Sometimes it’s where, other times it’s what.  But you may come to regret that skull and crossbones on your shoulder. The process and technology of tattoo removal has made strides; it’s much more effective and safer than it used to be.

Ask a Tattoo Artist:

We talked with Jackrabbit Jim at Anchor Ink to find out the questions he asks before agreeing to inject even one drop of ink.

What are things to consider before you receive a tattoo?

Does your tattoo have any special meaning to you, or is it just the latest trend on Pinterest? The idea is that fads eventually die, your tattoo doesn’t.

On the topic of placement, one can ask, “Do you see yourself wearing this for eternity?” “How may its placement affect your job/career?”

Have you been asked to change a tattoo because it was botched or wanted to alter something?

Cover-ups are very, very common. However, some tattoos are impossible to cover. It depends on how old the tattoo is, the style of the tattoo and how bold the ink is. Re-work is also common, adding things to improve the original tattoo. This happens more than I care to admit. That’s why you’ve got to really think about your ideas and research your artist, and their styles.

What is the youngest you would ever consider tattooing someone?

The legal age is 18, which seems appropriate. In Utah, you can be as young as 16 with parental consent.

But it is still very expensive and, yikes, painful. Like very painful, way more than getting the tattoo you now want to get rid of. Many have suffered as a result of unqualified laser practices. And a botched removal is worse than a lame tattoo.Tattoos are personal, they reflect identity. Permanently marking yourself with an important date, a relationship or your spirit animal isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Until it is a bad idea. We change and our identity evolves and here comes the “RA-gret.” (See We’re the Millers, ca. 2013.) Tramp stamp be gone, you say. What are your options? Beyond altering or re-work, tattoo-concealing cosmetics or clothing can provide a temporary solution. But if that tattoo is affecting your life, reminding you of an ex, or just a drunk mistake, it’s time to go blank.

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