process similar to stippling. A series of dots creates the image of the design. More dots closer together creates a darker or more solid in appearance picture. Spread apart, the dots make a lighter image or a shading effect. The tattoo machine that the artist uses to create the design consists of three main parts. An ink source that contains the special ink of the chosen color is typically connected to the machine. A tube connects the ink source to the machine. The needle is the part of the machine that pierces the skin administering the ink. Most tattoo artists use single use or disposable needles. Sterilization is one of the most important things with tattoo art. These needles should always be completely sterilized prior to being used on a person. Needles are then discarded after use. The tattoo ink comes in a wide array of colors. Virtually any design with any color combination can be created. Tattoo artists and parlors have samples on display but can always change aspects of a design to fit an individual's preference. With the chosen design and color choice, the tattoo machine with selected needle type and the decided location on the body, the tattoo is administered by puncturing the skin while the ink is injected. The time frame that it takes to get a tattoo varies depending on the intricacy and size of the design. Pain can be a part of the experience. However, it isn't often as bad as expected. Many people with tattoos describe the procedure as annoying more than painful. Many times the most uncomfortable part is having to sit still in the same position for the given length of time. After care is an important part of the tattoo process. Bandaging will be necessary, some bleeding may occur and care will need to be taken to reduce exposure to sunlight and excessive water. Rubbing and scratching the newly created tattoo can cause scaring. It can also cause the image to distort permanently. Pain can vary depending on the individual's pain tolerance. Where the tattoo will be applied on the body can also be a variable in the amount of pain. Overall, the process is fairly quick and painless when compared to the end result. Free Tattoo Designs Each and every one of us is always on the lookout for great deals and any way to save money that we can find. With the Internet being so popular these days, many people often turn to the Internet for free tattoo designs. For most of us, free is always the way to go. When you stop and think about it, a free tattoo design sounds a lot better than paying as much as $150.00 for one at a tattoo studio. The fact about it is simple -- someone could just as easily draw their tattoo design themselves and then pay the tattoo artist to put the tattoo on them. If you give it some thought, you may begin to wonder if free tattoo designs are actually worth it in the end. The fact of them being free is always great, although you may wonder if the design is something you would like to display permanently on your body. When you show your new tattoo to friends, they may think negative thoughts when you tell them that you got the design free off the Internet. Each and every time you show your tattoo people will want to know about the message and the design, which you'll probably need to think about. All of us are familiar with the old saying "you get what you pay for", and it's truly no different in this scenario. Although there are hundreds and hundreds of websites on the Internet that provide free tattoo designs, few of them are really worth the interest. Most of the free designs out there on the Internet are very poor quality. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to wait and have a professional tattoo artist make the design for you. Those who choose to go with free tattoo designs will tell you that tattoos are very expensive and they can't afford to have a professional tattoo artists draw up the design. Some people, when dealing with custom tattoo designs, will say that their tattoo artist doesn't do custom designs or that he just don't want to do theirs. Although most of this may be true to an extent, there truly is no better way to get a tattoo than using a design made by a professional tattoo artist. As most already know, free tattoo designs are normally made by those who know next to nothing about tattoo designing. In most cases, these designs are made by someone who is looking to make a quick profit instead of a true professional tattoo artist. You can easily tell that they aren't professional quality simply by looking at them. Most free designs have poor quality, poor lines, and often times the work appears to be made on a personal computer. You certainly wouldn't want to use something like this with your tattoo -- simply because you will be showing it the rest of your life. If you spend a lot of time searching on the Internet for free tattoo designs, you may be able to find a few with good quality. There are some good quality designs out there, although you'll probably have to search quite a bit to find them. It's best to have an idea in mind about the tattoo you want then look for it that way. Although it may take you some time, you could very well find it. If you do come across it as a free tattoo design -- you should always triple check the quality before you decide to have it done. The Costs Of Tattoos Once you have made the decision to get a tattoo, you'll find yourself facing a very important task -- the budget. Tattoos have long been known to be very expensive, with the bigger ones costing up in the thousands. Although you may be able to find some designs and studios that are within your budget, you'll still face some very important decisions. The cost of a tattoo is the most common question people ponder before they get a tattoo. Although they can be very expensive, they are still within your reach. Most people who know they are getting a tattoo will save their money up. Even though you may have an average job and don't make a lot of money, a tattoo can still be well within your reach if you save your money up for a few months. This way, you'll have more than enough to spare when you finally get the tattoo you have been saving up for. In the world of tattoos, you get what you pay for. If you've got your own design that you want tattooed, tattoo artists will normally charge you anywhere from 30 -- 250 dollars an hour. If you want the tattoo artist to design a tattoo for you, you'll probably end up paying more. Depending on the size and location of the tattoo, you can easily spend thousands. Tattoos that cover the entire back for example, can cost you as much as fifteen thousand dollars! The best thing to do is to find a studio and design that you like, and then look into how much it will cost you. You should always look for the cleanest and most sanitary studio first. Once you have found a sanitary tattoo studio, you should meet the tattoo artists and talk to them a bit to see how friendly they are. When you look at the prices of the tattoos, you should never sacrifice quality for price. Even though a studio may cost you more, the quality will normally be better than other tattoo studios in the area. Although you may be able to find a tattoo studio that will do their work for a cheap price, you should never rush into getting a tattoo strictly for the price. Even though a cheap price may sound good, the quality of the work could be lacking. Tattoo studios that charge expensive prices normally do so because they have the best artists and the best quality work. Once you have chosen a studio and had your tattoo done, you should always make sure to tip your artist. If he does exceptional work, you should make it well worth his time and give him a nice tip. Tattoo artists who do high quality work love to get tips -- and they will always appreciate your business if you treat them as good as they treat you. Temporary Tattoos This day and age, more and more people are deciding to get permanent tattoos, leaving their mark of choice on their skin. If the tattoo is applied by an experienced artist, the risk involved will be minimal. As sad as it is however, many people who get tattoos end up going to studios that use unsanitary equipment -- resulting in infections or other serious problems. Years ago, temporary tattoos were found in quarter machines, bubble gum wrappers, and even toy sections of the local store. Children loved to get these temporary tattoos, as they presented a way for children to have a tattoo -- one that was completely safe and would wash off. Now days, even adults are beginning to think that this is the right idea. The temporary tattoos of today are no longer just for children, as most last a long time -- making them perfect for adults. The best thing about temporary tattoos, is the fact that they are indeed temporary. With temporary tattoos, you don't have to worry about infections or unsanitary equipment, as there is no piercing of the skin involved. Temporary tattoos are safe, and remove easily with soap and water. This is very cost friendly as well -- as permanent tattoos require surgery to remove. If you have been thinking about getting a permanent tattoo, you should first give a temporary tattoo a try. Tattoos that are temporary provide an excellent way to test out designs, and see if a tattoo is right for you. If you don't like it, all you have to do is wash it off. Then, you can purchase another one and see if you like it better. There are literally thousands of temporary tattoos out there, with designs that are sure to please everyone. If you decide to get a permanent tattoo instead, you are pretty much stuck with it. To get rid of a permanent tattoo, you'll need to have it surgically removed, which can cost you thousands of dollars. You'll also face the risk of infection, along with a permanent scar. Permanent tattoos are great though -- providing you are happy with the tattoo. In most cases, temporary tattoos look just like a permanent tattoo. To use them, simply lick the tattoo or use water and apply to your skin. When you have it where you want it, simply apply pressure for a few seconds. They are easy to apply, and last until you wash them off. If you decide to get a longer lasting temporary tattoo, it will last for a longer period of time. This way, you can decide if a permanent tattoo is going to be worth the investment. You can find temporary tattoos in local stores or on the Internet. They are very affordable as well, even cheaper if you buy them in bulk. Tattoo artists also sell them, and normally have a large selection on hand. This way, you can look through the available selections and find the tattoo that best fits your style. All in all, temporary tattoos are easier to apply than permanent tattoos and they pose no risk to your skin or your health. Those that are afraid of needles tend to like them as well, as they give you the chance to have a tattoo without going under the needle. Before you rush out and get a tattoo, you should instead give permanent tattoos a try. They won't cost you a lot of money -- yet they will give you the chance to see how you look with a tattoo -- and decide if a permanent tattoo is really something you want.
Tattoos: Not Just For Bikers Anymore In the distant past, tattoos had the smallest modicum of acceptance, primarily based on the people who wore them. When military men came back to the States after serving overseas, it was difficult to express too much negativity about the names of their sweethearts or "Mom and Dad" emblazoned on their arms. It's likely that the acceptance was more for the wearer than the tattoo, though, for tattoos had not attained a degree of respectability with the American public in general. As syphilis became more widespread, and with the less-than-sanitary tattooing procedures adding to its increase, New York City eventually banned tattooing, and did not make the practice legal again until 1997. As disdain for the military began to spread across the United States, so did a new counter-culture. To most Americans during that time-period, the word "tattoo" was synonymous for those who were outside of the mainstream of America, thumbing their noses at society. It brought to mind the fringe-element of undesirables, from the widely-movie "Easy Rider" to the infamous Hell's Angels. Greasy individuals who rode motorcycles and displayed obnoxious artwork on various parts of their bodies-- bikers were only "cool" amongst their own kind, and thought of in a very unfavorable light by most of the American population. In general, tattoos were limited to that range of individuals; and both the bikers and their "sleeves" was something the population at large preferred to do without. Although in some locales, especially those with Navy bases, tattoos continued to enjoy a moderate degree of acceptance throughout the 'seventies, they still were not considered a respectable means of personal expression within the mainstream population. The younger generation who lived in these areas, with the usual curiosity of youth, often frequented tattoo parlors and began to make tattoos a part of their lifestyle. As these were usually young adults whose lifestyle included drug use and too much alcohol, their embracing the practice of tattoos did not assist in convincing the older generation that there was anything positive about it. One tattoo artist who practiced in the Navy town of Port Hueneme, California, remarked that the types of individuals whose lifestyle included tattoos were the kind of people who "don't usually make it to forty years old." Also commenting that tattoos are "a fever," he shed some light on the most negative aspects of this practice. Even though by law artists were not supposed to do such artwork on individuals who were in any state of intoxication, his clients were usually in either of two categories: those who requested tattoos while seriously under-the-influence, and the fainters. His tattoo studio had a large couch for the benefit of the latter. Young drug users and Navy men made up the majority of his customers. It was not until the early eighties that tattoos began to gain positive exposure. With the Long Island based band "The Stray Cats" appearing on the cover of the music magazine Rolling Stone, not only did this bring the rockabilly music style back into popularity it was also one of the first steps in helping tattoos gain widespread appeal. In stepping away from the coarse music of that particular time-period, the Stray Cats' scope was that of good clean music and good clean fun; and tattoos were a part of that image. Suddenly everybody wanted to be a part of it all, including the tattoos; and although it was often to the chagrin of the older generation, tattoos began to have less negativity attached to them. As tattoos ceased to be solely connected to the counter-culture, they started to appear on everybody. In the following years they started showing up on average Americans all across the United States. Tattoo studios sprung up in cities that had colleges and universities, making tattoos an accepted part of life for students. As the people in that age group became older, their tattoos remained, as well as the interest in tattoos developing amongst the newer younger generation. In most parts of the United States they are now commonplace, and considered to be just a basic form of self-expression. Tattoos In History What did President Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill's mother have in common? They both had tattoos. While Jennie Churchill's tattoo was allegedly covered for the sake of reputation, and Teddy Roosevelt's was simply in a location which was not readily visible, this information caused a stir amongst many of their day as well as modern-day history buffs. President Roosevelt's daughter Alice also had a tattoo which was in a concealed location. Neither Mrs. Churchill's nor President Roosevelt's artwork, however, lent itself to gaining a sense of respectability amongst the average citizens. Even when such notable figures possessed tattoos, they were still considered to be socially unacceptable for most people. Going as far back as any studies have been on the subject, it is claimed that the "Ice Man" who lived some 3300 years B.C., had some form of tattoos. Upon discovering the remains, researchers have been able to do little but guess that this most primitive form of tattoo was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits, or that it may have been some type of rite-of-passage. Combined on his spine and behind one knee and on one ankle, the Ice Man had approximately fifty-seven tattoos. While it is impossible to do more than speculate as to the actual reason for them, it certainly shows that tattoos are not unique to current eras nor to the people in the modern-day world. As the Ice Man was the oldest mummified human remains found in Europe, today's tattoo fans have history on their side-- there's nothing "modern" about tattoos. In the distant past, tattoos were connected to an entirely different nature than they have been during the last few decades. There was nothing notorious or rebellious about them. It used to be that tattoos were reserved for those of high social standing, and were not available to average people. Tattoos were only available to-- and a sign of-- those who were wealthy, important, and usually in some high position of government or royalty. Sweden's King Oscar had tattoos; so did England's King George the fifth. In that era, tattoos were a status symbol. In other time-periods, tattoos also served specific purposes. Going the furthest back in American history, many Native American tribes utilized the practice of tattoos; it was primarily for the purpose of showing one's connection to one's specific tribe. For the Polynesians, tattooing was a method of relating family history; each individual person had his own individual tattoos to show the story of his family. Some of the earliest explorers on the American continent have been said to have acquired this practice from the Polynesians' forms of tattoos. Two of the oldest Egyptian mummies were discovered to have had tattoos. These tattoos, which have only been found on female mummies, consist of patterns of lines, dots and dashes. As the women themselves were connected to ritualistic practices, it is assumed that the tattoos they had in common were in some way representative of that fact. It is only speculation on the parts of the researchers, of course, based on their knowledge of the lifestyles of that period in time. Although Oriental symbols are quite popular for tattoos in America, it is not widely known that both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have held a strong opposition to the practice of tattooing throughout history. With both societal and religious viewpoints agreeing that tattooing is something which should not be done, it is still considered to be a means of contaminating one's body. For the ancient Chinese, tattooing was used as a punishment for criminal activity, putting such visible marks on a person to forever brand him as a criminal. Physchology And Tattoos In today's society a lot of people tend to misjudge tattoos. A lot of people who see someone with a lot of tattoos will automatically think negative thoughts. Those who have tattoos are just like anyone else -- except for the fact that they wish to stand out and broadcast who they are, simply because they have a strong sense of who they are. Those with tattoos aren't afraid to show them, as they put them on their body to let others know who they are and what they are about. Most who decide to look into the psychology of those with tattoos seem to associate them as criminals and study them like they are common rats in the cage. Contrary to this opinion that many experts have, those who have tattoos aren't in any type of cage. Instead, they are out there expressing their freedom. Whether they are going by what they believe, showing that they belong to a certain group or clan, or paying homage to the dearly departed -- there are always meanings behind tattoos. The psychologist who studies those with tattoos will normally try to get into their frame of mind, which is hard to do. For hundreds of years tattoos have always been a question from a psychological standpoint, with most people associating tattoos in the past with criminals. Even though criminals may have tattoos, there are just as many if not more people out there who are some of the friendliest people in the world who have them as well. To look at tattoos from a psychological standpoint can sometimes be hypocritical. Although those who don't have tattoos will try and figure out why someone would want them, it can still be considered a psychological point of view. Those who have tattoos had a reason for getting them, or they wouldn't have got them in the first place. No matter where you look these days it's a common thing to see someone with at least one tattoo. This doesn't mean that society is dwindling in any way, nor does it mean that mankind is becoming a bunch of clones following after one leader. Tattoos have built there own reputation over the years, gaining in popularity. Over the years more and more people have decided to get them -- which only goes to show the phenomenon that is tattoos. When you decide to look at the psychology of tattoos, you must first understand some of the meanings. A tattoo can tell you a lot about the individual and his past. Although some tattoos may be a bit frightening, that individual may have got the tattoos in his past and turn out to be nothing like that now. Like others out there -- the tattoos that were obtained in the past may be left as a reminder for the future. Pros And Cons Of Tattoos These days' tattoos are more common than ever. Tattoos have gained quite a bit in popularity over the years, giving people a chance to stand out and broadcast who they really are. Men and women alike have tattoos, some covering their entire body. The choice is entirely up to you though, as you can get a tattoo in virtually any size you want. Even though there are many good things about tattoos, there are bad things as well. Among the good things about tattoos include the chance to broadcast who you are, the chance to be you, and the chance to stand out. Most people who get tattoos get them for the symbolic meaning. Although there are some who get tattoos strictly for the look, many end up regretting getting the tattoo later on in life. Tattoos are great for show, although the design itself should hold some meaning. There are a variety of designs and colors to choose from, which helps to add to the positive benefits of tattoos. You can check out many designs at your local tattoo studio, in books and magazines, and on the Internet. The Internet is a great resource for tattoo designs, as there are literally thousands to look at. You can also look at pictures of those who have tattoos so you can get an idea as to what a certain style will look like once it has been finished. The cons of tattoos are pretty straight forward. Tattoos work by piercing the skin with a needle and injecting little gobs of ink. With that being said the risk of infection when getting a tattoo is always there. If the tattoo artist isn't sanitary and doesn't clean his equipment after every use, the risk of infection will be much higher. Another thing to worry about with tattoos is removal. If you later decide that you don't want the tattoo, you'll have to pay an expensive price to have it surgically removed. Surgery carries risks and complications as well. In some cases, those who have got tattoos have had to have the tattoo removed due to infection. In these cases the infection has gotten so bad that there really is no other choice than to get the tattoo removed. No matter how you look at it, there will always be both pros and cons with tattoos. Before you decide to get a tattoo, you should make sure that the design you have picked out is something that you can see yourself with for years to come. If there is any doubt in your mind about the tattoo, you shouldn't get it. Even though it may seem cool at the time -- the price for removal and the complications with surgery may not be worth it in the long run. Tattoos Around The World As tattoos are slowly but surely gaining acceptance and popularity amongst most of the American population, it is interesting to note how widespread the appeal of this practice is becoming in other countries around the world. It is also interesting to consider how various other cultures view this practice, and whether those views have changed over time as has been the case with the United States. Although it may be surprising to Americans whose main source of familiarity with Oriental symbols and other artwork comes from viewing this lovely, traditional art in tattoo studios all across the United States, due to the significant influence of Buddhist and Confucianist religions both the Japanese and Chinese societies take a very negative view of tattoos. In these societies, tattooing was a means of branding criminals; it was not acceptable for citizens to engage in the process. In today's society, tattoos are still unacceptable. Although their younger generation usually takes a more liberal view of tattooing, the youngsters who have them generally keep them covered. Tattoos have long been a part of life for royalty in Great Britain. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors King George the fifth and King Edward the seventh, one of today's most well-known royal figures, Prince Charles, also sports a tattoo. Unlike in the distant past, however, tattoos in Great Britain are no longer limited to the class of royalty; during the past few decades, tattoos showing up on their rock stars has brought the practice to the mainstream population. What was once a status symbol for wealthy public figures has become a widespread part of everyday life for the younger generations. In Mexico, tattoos were originally thought of as a symbol of courage. The early explorers who arrived in Mexico in 1519 believed the practice to be the influence of Satan. In a recent survey, more than half of those polled who were over age thirteen stated that they would consider getting a tattoo. While most expressed a preference for designs such as flowers, religious symbols, or names, some said they would like a tattoo of their favorite brands of soda or beer. This is assisting in marketing to some degree, as many people in Mexico City now consider tattoos to be a fashion accessory, not only widely acceptable but in style. In Vietnam, tattooing is still currently illegal, and is rarely done except in prisons. For those who insist on having some type of body modification in light of the laws against tattooing, cigarette burns are used instead. It is rare that anyone other than gang members utilize this practice. Considering both the Biblical prohibitions against tattooing and the still-present memories of the Holocaust, it is not surprising that most of the older generation in Israel continues to hold a negative view of tattoos. It is a little surprising, though, that the younger generation not only does not always share this viewpoint, and actually considers the practice of getting tattoos of religious symbols to be a visible sign of pride in their Jewish heritage and identity. In assessing both the historical aspects and present-day points of view, it's not difficult to see that for many countries around the world culture plays a significant role in whether or not tattoos are thought of as an acceptable form of self-expression. In most cases it is also clear that with or without cultural influences, times change and with the changing times comes different ways of looking at the subject of tattoos. What took a very long time to gain widespread popularity in the United States has proceeded in a similar fashion in most other countries also. Tattoo Safety The process of tattooing involves needles that move at very fast speeds to penetrate the outer layers of the skin. The needles break the skin, and inject dots of ink into the third layer, creating the image of the tattoo design in the skin. Whenever you are getting a tattoo, common sense and a bit of safety are always the most important considerations. When getting a tattoo, most people fear getting the virus known as HIV, which can lead to the dreaded AIDS virus. Although many fear HIV, it is just one of the many viruses that can result from tattoos. Staph, syphilis, tuberculosis, and hepatitis are all but a few of the other diseases that can result from tattoos. All it takes is a dirty or unsanitary needle and you could wind up contracting one of the deadly viruses listed above. Just like other activities, tattooing can be very dangerous. Although tattooing is indeed dangerous, there are ways that you can minimize or eliminate the potential dangers. Each and everyday, tattoo artists have to adhere to a strict code of safety to ensure that the risk of contracting HIV or any other diseases is little to none. Professional tattoo artists will sterilize their equipment after each use. They use steam pressure autoclave when disinfecting their tattoo guns and needles. Bleach and alcohol don't sterilize the equipment; they are instead used to prep the equipment. Once the bleach and alcohol have been used on the instruments, they will then be autoclaved, which will sterilize them. When the tattoo artist does the tattoo, he should always wear rubber gloves that can easily be disposed of. The ointment spreaders and any type of rags that are used should also be disposable. When you walk into the tattoo studio, the floors should be spotless. In the rooms where the tattoos are done, the working area should always be clean and sanitary. Before the tattooist starts the tattoo, he should always give each customer a brand new set of fresh needles. Then, he should always dip the needle in a small cap of pigment that he just took out of a large squeezable bottle. If the artist dips the needle into the big bottle, you may very well be sharing fluids with those who have had tattoos from that same big bottle. Whenever you decide to get a tattoo you should always put safety first. Safety is very important with tattoos, as you could otherwise get a disease or a serious infection. Before you decide on a tattoo studio, you should always make sure that they are clean and sanitary. If you get a tattoo from a studio that is dirty or unsanitary, you could wind up on a never ending spiral of infections and viruses. Problems Associated With Tattoos Although getting a tattoo is generally safe, there are a few risk factors and potential problems which one should be aware of. The largest risk factor is that of acquiring a communicable disease. While more strict health regulations and most tattoo artists' compliance with these regulations has significantly reduced these risks, it is still important to be aware of them. In the distant past, lack of appropriate sanitary conditions in some tattoo parlors led to an uprise in communicable diseases, primarily syphilis, which in turn led to some locations banning tattoo parlors and making the practice illegal. These days, tattoo artists are required to be licensed, and the cleanliness of their studios must be maintained. In the interest of keeping both the artist and the customer safe from contracting disease, ever since AIDS began to be well-known and feared, most artists have taken on the practice of wearing sterile gloves while tattooing their customers. As acquiring a tattoo does involve some degree of bleeding, wearing these gloves is an important safety-precaution for both the customer and artist alike. Preventing the spread of AIDS and other diseases is also why reputable artists use disposable tattooing needles, as well as disposing of any leftover ink which has been taken from the original tube; whatever was not used on the specific customer must be thrown away. One risk which is always present is that of infection. Having a tattoo done only by a licensed artist is the most important way to reduce this risk. Unfortunately, the so-called "jailhouse tattoos" popular with inmates has become common amongst other people also. People who cannot afford the high cost of having a tattoo done at a studio frequently attempt to tattoo themselves. Regardless of whether they know what they're doing or not, they do not have the same sterile conditions as a licensed studio. Even more distressing is that this is also in practice amongst the younger generation-- kids who are not old enough to have a tattoo done legally at a studio attempt their own artwork, not only without appropriate sterile conditions but also without the necessary professional equipment. This practice significantly increases one's risk of serious infection, and can also lead to blood poisoning. Not knowing the facts about proper care of a new tattoo can also cause problems. Reputable artists caution their customers to not allow a new tattoo to be saturated with water from bathing or swimming, nor to expose it to direct sunlight for a certain number of days. Many either provide their customers with special skin-care solutions or advise them to purchase and use it. Although there are products specifically designed to promote the healing of tattoos, the triple-antibiotic topical cream called Bacitracin is still one of the most widely used and effective means of protecting and healing skin which has been damaged by receiving a tattoo. The proper care of a new tattoo is not difficult, but neglecting to do so can increase one's risk of infection and permanent damage to the skin. Although health complications would generally be considered the most important risk, many people who decide to get tattoos do not think about the potential impact on one's everyday life. Regardless of one's personal opinion on the subject and how affected one may be by it, it is a fact that having tattoos can be detrimental to a person's success in the business world, and also have an effect on one's personal or social life. In most areas, and in most lines of work, having visible tattoos can be a barrier to getting hired for a job. The common sense way of dealing with this is to simply adopt a professional attitude and wear clothing which covers the tattoos. In some locations, where tattoos are thought to be something favored only by particular groups of people, for others to have tattoos may cause them to be wrongly judged or categorized. Keeping a positive attitude is the key. Possible Side Effects of Getting a Tattoo We've all heard stories of people getting a communicable disease from an infected needle at a tattoo shop. People have been reported for becoming very sick from unsanitary tattoo parlor practice. Many people get tattoos every day; however the news only reports those incidents that go wrong. So how can we know what are the real potential effects of getting a tattoo? We do some research. Talk to the tattoo artist about your concerns. Make sure the parlor you are going too practices sanitary measures, sterilizes equipment and uses new needles for each and every customer. The CDC, or Center for Disease Control reports that if cleanliness and sanitation are maintained, then the transmission of communicable diseases isn't likely to be widespread. Many specialists have determined that commercial tattoo parlors are quite safe but prison tattoos are where the problems are occurred. Another problem is encountered with amateurs and those who do their own tattoos. The Food and Drug Administration has said that the colored ink used in tattoos technically isn't legal as it hasn't been approved by them for use. However, problems have not been reported with the colored inks aside from minor cases. One type of minor case may include a reaction to the ink. These theoretically can occur in anyone with any tattoo, but does occur more with the colored ink. Delayed reactions are possible and may not happen right away. Some dyes in the ink are created with cosmetics and other chemicals that are not approved for being injected into the skin, creating a reaction. Infections at the tattoo site are rare but do happen. Tattoo parlors that are unclean and do not practice good sanitation measures are reported to have the highest incidents of reported infections. The FDA does not regular tattoo shops so it's easy for these places to get away with these practices. Because of unsanitary shops, the APT, or Alliance for Professional Tattooists formed in 1992. Membership isn't required but is encouraged among tattoo artists. Seminars are provided throughout the year for continuing education for the tattooists. Sanitary measures are regulated and encouraged to members of APT. Tattoo parlors that can prove membership are more likely to have a reduced risk for tattoo site infection. Hepatitis C is a scare to many who are considering a tattoo. This is a disease carried through the blood and is transmitted through infected needles. Tattoo shops that reuse needles put the customer at a higher risk. These are become few and far between, however as most parlors today use disposable or single use needles. Overall, tattoos are relatively safe. As mentioned before, we only hear about the bad news on television when someone has contracted a disease or infection for a poorly taken care of tattoo facility. If the parlor practices proper sanitary measures, risks are diminished. All equipment should be sterilized between each customer. Needles should be used once before disposing of them. General cleanliness of the facility itself is always a key aspect to watch for as well. Positive Attributes Of Tattoos Considering how widespread the negative reputation is of tattoos and people who have them, one might wonder if there is anything positive about tattoos, and if it is reason enough to get one. You undoubtedly have heard plenty about the problems, attitudes, risk factors, etc., so perhaps you would also like to consider the opposite point of view in order to help you make the best decision regarding whether or not getting this type of artwork is right for you. First, let's examine some of the reasons why getting a tattoo may not be a good idea. If you're the type of person who tends to do things impulsively; or if you're considering a tattoo based primarily on someone else wanting you to get one or not wanting you to get one; these factors will very likely result in you regretting your decision at some point in time. If getting a tattoo is not solely your own decision for your own sake, and a decision which you have put careful thought into making, you will probably end up wanting to get it removed later on. If none of those situations fit you, and you're considering getting a tattoo, hearing some things which are good about tattoos may assist in your decision. Some people simply like art; if you are one of them, a tattoo may be the type of art you are looking for. In that there are essentially no limits to what kinds of artwork can be made into tattoos, you're sure to find something which will suit your tastes. You can consult a tattoo artist to assist you in making the best choice for the artwork which you will like the most. Tattoo studios routinely have huge selections of tattoo art on posters and books; your artist can tell you which forms he is most familiar with and practiced in creating. If you have a unique design in mind, all it usually takes is a rough sketch or even a description, and most artists will be happy to create a custom-made design for you. Tattoo artists are almost always very skilled artists in general; you will be happily surprised at how intricate and professional their work can be. If you want beautiful, unique art which is both yours alone and permanent, a tattoo is the way to go! Do you have something to say, something you wish to share with the world? If so, a tattoo may be the answer you're looking for! Whether you opt for wording, or a design which has some type of special meaning to you, a tattoo can be one of the greatest forms of self-expression. You can choose something that is very clear to everyone who sees it, or, in contrast, can have something which is purely symbolic. We not longer have to settle for temporary expression on t-shirts, tattoos are permanent; and they are available to almost everyone everywhere. A tattoo can also be a permanent memorial. If there is someone or someplace that you wish to honor, a tattoo can be a wonderful way to do this. Contrary to occasional opinion, memorializing a person or a place with a tattoo is generally not morbid, and is not usually sad; instead, it focuses on one's subject in a positive light. In addition, a tattoo of memory does not necessarily have to be about a person, it can also be a unique symbol of a place, a time, a situation, that you wish to always keep in your memory. If you have decided to get a tattoo, and have positive reasons for wishing to do so, all you need to do is visit a nearby tattoo studio and allow your vision to be turned into a reality. Popular Tattoo Designs Tattoos are a common thing these days. They are more popular than ever before. Research has shown that nearly 1 in 4 people have at least one tattoo. There are many designs to choose from, giving people a chance to be creative. Below, we will take a look at some of the most popular tattoo designs. Tribal tattoos are among the most popular designs. They have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years and they are always evolving and becoming more and more complex with their designs and styles. Tribal tattoos can either be the traditional black style that cover the arms and the legs or the more colorful styles that can cover every area of the body. The colorful, more modern look is becoming more and more popular when compared to other styles. The "old school" styles of tattoos are also popular. Anchors and things like that are making a great comeback these days and not just with sailors. These styles were very common and very popular back in the 60s. They are rapidly gaining their popularity back, as females and males are getting anchors and swallow designs tattooed on them more and more. Lower back tattoos are the most common for women. The lower back is one of the most sexual and sensual areas on a women, making the ideal spot for a tattoo. Tribal designs are the most popular, although flowers, dragons, and other symbols make great tattoos as well. The lower back offers plenty of natural curves as well, which can make for an innovative tattoo. Often times, women tend to include tribal that spreads, covering the base of their hips as well. Dragon designs are another popular type style of tattoos. They were popular in the past, and are now starting to get their popularity back. There are a lot of different dragons to choose from, including the mythical dragon and ancient Chinese dragon. Dragons are great on the chest for males and the back for females. Dragon tattoos can be virtually any size, although most males tend to have them cover one side of their chest or the upper region of their arms. Celtic tattoos are also popular as well. They are mostly seen with those who have a Celtic heritage, although some with no Celtic heritage have them as well. They offer a variety of symbols and designs, providing universal meanings for everyone. Often times they are mixed with tribal tattoos to create a more innovative tattoo. There are several other types of tattoos out there, although the above are the most common. Tattoos can be very creative and innovative; it all depends on what you want. If you're looking to stand out and be truly creative -- you can always have a professional tattoo artist design one for you. Picking Your Dream Design Tattoos are very common these days, with nearly 1 in 4 people having at least one. Tattoos represent an art form, and allow people to broadcast who they are. Even though they are popular, most people will end up regretting them. In most cases, those who regret tattoos didn't think about their design or take the time to choose the best tattoo for them. Even though it is possible to get a tattoo removed, the process is expensive and quite painful. To prevent this from happening, you should always take some time and find the perfect tattoo -- your dream design. Instead of trying to save some money, you should never choose a studio or artist based on how cheap they are. Cheaper artists and studios normally lack in work quality, which is why they are able to charge cheaper prices. Instead, you should look for the best studio and artist that you can find close to your area. Even though it may be expensive -- the quality and design will be well worth it. For some, their dream design is a person. This can be a loved one or someone who has passed on. You can always use a design or symbol that means something to you and reminds you of them or you can always use their face. Good tattoo artists can make magical tattoos with meaning, whether it is someone's face or a symbol that brings out meaning. Sometimes, it can be hard picking out your dream design. If you have an idea in mind but are still not sure what you want, you can always research. You can get tattoo books, theme books, magazines, or just research online. By looking at designs you may find something similar to what you are interested in. Once you have found it, all you need to do is sit down with your tattoo artists and come up with your dream tattoo design. If you have a basic idea for something small in mind, you can always have it tattooed then come back later and have more added on. The best thing about tattoos is the fact that they can always be added to later. This can be a great thing if you want to try a smaller tattoo first, and then decide whether or not you want to get it bigger. If you start with a fraction of your dream design, you can always finish it up later on. Whenever you get your dream tattoo you should always take time selecting the design. Tattoos will stay with you forever, which is why you should pick them carefully. If you put the necessary time and thought into it now, you won't regret it later. Your dream design should be very important, and hold meaning. This way, every time you look at it -- you'll be reminded of that special moment in time and you'll never forget about it. Minimizing The Pain Of Tattoos No matter what you may hear, there really is no way to predict the amount of pain that you'll experience when getting a tattoo. If you arrive with determination and the right frame of mind, it may not hurt you as much as you thought. On the other hand, if you arrive at the studio scared half to death -- it will more than likely hurt you more than you thought possible. Tattoos involve piercing into skin, which almost always involves pain. No matter how big or how small the tattoo may be or where it is located, you can expect to feel some pain. The overall amount of pain you experience though, all depends on your tolerance. If you have a high pain tolerance, you may feel next to nothing during the entire process. When you get a tattoo, the needles will puncture your skin at very fast rates and variable depths. The outline of the tattoo is easily the most painful, as the needles will be used to create a black line that will stand out on the tattoo. This part need to be inserted fairly deeply and carefully to ensure that it's done correctly. The shading of the tattoo normally isn't painful, although it depends on the penetration depth and effect that you desire. Normally, the pain you feel is a slight burn or scratching feeling. If the tattoo is going to be on an area where there is less bone and tissue such as the wrist or chest, the pain will be a bit more intense. Areas like the arms and legs however, normally aren't that painful. Areas such as these have more tissue and muscle, which will lessen the amount of pain you feel. Even though some pain is to be expected, there are ways that you can minimize the pain. Below are some tips that will help you deal with the pain. 1. Never show up to a get a tattoo on drugs or drunk. This will thin out your blood, causing you to bleed more. 2. Always choose a tattoo artist that you are comfortable around. If you have confidence in your artist you can minimize the pain a great deal. 3. Show up at the studio with sheer determination. You should accept the fact that the tattoo will take time. Quality work is an art -- and should never be rushed. 4. If the pain becomes too much to bear, you should let your tattoo artist know immediately. He will allow you to take a break, or stop and come back later. You can always break up your sessions, as tattoos don't need to be finished immediately. 5. To ease your mind, listen to music. This way, you can take your mind to a different place and focus on something other than the tattoo. Tattoo Removal Options The removal of a tattoo is often thought of as being a very painful process. Although the process may have been very painful in the past, the technology of today offers methods of removing tattoos. Currently, there are two options to remove tattoos that are rapidly becoming more and more popular -- laser technology and light based technology. Both surgeries used light energy to destroy the ink in the tattoo. The ink in the tattoo will absorb the energy of the light, breaking it up. Once the ink starts to break up, it can easily be passed through and out of your body through filtering. In most cases this is extremely safe, as the ink is broken down into micro size to where it can easily pass through the body with no complications. The process is actually similar to the surgery in which hair is removed. The surgeon or doctor who performs the surgery will hold a wand to the skin that is being treated. As he does this, the pulses of light are aimed at the tattoo, breaking up the ink. The wand is normally held right up against the tattoo, as this makes the pulses of light much more effective. Normally, the feeling that you'll experience is best described as an elastic or rubber band flicking constantly against your skin. If the tattoo is big, the pain could certainly be a bit more intense. The area where the tattoo is at is also important, as sensitive areas may cause you quite a bit of pain and discomfort. If the area in which you have the tattoo doesn't have a lot of muscle or tissue, you'll more than likely want to be numbed as much as possible before starting the procedure. Both laser and light based treatments are somewhat similar. With both tattoo removal procedures, the doctor that is doing the procedure will always apply a cooling gel to the tattoo area that is being treated to cool the skin and conduct the energy of the light. This cooling gel helps to draw the light, and at the same time protect your skin. The gel will feel cool to the touch, although it will help your skin when the light pulses start to break the ink apart. If you've been thinking about having a tattoo removed you should consider both light and laser based procedures. Keep in mind that they are both expensive, and both impose risks. Depending on how big your tattoo is and what the procedure involves, you may need to spend a night or two in the hospital. Even though both procedures do offer ways to have your tattoo removed, you'll need to think long and hard before you make a final decision. Tattoo Removal Tattoos are desirable for many reasons. Often times it's for decorative purposes. Other times the designs represent an important person, time or event in one's lifetime. On the other hand there are many reasons why one would want to have the tattoo removed. Reasons may include that the art was bad, the tattoo itself came out wrong or it is simply no longer wanted. Tattoos are permanent things. The ink is injected deep into the skin, into the secondary layer of skin called the dermis. The repeated injections deposit the ink in this part of the skin for the purpose of lasting a lifetime. Having tattoos removed can prove to be quite an involved process. One key to keep in mind is that some scarring is likely to occur when having a tattoo removed. After care will be necessary as well and may include bandage changes or a suture removal. Even with tattoo removal, some individuals will still experience some colored areas on the skin that have simply been lightened. Many factors influence the success rate of a tattoo removal. The tattoo size and color have a great effect on how and if the tattoo can be completely removed. The tattoo's location on the body also affects removal. There are several methods for tattoo removal. Very small tattoos can be removed with excision. This is the procedure when a small tattoo is simply cut away. An incision is made, that tattoo is removed and the skin is then sutured closed. Larger tattoos may be removed by excision as well; however it may take several attempts to remove the entire art. Many times, the middle portion of the tattoo is removed and allowed to heal before attempts are made to excise the outer portions. Another technique for excising larger tattoos is to take a skin graft from another area on the body to make it possible to close the incision. Another technique is called dermabrasion. This method for tattoo removal involves the use of a special chemical that is applied to the tattoo. The tattoo and skin around it are frozen, providing a local anesthetic effect. A rough surfaced tool is then used to rub down the tattoo in the same fashion one would use sandpaper. Lasers have recently grown in popularity in the medical field and tattoo removal has certainly benefited from them as well. For the purpose of removing a tattoo, the laser is used to break up the ink and coloration of the design. Cells in the body are then able to attack and eliminate these colored cells naturally. When lasers are used, repeat visits are often needed to continue the break down of the ink that was used. Tattoo removal can be done with one of a variety of methods. A physician is needed for this type of procedure. The physician should be consulted with any concerns regarding the size of the tattoo to be removed, the coloration, the location on the body and the required after care that will be needed once it has been removed. A tattoo is thought of something that lasts a lifetime. Although they can be removed with surgery, lasers or dermabrasion, some scarring is likely to be encountered. Getting a tattoo should be seriously considered first as it will always be a permanent mark in the skin. Tattoo Designs If you walk into a tattoo studio, you can easily see that there are virtually no limits to tattoo designs. Most studios have a plethora of books, posters, and stencil samples; and, as the work of a tattoo artist is much more than simply putting designs on a person's skin, most are very skilled and very talented artists in general. Nearly anything you can visualize, either by description or in a sketch, can be made into a unique creation by those who practice this form of art. While many customers prefer a tattoo which is either quite simple and basic, such as one's name or initials, or a design which is totally unique and special to them, there are a number of styles which are widely popular. Tattoos of Native American designs is one of the most popular. While most people who do not have direct information about tribal significance may simply select a design which looks good and appeals to them, traditional Native American artwork is by far the most often chosen in this category, as it symbolizes the Native American culture in general. However, for those who are knowledgeable, designs can be produced which symbolize tribal affiliation. If this is what a person prefers, it is a good idea to first do a bit of research to learn the difference between the tribes and which ones use which symbols. For people who have Native American ancestry, this is an excellent way to both learn about and display pride in one's heritage. One's name can also be made into a tribal design if you or your artist has the knowledge to do so. Oriental designs are also quite popular. Most tattoo studios have a large variety of these, ranging from intricate artwork to smaller symbols. Some of those which are chosen most frequently include the Chinese symbols for luck, prosperity, eternity, harmony, and love; the zodiac signs are also popular. Although these designs may appear simple, and do have a rather unobtrusive effect, it takes a considerable amount of skill to draw them properly, as the thickness and thinness of the characters is very important. If you are looking for something which is stylish and tasteful, an Oriental design will have that effect. For those whose religious beliefs are an important part of their lives, a tattoo of a religious symbol can be a permanently-displayed expression of this. Religious tattoos range from the most basic small crosses to large artwork depicting Saints and Jesus to nearly everything in-between. While most religions tend to frown on the subject of tattoos, they are represented in large varieties nonetheless. You will probably see crucifix tattoos and Star-of-David tattoos, despite the fact that the traditional religious belief is that one should not get tattoos. For most modern people, even those who take their religious beliefs very seriously, getting such a tattoo is not seen as violating religious standards, but a matter of pride in what they believe. Celtic designs often appear in tattoos, also. From the most basic designs which everyone understands, such as shamrocks, to the intricate Celtic cross which fewer recognize the original meaning of, this culture has produced a wide array of beautiful artwork that can be used in tattoos. Most people have some idea what they like, and each person's individual preference is no more difficult than finding it or having your artist create it. Whatever your background, interests, lifestyle, you are sure to find a tattoo design that appeals to you and is special to you. Tattoo Cover Ups Much thought should be put into getting a tattoo as it is a mark for life. The design should be something that will not be outgrown or outdated. Regardless of how much thought is actually put into it, sometimes the tattoo ends up needing a cover up. Cover ups are done for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is to give the tattoo a fresh, new look. Tattoos that have faded over time can be touched up to make it look as if it is brand new. Newly applied crisp lines can clean up any blurring around the edges. Additional color can be put on to brighten up the design. At times, the original tattoo needs brightened up due to fading but can be achieved with the addition of more color and design aspects. A black tattoo can be brightened up by adding more detail as a background in color. Many colors can be applied over the old black ink with a nice effect as well. Tattoo cover ups are often done when the previous design is no longer accurate for the customer. For example, a woman may have a tattoo applied sporting the name of her boyfriend. Years later, the relationship no longer exists but the tattoo remains for life. Cover ups can completely change the look of the tattoo making parts of it that are no longer desirable appear to have disappeared. Tattoo cover ups are needed when the original tattoo is of poor quality. Prison tattoos are often presented for cover ups. Tattoos that were done by amateurs are also commonly covered up. These old tattoos are often small or done with thin lines that are easily covered. Even when there isn't a previous tattoo, a cover up is still needed at times. These are the cases when scars are to be covered with art. Millions have tattoos applied to cover scars that they no longer wish to see or feel they aren't very pleasing to look at. Unless the scars are large and have caused extensive damage to the skin, typically a cover up can be done. Even on very large scars, many good tattoo artists can still design something to work with. When a tattoo cover up is required, it is most important to search for an excellent and talented tattoo artist. A tattoo artist who can design a great picture for the original tattoo is good. A tattoo artist who can design a tattoo to cover up an existing tattoo with a new and different design is the kind of talented artist you need for a successful cover up. Most tattoo artists do not have samples of cover ups they have done on display. To see these you'll often have to ask specifically for them. Pay close attention to the detail of the cover ups and compare the old tattoo to the new. A large solid tattoo should not be applied over a smaller tattoo as the old one will easily show through. Although tattoos are permanent, they can be covered up and touched up. Touch ups have been reported as being a slight bit more painful and often repeat visits are needed to fully complete the design. The option is there, however and if an excellent artist is found the end result should be stunning. Lower Back Tattoos On a woman's body there are a few places that can be thought of as sensual. Although this varies from culture to culture, many consider the most sensitive areas to be the nape of the neck and the infamous lower back. With that being said, it's really not hard to see why lower back tattoos have become so popular over the years. Although women have several areas for tattoos, the lower back is one of the most erotic and sensual areas women can get tattooed. Lower back tattoos are easy to cover up as well, which is great for those who aren't allowed to have tattoos at work. Unlike other areas of the body, the lower back is completely covered up by a shirt. With the lower back -- you only show the tattoo off when you want. The ease to show or hide lower back tattoos has helped to increase popularity, as well as the desire, or sensuality. When a woman tells someone, especially a man, that she has a lower back tattoo -- the mind often wonders. Lower back tattoos create a sensual and tantalizing appeal. Normally, these tattoos are done around the waist line. While part of it may be hidden by a women's birthday suit -- there may very well be a part of it showing as well. For lovers, a lower back tattoo can be very sensual and sexual, a secret that is shared only between the two. The various designs and shape of the tattoo will often times enhance both the look and the appeal of the entire lower back area. The design of the tattoo is normally a small and shallow curvature that enables it to fit perfectly to the curves of the female back and natural curves of her hips. The lower back tattoo helps to accentuate an already breathtaking part of the female anatomy and enhance an area that is well known for its sensuality. Popular designs for lower back tattoos include flowers, vines, and stars. Winged creature designs work good as well, as the wings of the monster can stretch his wings across the entire lower back region. Angels, dragonflies, and birds also seem to work quite well. You can add natural designs to the creatures as well, including plants and flowers. The lower back is a great area for tattoos -- giving you unlimited possibility to use your imagination. Although there are a lot of options and designs available, you should always choose one that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. You should always give thought to a design, and not pick something just because it's appealing at the time. Instead, you should look into the thought and meaning of the tattoo and decide if it's something you can see yourself with for the rest of your life. The meaning behind a tattoo is important, both now and later on in life. When you look at designs, you should always pick the one that literally calls out to you. Before you decide to get a lower back tattoo, you should always look at several designs first, and then decide the best one for you. If you can't find a design that you like, you can always have a professional tattoo artist design one for you. This way, you can have a tattoo design based on what you want. Although a custom design may cost a bit more money -- it's truly worth it if you want a unique and creative design that enhances the look of your lower back. Laser Tattoo Removal Research has shown that nearly half of those between the ages of 18 and 40 have a tattoo or several tattoos. The problem here is that a majority of those who have tattoos have later decided that they don't want them anymore. The biggest complaint to tattoos is dissatisfaction, which has led to a recent increase in tattoo removal. It's been proven in the past that women research their removal options more than men -- due to the fact that men have less of a stigma when it comes to tattoos. Often times, the ink that is used during tattoos can lead to infection, simply because the type of ink being used isn't regulation for tattoo parlors. Clean equipment is also essential with tattoo parlors; otherwise someone can end up with hepatitis B, C, and various other infections. There are many serious diseases and other sicknesses that can occur if a tattoo parlor doesn't keep their materials and parlor clean. In the event of infection or if someone just doesn't like their tattoo, there are ways to get them removed. Skin grafting and dermabrasion are good examples of tattoo removal, although the most popular and most common these days is laser removal. Laser removal is the fastest and by far the most preferred. With this surgery, the laser being used will zap the metal ions that are found in the pigment of the tattoo, fracturing the ink into very small pieces that the body can easily dispose of. There are several great things about laser tattoo removal, although there are some bad things as well. In some cases, where infection is involved, the surgery will be a bit different. First, you'll need to get the infection out of the area before the tattoo can be removed. Depending on how bad the infection is, you may end up staying in the hospital for a few days. For this very reason -- you should always make sure that the equipment is clean and sterile before you ever get a tattoo. Laser tattoo removal can be very painful, depending on the area that you have the tattoo on. Almost all surgeons will use numbing ointment and local anesthetics before they do the removal, so you experience little to no pain. Even though you may think that you have a high tolerance for pain and can deal with the treatment, you may still want to take any type of numbing that you can get. Before you decide to get a tattoo removed with laser removal, you should always make sure that you choose a surgeon you can trust. Lasers can be very dangerous, and there are always side effects and risks involved. Although laser tattoo removal is certainly an option for getting rid of a tattoo -- the best thing to do is think long and hard before you get one to begin with. Innovative Tribal Designs In the world of tattoo designs there are thousands of potential tattoos to choose from. Each and every day, there are new designs added to studios and online tattoo websites. Tattoos are becoming more and more popular these days, making the designs all the more important. Although flowers and other designs are popular, tribal designs seem to be among the most common. The one thing that sticks out with tribal tattoos is the innovation. Tribal tattoos feature unique artwork, with most being more or less solid black with no other colors. Tribal can have several different meanings as well, as it all depends on the image that the artist is trying to bring to life. Tribal can either be a design that the artist already had or the artist can take your feedback and do the entire tattoo freehand as he goes along. Experienced tattoo artists can normally do great work freehand -- as it gives you the ability to make changes as he goes along. Some of the most popular designs with tribal tattoos include skulls and letters. Unique designs are also very popular, especially those that wrap around the arms or the back. Tribal can be put virtually anywhere on the body, just like any other tattoo. Depending on the tattoo design you have in mind, it may take quite a few hours before the artist has finished. With the larger tattoos, you may need to come back to have the work finished. Before you decide to get a tribal tattoo, you'll first need to decide on the design. If you don't have an idea in mind, this can take you quite a bit of time. You can look online for some ideas, or look at some of the already made designs at your local tattoo studio. If you see something that you like but you want to be a bit more creative, you can always add to the design. For example if you see a tribal skull design that you like, you can make it bigger or change just about anything in the tattoo design that would make it unique for you. If you want the entire tattoo to be unique and creative, you can always have your tattoo artist draw the entire tattoo from scratch. You can give input as well if you want, to ensure that the design matches what you have in mind. Drawing a custom tattoo can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on the size and detail of the tattoo. Tribal tattoos that have a lot of detail can be a bit complex, both to draw and to tattoo. No matter what you have in mind for your design -- you can rest assured that it can be accomplished with tribal design tattoos. Time And Tattoos Throughout the course of time, tattoos have been used to personify and represent someone's affiliations, personal preferences, and their creative outlook on life. Tattoos are gaining in popularity these days as well with both men and women. Research has shown that nearly 1 in 4 people have at least one tattoo on their body. By definition, a tattoo is a permanent marking on the skin. The ink is injected by needle under the skin, creating the image of the tattoo. The needle moves very fast, puncturing the skin and depositing the ink into the epidermis. As the ink is depositing into the epidermis, the skin captures the color of the ink. The artist will continue to clean the tattoo as he works on it, wiping it off with antiseptic and disinfecting the wound. Over time tattoos will chance with the skin on a constant basis due to the wind, sun, regeneration, water, and other things. The way a tattoo looks and the design must also chance with the skin as it shrinks, stretches, and ages. The pigment that makes up the tattoo must remain the way it is over time, although tanning and wrinkles can affect the color and clarity of the tattoo. The overall length of time that a tattoo styles healthy and vibrant in color all depends on how well it was taking care of after it was completed and how the skin is taking care of. Even though infection is always a concern with tattoos, you must also promote healing in the sense of retaining as much ink as you possibly can. Most tattoos will heal completely within a few short weeks, although they must be kept moist to prevent scabbing. If allowed to scab, the scab that forms will remove some of the color from the tattoo. The number one enemy of tattoos is the sun. Just like other colors that are exposed to sunlight, the pigments found in tattoos will fade. Yellow and red are the hardest colors to maintain over time, blue and black are the easiest and most stable to maintain. Tattoos are considered to be part of the organism of living skin and need to be maintained to keep the color alive and fresh. If you are going to be out in the sun, you should always cover your tattoos and wear a quality sunscreen as well, just to be on the safe side. Tattoos that have been properly applied, properly healed, and protected from the rays of the sun can remain their best for years and years. Although the colors will remain vibrant as well, time and the sun are definite enemies for tattoos. No matter how well you take care of your tattoos and protect them, there really is no escape from changes that come as a result of time itself. Things To Know About Tattoos Tattoos are created by injecting ink through into the skin. Tattoo artists accomplish this by using an electric powered tattoo gun that almost sounds like the drill a dentist uses. The tattoo gun has a needle that moves up and down, putting the ink into the skin around 2,000 times a minute. The needle in the gun punctures the skin and deposits a small drop of ink with each puncture. The tattoo machines of today have several basic components. The sterilized needle, tube system, electric motor, and foot pedal are all fine examples. The foot pedal is extremely important to the tattoo gun, as it controls the vertical movement that the needle will make. It resembles a pedal used with a sewing machine, except for the fact that it determines how the needle will work. One of the biggest concerns regarding tattoos has always been safety. Tattoo machines work by puncturing the skin and injecting ink into the tattoo site. Whenever you are dealing with puncture wounds, there is always a risk of infection and disease. Because of these risks, tattoo applications are always focused on safety. Tattoo artists always use sterile equipment, disposable materials, and proper sanitation to ensure protection for themselves and their customers. To help prevent the risk of contamination, almost all tattoo materials such as ink, ink cups, needles, and gloves are for single use only. Needles should never be used a second time, as they can almost always lead to infection. Most of the single use products will arrive at the tattoo studio in sterile packaging where the artist can open it up in front of you before he starts his work. Before they start the tattoo, tattoo artists will always wash their hands with soap and water and check themselves for abrasions and cuts. After doing so, they will clean and disinfect their work area with the appropriate disinfectants. As they do this, they will normally explain to you what they are doing and how the sterilization process works. Once they have cleaned the area, they will then start to open their equipment from the sterile boxes. After the artist has opened everything, he will shave the area for the tattoo and disinfect it with water and soap. Once he starts the tattoo, the pain will all depend on your tolerance. Some people say that it feels like being pinched, while others describe it as a slight poking with needles. Your overall pain tolerance, the location and size of the tattoo and the experience of the tattoo artist will all be contributing factors to how much pain you will feel. The location is extremely important. If you are getting a tattoo in a sensitive area -- it will probably hurt a bit more. The tattoo artist will clean the tattoo throughout the process, and again once he has finished. Once he has finished, he will put some ointment on the tattoo and cover it. He will also explain how you should take care of it and what you can and can't do. Most tattoo artists will give you a sheet to take home that contains detailed instructions on caring for your new tattoo. If you have any questions, you shouldn't hesitate to ask when he is going over your care instructions. When you get home, you should always follow those instructions. Taking care of your new tattoo is very important and may very well determine your risk of infection. Tattoos can be a great thing to have, providing you take care of them. Keep in mind that the tattoo may be sore for a while -- although it will heal in a few short days. Variations in Tattoos A simple search on the Internet will show a vast array of all different kinds, sizes and colors of tattoos. Sometimes the mere decision on the final design is a big enough task in and of itself. Even if a sample is copied, it can be altered in just about any way giving even more options. The biggest variation among tattoos is size. Tattoos can be very tiny or very large. Tattoos might be as tiny as a single small letter, a minuscule flower or a dinky symbol. Tiny tattoos aren't always the easiest, however as they can prove quite difficult if more detail is involved in such a small space. Large tattoos are very commonly seen. Tattoos stretching down the entire back, all the way across the chest and even full sleeves are regularly found among tattoo enthusiasts. Perhaps the biggest of them all are the full body tattoos, which aren't uncommon. Another variation in tattoos is color. Many people prefer the look of a tattoo in a single color. Typically, this color is black. Tribal, symbolic and word tattoos are often found as a solid black. These are often more commonly encountered than colorful tattoos. Colored tattoos aren't rare, however. Just about any color imaginable can be used on a tattoo. Inks can even be mixed to create a specific color. Brightly colored tattoos can be made in as many designs as black tattoos. Certain colors may be used resembling something sentimental, important or simply a favorite color. Shading can be a variation in tattoos as well. Shading differs from color variances. A black tattoo can be made more intricate by creating a shading effect. Shading can also be done with colored tattoos. As the tattoo is created by a series of dots, the more spread apart the dots are, the lighter the ink will appear, creating a shading effect. Many times, a tattoo artist will offer advice for decisions on the design of the tattoo. Shading may be recommended in the place of color, at times. It can be one way to provide more effect within the design without adding a bunch of, or any, color. Style is an excellent variation in tattoos. They can be found in just about any style imaginable, and if an example cannot be located on paper or in the tattoo parlor, your tattoo artist may be able to create something for you. Symbols can easily be created. Characters can resemble cartoons or animated creatures. Realistic drawings of people can also be created as a tattoo. For example, if you want a cartoon of an elephant, the tattoo artist can create it. If you want a tattoo resembling a real elephant, in the Savannah in Africa, he or she can most likely do that as well. If you want a tribal-influenced design representing the sign of an elephant, you're likely to find it. Tattoos can be created to resemble anything that can be drawn, painted or photographed. Creating tattoos is an art. Tattoo artists are just that: creative artists with their own method of providing designs that help others express themselves on their own bodies. Tongue Tattoos Tattoos are a hot commodity these days, becoming more and more popular than they have ever been in the past. There are hundreds and thousands of different designs and styles of tattoos to choose from, giving you the chance to express yourself. Although tattoos are very popular, the new trend that is rapidly taking effect in the world of tattoos is known as tongue tattoos. Although many aren't familiar with tongue tattoos yet, they are just now starting to take shape. They resemble other designs and styles, although they cover the muscle known as the tongue. There are tattoos that cover the entire tongue, or just a single area. In most cases, those who already have them, chose to have their tongue tattooed a certain color. Whether it be purple, orange, black, or blue, the tongue can be tattooed a variety of different colors. The designs that are poplar with tongue tattoos include stars, tribal work, and other shapes and designs that cover a region of the tongue. Stars are popular with the lower area of the tongue, near the tip. There are also designs that can be tattooed farther back on the tongue, near the middle of it. As tongue tattoos become more and more popular, more and more designs are implemented. As far as the procedure goes, it's very similar to getting a tattoo on any other part of your body. A tattoo involved needles puncturing the skin, depositing ink into the epidermis. The needles move extremely fast, breaking the skin and leaving the pigments of ink. The tongue, just like the skin, will swallow the pigments once the surface has been punctured by the needle. Once the pigments of ink are absorbed by the tongue, the color will remain there forever. Those who have had tongue tattoos in the past say that they aren't very painful. Unlike tattoos on the skin, the tongue is a giant muscle. A tattoo on the tongue is often described as a tickling sensation or the feeling of numbness in your mouth. When the tattoo artist does the tattoo, he will normally use a tool to hold the tongue out. If you've ever had a tongue piercing, you'll know what it looks like. Once the tongue is out, the artist will begin work. The process normally does take very long, as long you hold still and don't move around. If a tongue tattoo sounds interesting to you, the first thing to do is find a tattoo artist in your area who is experienced with doing them. Not a lot of tattoo artists are familiar with tongue tattoos, as they are just now beginning to surface. A tongue tattoo is a bit on the creative side -- something that you just don't see in public everyday. The History Of Tattoos Tattoos have a rich history of tradition, dating back thousands and thousands of years. Throughout the course of time, there has always been an important role of tradition and ritual behind tattoos. In the past, women in Borneo used tattoos as a way to mark their skills. Tattoos were also used in the past as a way to ward away illnesses and disease by placing the tattoo around the fingers and on the wrist. Throughout history, tattoos have also been used to symbolize a clan or society as well. The purpose of tattoos has differed from culture to culture throughout the course of time. Research has shown that the earliest tattoos come from Egypt during the time of the pyramids, although most believe they started much earlier. Egyptians at this time were believed to use tattoos as a way to mark the slaves and the peasants. Around 2,000 BC, tattoos spread to China and then on to Greece, where the Greeks used tattoos as a way to communicate among spies. Along the way, Japan also incorporated the use of tattoos as well. The Japanese people used tattoos for religious and ceremonial rites. During this era, Borneo women were the artists. They produced the designs that indicated the individuals point in life and the tribe that he was affiliated with. Tattoos were very popular during these days, although infections were quite common. Tattoos were a long way from being perfected -- which showed in the way they were done. Tattoos were shown in the western regions as well, although they weren't well accepted at first. William Dampher, who was once an explorer, was the man who re-introduced tattoos to the western areas. During the year 1961, he brought a heavily tattooed Prince to the area, showing off his tattoos with exhibitions. He made quite a bit of money with these attractions, which in turn made tattoos very popular and well desired throughout London and surrounding areas. Before then, it was nearly 600 years since tattoos had been witnessed in the area. Chatham Square, which is located in New York City, was the first place to feature American styled tattoos. During the turn of the century, Chatham Square attracted people from all over the United States, especially those with money. A man by the name of Samuel O-Reily set up shop in Chatham Square, becoming the first man to use an electric tattoo gun. In the beginning, the now popular tattoo gun was based on Thomas Edison's electric pin that used a needle point to puncture paper. The electric tattoo gun features moving coils, a needle bar and tube, which are common components of today's guns. The electric gun was very popular, allowing those who wanted a tattoo to get one at a great price. These guns helped to revolutionize tattoos and allowed the tattoo artists to give tattoos fairly fast as well. People took to this new technology in flocks, making it by far the best and most efficient ways to get tattoos. During the late 1960s, tattoos really began to take off. They were featured in magazines, television, and talked about everywhere. These days, tattoos are very common, with nearly 1/2 of the population in the United States having at least one tattoo. They are still common with bikers and clans, symbolizing that one is a member. There are millions of designs out there for tattoos -- including different color combinations that have helped to make tattoos the phenomenon they are today. The History of Tattoos - 2 Tattoos are a hot topic today. People get tattoos for many reasons. Millions of styles have been applied and continue to be created. But tattoos aren't a new thing. They've been around for ages. No one can really say when the history of tattoos began. The oldest known tattoo was discovered in 1991. It was found on a mummy known as Oetzi, an Iceman dated to be at least 5300 years old. His tattoos consist of horizontal and vertical lines. There is some debate as to why the tattoos are there. The most common idea is that the tattoos were done for medicinal purposes. Oetzi's fifty-seven tattoos are located over various joints on the body. The thought is that the tattoos were made while a form of acupuncture was administered to relieve painful joints. Today, the same sites are used for acupuncture. Other ideas range from social status and ritual markings to tribal marks or simple preference. Prior to finding Oetzi, the Russians excavated bodies that were determined to be over 2400 years of age. These mummies were found in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Instead of lines, their tattoos are in the form of animals both real and imaginary. Many of these tattoos are thought to be decorative only while others appear to be a symbol of status rank. The Egyptians have one of the most well known cultures for tattoos. Dating back to 2100 BC, discovered mummies have been found to be covered in various tattoos. Women flaunted tattoo designs that were restricted to women only. These designs were mostly a series of lines and dots around the body. Tattoos among the Egyptians are thought to have been forms of ritual markings. In Japan, tattoos were first used on clay figures. These human shaped figures represented a deceased individual and were found in the tombs of the person they resembled. The tattoos were carved or painted on the faces of the figures. It is thought that these markings have religious or magical significance. The figures have been found in tombs that have been dated from 3,000 BC. Japan's first documented tattoo is from 297 AD and has been shown to be for decorative purposes only. Tattoo artists were known as the "Horis" in Japan. The Horis were acknowledged as masters and eventually created the full body suit tattoo. Many years later, tattoos were made widely popular by the circus. Acts are performed by people completely covered in tattoos. Individuals are renowned simply for their number of tattoos. Patrons of the circus are enamored by the extravagant and colorful tattoos of circus performers resulting in an increased number of tattoos across the world. Tattoos have been found in history all over the world. They have been determined to be a representation of a variety of things such as social status, religion and many times just for decoration. Found on men and women alike, tattoos are discovered in every shape, size and color pattern imaginable. Whether they've been found to be something that was once held sacred or they're for decoration only, tattoos have been around for ages and will continue to be around for ages to come.
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