Tattoos Are More Common Than Ever Before, But There Are Also Consequences

Decades ago, it felt like tattoos were taboo. If you had ink on your skin, then employers wouldn’t hire you. Your partner’s parents might not take you seriously if you have tattoos all over you. Now, the number of folks with skin art has increased incredibly. More than ever, American culture is embracing individuality and self-expression. If you’re considering getting a tattoo, however, there are some things that you should be aware of, including the risks. Wait until you find out what can happen to your body…

Are They For You?

TV Personality Travis Barker arrives at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino Resort-111202226
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Of course, tattoos aren’t for everyone. Some people love them, and there’s no problem with that. They say that tattoos can become addicting, and once you get one, you’ll want 20 more. Someone with a tattoo on their arm might want it to become a full sleeve.

That might not even have been what they originally wanted, but the first one came out looking better than expected. Do these same people know of all the risks that come with the ink?

The Process Of It

An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder-3138542
F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images
F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images

Everyone old enough probably knows the process of getting a tattoo. An artist grabs the needle and applies it to your skin with the ink. It’s pretty straightforward.

The main objective is to get the ink in the deeper skin layers. That means the needle needs to be fine and dipped while repeatedly sticking into the skin where you want your body art to go. If it sounds like it hurts, don’t worry because it’s just a little tingle.

Call It A Body Modification

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Light Yagami/Pinterest
Light Yagami/Pinterest

When you think of tattoos, they fall into the same category of other body modifications. For example, they’re in the same kin as piercings, hair-dye, branding, splits, and many other bodily changes.

Some people like to decorate their body to the fullest extent. That includes ear and nose piercings, colored hair, and tattoos wherever there is space left. At a certain point, it becomes more than just art, and the modifications are expressions of themselves.

The Cultural Aspect

 the Mursi tribe They are nomadic cattle herders live in the lower Omo Valley inside the mago national park near the Sudanese border.-170795896
Anthony Pappone / Contributor/Getty Images
Anthony Pappone / Contributor/Getty Images

Modding one’s body isn’t something that spurred out of nowhere in popular culture. People have been doing it for centuries across all cultures. Have you ever seen the giant lip plates Ethiopians use? What about the Chinese foot-binding?

Getting creative with your skin isn’t new, and shouldn’t get frowned upon in any manner. It’s what humans have been doing for so long. It just took a while for the trend to hit the western world…

Entering The Western World

Forbes A. Hendry, a tattooist in Victoria, British Columbia, adds the finishing touches to a dragon on the arm of ex-Navy man Joe Williams, February 1965. Looking on are two sailors from the Canadian Forces vessel 'HMCS Saguenay'. -159334995
Jim Ryan/Keystone Features/Getty Images
Jim Ryan/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Even with tattoos being popular so many centuries ago, things didn’t pick up in the western world until the 19th century, thanks to a certain captain. When Captain James Cook came back from Japan and Polynesia with one, he set the trend.

Many became inspired by the sailor and followed in his footsteps. During this time, people were only allowed to get inked overseas, making it easier for those in the military to get onboard of the cool trend.

This next culture might be the best with tattoos…

Polynesian Honor

TATOUAGE A PAPEETE, TAHITI, POLYNESIE FRANCAISE.-945556660
Sylvain GRANDADAM /Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Sylvain GRANDADAM /Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

When it comes to the Polynesian culture, they look at the art of tattooing differently. In America, some view the act as defiant, whereas cultures like the Maori and Samoans see it the exact opposite.

For hundreds of years, they’ve been well-versed in tattooing. They do it for traditional purposes, so it’s token of honor more than anything — even more of a reason to never feel ashamed of your body art. Your ancestors might’ve had ink all over their body as well…

The Start Of The Art

Early photograph of a woman covered with extensive tattoos; toned photograph, 1907-566420285
GraphicaArtis/Getty Images
GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

Finally, after some time of tattoos only being accessible overseas, things changed. When German artist Martin Hildebrandt saw a market opportunity, he opened up a shop in New York in 1846.

People all across New York rode the wave like no other. Then fast forward to 1891, and the electric tattoo machine came out. That’s when tattoos became available for all classes. The world of ink had opened up like no other thanks to that new machine.

There is, however, a dark side of tattoos…

The Other Side Of The Coin

Auschwitz survivor Mr. Leon Greenman, prison number 98288, displays his number tattoo on December 9, 2004 at the Jewish Museum in London, England-72315525
Ian Waldie/Getty Images
Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Even with the positives that come with tattoos, there still is a dark side to the art of inking your body. After it became easier to get ink into people’s skin, people became easier to mark.

One of the most famous examples of this is the marking of innocent Jewish people during the Holocaust. This cruel act turned people into nothing more than a number they could never erase. That’s just one of the cons associated with tattoos…

Livestock Aren’t Safe Either

Pietrain Pig -157891724
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Not only have humans felt the repercussions of the wrong side of tattoos, but animals have too. That’s right, even our livestock is susceptible to tattoos.

Livestock animals such as pigs receive tattoos inside their ear to signify their age, health, and if they’re ready to be slaughtered. If it’s a painful experience for people, imagine how the animals must feel about it, especially if they don’t know what’s going on.

Positive Influence

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Linda lee/Pinterest
Linda lee/Pinterest

With the previously mentioned ill-side of tattoos, there are still plenty of positives about them. They can help people cover things they aren’t too proud to look at, such as scars or burns.

In this light, tattoos make many people feel way better about themselves. Some amputees like to get creative with theirs, and many people enjoy tattoos for an added touch of humor. See, tattoos aren’t all that bad…

Saving Lives With Tattoos

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Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Tattoos even come in handy to save lives; we bet you all didn’t know that. There are medical tattoos that have messages for doctors like someone’s blood type, or if they’re an organ donor or not.

Some also indicate a person’s allergies or warn against resuscitating. All of those things combined come in handy and are very helpful if you ask us — more reasons why you can’t stay opposed to body ink for too long.

Symbolizing Something Important

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia-1127208800
Al Bello/Getty Images
Al Bello/Getty Images

Like we mentioned earlier, tattoos show a person’s sense of pride or belonging. Look at music artist Adam Levine. He sure does have a ton over his body, but we’re pretty sure at least some of them means a great deal to him.

It could be a date, symbol, or word that carries much importance to a person, so much so that they get it forever marked on their bodies. There are tattoos specified for religions, nationalities, and much more.

What’s The Big Issue?

A Tattoo Artist creates a new piece of art at The Manchester International Tattoo Show on August 4, 2012-149832348
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

Even with all the pros surrounding tattoos that seem to outweigh the cons, it isn’t surprising that more are getting inked. People are getting tattoos without a care in the world, but should they be more concerned?

Why would they have a cause for concern if tattoo parlors are clean? Even with the proper hygienic care, there are still some issues surrounding the whole process. What do you think these concerns could be, because it can’t be that bad, right?

Dealing With The Pain

George Burchett tatouant le dos d'une femme lors de l'enregistrement d'une émission télévisée à Londres, Royaume-Uni-558625187
Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

One of the most glaring downsides with tattoos is the pain that comes with them. Yes, some people like to get them after a few drinks, but others endure the discomfort like champions. Some say the process becomes unbearable.

Others say that it stings more depending on where you get the art done. Some artists hurt more than others as well. One of the places where the pain is intolerable is on your spine. Getting one there might cause you to take four shots of whiskey before heading in.

We’ve got another issue coming in hot…

Beware Of Infection

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Light Yagami/Pinterest
Light Yagami/Pinterest

Another issue that should cause some concern is the risk of infection. There would be few things worse than finally getting the tattoo of your dreams, only later to find out your arm swollen red.

If someone whom you don’t trust or know very well offers rates that are too good to be true, there’s probably a reason for that. Even after leaving the parlor with a perfect tattoo, you still have to avoid things like pools, dog licks, and particular creams to ensure safety.

What’s Inside The Ink?

This photo taken on November 29, 2017 shows tattoo inks at a studio in Shanghai.-898604184
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

In this new age of people becoming highly concerned with the food they put in their body, are they equally as cognizant of what’s inside of the tattoo ink? What if they’re getting tattoos without knowing what’s going inside of their skin?

“Not only is the ink made out of extremely dangerous chemicals, like carcinogens, but it also has traces of lead, bacteria, nickel, and arsenic,” AOL reported in 2016. Wow, that sounds highly dangerous…

Tighter Restrictions In Place

Tattoo artist Kat Von D inks a tattoo on someone in an attempt to break the 24-hour Guinness World Tattoo Record at LA Ink December 14, 2007 in West Hollywood, California.-78479188
Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Naturally, adverse reports about the ink led to health departments becoming concerned around the globe. That isn’t the type of news you can ignore, so something had to be done.

They’ve concluded that the ink can possibly cause cancer, congenital disabilities, and bring harm to your lymph nodes. A few countries have implemented tighter restrictions around tattoo ink ingredients. Still, that can’t stop some from getting body art. There are other ways to meet that desire…

Henna is an Alternative Option

Henna tattoo being painted onto the hand of a female Western tourist in Bali, Indonesia-527446334
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

If you or someone you know becomes concerned over the ink, don’t fret. Some alternatives are just as cool, but not as permanent. There are stick-ons you can try to bring out the inner child (of course there are adult versions).

You can also give Henna a try. However, be cautious if you’re going that route. Henna has given some folks a severe reaction even though the ink isn’t getting injected in their skin like regular tattoos…

Don’t Be Too Alarmed

This photo taken on November 29, 2017 shows Wang Qi (L), a web designer and tattoo enthusiast, looking at her smartphone-898604182
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Have we scared you enough yet? Don’t worry, however, if you’ve already received a full arm sleeve. There is no concrete proof yet that says tattoos cause severe issues. That’s just part of the research.

Don’t be afraid to get more. Remember, it can be part of your heritage, you can have a tattoo to honor a family member who’s passed away, or you can have one to remind of you something special. That’s what this next person did…

Rock On Emma!

Actress Emma Stone arrives at the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.-633217172
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TNT
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TNT

Actress Emma Stone for sure didn’t stop from getting the ink on her! She took the risk if you will call it that, so she could honor a loved one. After her mom beat breast cancer, she had tiny bird feet put on her wrist.

The feet are in honor of The Beatles “Blackbird,” which is her mother’s favorite song. What’s better is that Paul McCartney designed it himself. That’s one cool perk of being famous.