So you’re a grown woman and you’re thinking of getting a tattoo. What was once reserved for tough guys and biker babes has now become mainstream, although tattoos still raise eyebrows in some circles. Especially when they are on “mature” women.
My first tattoo was an act of rebellion, although I didn’t think of it that way at the time. I was 30 and struggling with living life in an oppressive marriage. The tattoo is on my ankle – a phoenix, and after 14 years it still looks good. I have six tattoos now and they tend to come at turning points and as celebrations. My largest is on my upper left arm and is a tribute to my children and grandchildren. When a new grandchild is born, the tattoo expands. I love tattoos. For me, they are my life illustrated, even though people who don’t know me would have no idea what they mean to me.
For grown-up women considering a tattoo, here are some tips and things to think about:
You will get funny looks from some people – plan on it, and don’t be bothered by it. Everyone has their biases and some people still have a problem with tattoos.
Make absolutely sure you choose something that you will be happy to see on yourself 20 years from now. It’s not going away unless you have it removed via laser (expensive and quite painful).
Be careful where you put the tattoo. Think about how that area will change over the rest of your life and consider the consequences.
Getting a tattoo is painful. Anyone who tells you it isn’t has never gotten one. Depending on where you get the tattoo, it may be more or less painful. My most painful one was on my middle lower back. To me, getting a tattoo is a cross between a cutting and a burning sensation. It’s not a horrible pain, but it’s painful nevertheless.
Make sure you use a reputable tattoo artist. Reputable artists have portfolios that you can view, will explain and/or demonstrate all sterilization and sanitary procedures and ask you to sign a release. They will show you the needle(s) that they intend to use while they are still sealed in their packages. Expect all of this and don’t be shy about asking questions. A good artist will be happy to accommodate you.
Have a good idea of what you want. You can take your own sketches, pictures from books, etc. to the tattoo artist and he or she will help you get exactly what you want. Tattoo shops also have books full of “flash" that you can look at and get ideas from.
Tattoos take about two to three weeks to heal. The process may involve some itching and flaking of the area. This is normal, but for goodness sake, don’t scratch it or pick at it! I use A&D Ointment on mine during the healing process, but different artists will recommend different things. Follow your artist’s advice on how to care for your new tattoo. Don’t freak out when you see some color flake off!
Once the tattoo is healed ALWAYS protect it from sun exposure. Use a good sunblock, but don’t apply sunblock to a tattoo that isn’t yet healed. Color fades when exposed to the sun and in cases of sun exposure over years, the tattoo can lose its definition.
These days, tattoos are considered a form of self-expression and appreciated by many as a true art form. Adults of all ages are sporting tattoos proudly. Make sure you’re ready and you’ve got a great artist. Then go for it!
Lee Ann Lambert is a life coach, garden designer, artist, author, mom and grandmom among many other things. She resides in Michigan and has six tattoos. For more information, check out her website: http://www.leeannlambert.com