8 Signs You’re Not Ready For A Tattoo, According To Tattoo Artists

by Sarah Bunton

Getting a tattoo can be an artistic expression, a spiritual experience, a rite of passage, or just a fun way to commemorate an event. But it wasn't so long ago that sporting body art in western culture carried with it an element of taboo or negative connotations. These days, however, ink has become decidedly more mainstream. Even if you're totally stoked to take the plunge, you might be surprised to know there are quite a few signs you're not ready for a tattoo, according to tattoo artists themselves.

If you truly regret the work you've gotten done, you can always invest in tattoo removal. Unfortunately, that's not the most budget-friendly option. In my experience, you're better off waiting until you are 100 percent sure about the style, location, and size of your tattoo instead of hastily getting inked only to leave the shop with a heaping dose of buyer's remorse. I have my fair share of ink, but I can assure you that all of my pieces were discussed heavily with the tattoo artist beforehand to ensure I'd be happy with the final result. So if you're considering going under the needle, check out these signs that you aren't ready for a tattoo just yet.


You're Thrifty

I love a good deal as much as the next person, but there are just some things you shouldn't skimp on. As Jessica Paige told Tattoo Do, you get what you pay for when it comes to tattoos. If you're on a tight budget but want a grandiose design, you're probably not ready to get inked.


You're Impatient

Even small pieces can take time if you want them done right. "Getting a tattoo is not something you want to rush through," tattoo artist Bob Marrama tells Romper. "Be prepared to set aside some time, especially for large or detailed pieces." So if you're trying to squeeze in an appointment at the tattoo shop on your lunch break, you're not ready yet.


You Haven't Done Your Research

Just like there are different types of tattoos, there are artists with their own style. That's why it's so important to make sure you're familiar with their work and that it aligns with your taste. As Ilona Ciunaite told Tat Ring, you need to know who your tattoo artist is and what their specialty is. Walking into a shop with an expectation for colorful ink when the artist primarily does black and grey is a sign you should wait until you're better prepared.


You Haven't Talked To Your Doctor

Why should your physician have any say in your choice of ink? In an interview with Health Central, tattoo artist Cat Spencer explained, certain medications can thin your blood and compromise your tattoo. Check with your doctor to make sure your prescriptions or medical conditions won't negatively affect your decision to get a tattoo.


You Don't Follow Through

As it turns out, what you do after your tattoo is just as important — if not more so — than getting the ink itself. Marrama tells Romper, "if you can't or won't follow directions for proper after care, the ink can bleed, distort, and your skin can even get infected." That's why it's so vital that you're prepared to take on this process.


You're Not Good With Pain

This isn't to say that all tattoos are incredibly painful. According to the experts at Inked, however, if you have a low pain tolerance, you might not be ready for a tattoo. Consider starting off with a smaller piece to see if you can handle the experience.


Your Idea Is Vague

You don't have to be an artist yourself with a fully illustrated design, but it helps to know what you want. As Ciunaite told Tat Ring, "you are the one who will wear it, so think for yourself." If you leave your idea open to the tattoo artist's interpretation, you could end up disappointed.


You're Under Pressure

Since the tattoo will (likely) be on you for a long time, make sure you're getting it for the right reasons. "Don't get a tattoo if your friends or significant other are pressuring you into it," Marrama tells Romper. "That kind of scenario never turns out well." Remember, your piece of ink should be something you are comfortable with and sure you want.