Think Before You Ink: 4 Most Common Tattoo Regrets

You may or may not know this, but tattoos have been around for thousands of years. According to the Smithsonian, these permanent designs have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, religious and spiritual markings. The reasons people have for inking their body today are not all that different. What is different, however, is the fact that tattoos are now completely mainstream, which is why an increasing number of people is getting them.

Words: Brigitte Evans

It could also be assumed that the driving forces behind the decision to ink one’s body are not as profound and significant as they were in the past. Yes, there are people who want a tattoo to commemorate their life journey and struggles, honour a loved one who is no longer with them, but there are also those who have simply succumbed to the fad. These are the people who get inked simply because they think it looks cool, will look great with their outfits and on their Instagram posts and make them stand out from the crowd and assert their individuality and creativity. There is an abundance of reasons people come to regret making this decision, and hopefully this will serve as a cautionary tale, one that will make you think long and hard before you commit to something so permanent.

1. Classic Mistake

Ah, to be young and in love. When you fall head over heels for someone it doesn’t even cross your mind that there may come a day when you’ll no longer feel that way, or that the other person’s love will fade away. In that moment of absolute infatuation and no regard for consequences, you only think of how awesome it would be to solidify your eternal commitment by placing a permanent mark on your body. This can take the form of a lover’s name, or even matching tattoos featuring a secret symbol whose meaning only the two of you know. In theory, this sounds insanely romantic, but the sad reality is – relationships fall apart, and what you end up with is a permanent souvenir of a relationship gone sour. In this case, you can pull something like Angelina Jolie, and cover the symbol with something else, or go through a long and expensive process of tattoo removal.

2. Bodies Change

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This next regret is something very close to home. My grandma and I had a very special rapport and her death affected me possibly more than anyone else in my family. I always wanted a tattoo, and shortly after she passed, I took it as a sign. I decided to get a gorgeous watercolor tattoo of a rose on my thigh, because my nana’s name was Rose. I was incredibly happy with the result, until I started to gain weight. The stretching of my skin also stretched out my tattoo, completely ruining its shape. Now I wasn’t only miserable about my weight but about my ink too. I tried dieting and exercising, and after failing I decided to undergo a non-invasive liposuction in Melbourne. Given that it’s fairly close to my hometown Sydney, it was super convenient. Yes, I’m  much happier now with my body and the tattoo, but this only goes to prove that our bodies will change, they will grow old, and I’m not sure how I will feel about my ink when I’m much older.

3. Opportunities Lost

This is a very common occurrence – you ink a highly visible spot on your body because your tattoo is a beauty and a fashion statement. Then, a great career opportunity comes around, and you’re perfect for the job in all aspects but one – your dream company frowns upon tattoos. You get either stuck with wearing scarves and long sleeves all year long, or you come clean and lose a career opportunity of a lifetime. Your professional aspirations will grow as you grow, so don’t choose fashion and trendiness over a lifetime of professional happiness.

4. Watch Who's Inking You

A close friend of mine made a mistake many of us do – he wanted a tattoo badly, but didn’t have the money for a high-profile tattoo artist. Instead, he went to a low-key one, and told him that he wanted a Harry Potter quote done in French. The guy said he could do it, but then guess what happened – he messed up the spelling on one of the words and then to cover it up, he simply inked a square over the word and moved on. Needles to say my friend was outraged and had to go to a removal clinic to get the blotchy mistake off.

The lesson is – although there are spectacular works of body art, in order for ink not to hinder your professional life, serve as a constant reminder of your mistakes or represent ugly smudges than spoil your beauty, always think things through, look for the right artists, and most importantly, look into your heart to find good reasons.