A question we regularly get asked in our shop is “Will this tattoo look good my whole life?”. And that’s a fair question. Whenever someone is thinking about getting a new tattoo, it’s pretty natural to wonder what it will look like as we get older. While there are a lot of varying factors that influence the longevity of a tattoo, we do have some insight on the kind of tattoo that can withstand the test of time, and what you can do to help your tattoo live its best life.
The popularity of styles of tattoos ebb and flow with time, as with any trend. But just because a style of tattoo has become popular, doesn’t always mean that it’s the best kind of tattoo to get. Watercolor tattoos, for instance, have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, along with “micro” tattoos, which are tiny delicate tattoos. What is important to understand in regards to tattoos though, is that your skin is literally a giant organ. So as you age, your skin does too. Also important to note, is that just like we are at the mercy of gravity, your tattoo also is. When you have bright vibrant colors with no black lining, like watercolor style, your skin will very likely shift and the tattoo will go right along with it. Colors too, are not the most reliable for keeping a good-looking older tattoo. Colors often fade thanks to the sun (we will touch on this more in a minute) and you’ll be left with something faded and sometimes unrecognizable to the tattoo you originally got. Small tattoos, like the Micro tattoos I referred to earlier, also tend to migrate and blend together, leaving you with nothing more than a smudge of the tattoo you once had. Most experienced artists will tell you that the tattoos that hold up the strongest will be those primarily black and greyscale since black is an ink that really does stand the test of time. Also, consider increasing the size of your tattoo. If you’re unsure about wanting a tattoo and think tiny is the way to go, you should maybe reconsider getting a tattoo at all. Like it or not, having a tattoo is a lifelong commitment. Larger tattoos allow the lines to stay visible for a longer span of time without strongly feeling the effects of aging, and this isn’t to say you need to have an entire part of your body tattooed, but giving your artist room to breathe with the design will definitely benefit you the most. Trust us, you will find an artist willing to do that $60 tiny flower on the side of your hand, but you’ll be the only one stuck with it for the rest of your life.
Another important part of the life of your tattoo is strongly based on how well you care for it. By now in your life if you’re looking to get tattooed, you also have been taught the importance of sunscreen and moisturizing. Just like hydrating your body, keeping your skin moisturized not only helps combat aging in general, but it also helps your tattoo stay in tip-top shape. And now back to the SUN. We love it, we love tanning, we love a good day at the beach or pool. But you know who hates in when it isn’t properly protected with derm-approved sunscreen? Your tattoo. =( SO. Number one rule for anyone getting a tattoo, regardless of tattoo age or your skin color, is to protect with with a high SPF sunscreen. Just as a sidebar, this not only protects your skin and tattoo, but also helps prevent skin cancer. So, love yourself by loving wearing sunscreen. Your future self will thank you every day for it.
So to summarize- don’t get tiny tattoos, steer away from bright colors as much as you can (most everything looks amazing in black and grayscale), give your NEW tattoo the royal treatment as far as aftercare, and WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN.