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The Real Pros and Cons of Face and Body Tattoos

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The list of pros and cons (positives and negatives) below will help you decide whether it's worth the time, pain, and money to have something etched permanently under your skin. Plus, five temporary and painless tattoo ideas, top tips, and interesting tattoo (body art) facts.


How often do we change our minds, tastes, and opinions? How frequently do we alter the design of our duvet covers, cushion covers, or the colour of the walls in our home? Or become tired of our desktop/mobile screensaver?

That is what it is like when you choose to have artwork permanently etched on your skin, because the human species is prone to changing their minds – altering things that we no longer like or represent us – because we all evolve, change, and grow, regardless of our age.


The Pros of Having a Tattoo

For Beauty and Style

  • Much like hairstyles and clothing styles, the right tattoos in the right places don't just look cool; they can show your personality and individuality—and express what you like, but using words and images. However, people may judge you "like a book" by your cover.
  • Tattoos are a great way to break the ice and start a conversation with strangers (pro and con!), depending on the individual.
  • A percentage of women will only date guys who are tattooed. And, a percentage of women will not date a guy with tattoos. (pro and con!).
  • Tattoos are ideal for concealing the obvious tell-tale signs of scars (track marks) of drug users from their frequent use of injecting drugs.
  • Those with scars from wrist cutting (a deliberate act of self-harm) can use tattoos to disguise them.
  • Transform stretch marks, wrinkles, and birthmarks into works of art with a cleverly placed tattoo design (as shown in the image below).


Continued: For Beauty and Style.

  • Lip tattooing (lip blushing/cosmetic tattoo) involves tattooing the lips to reshape or change the colour, and will typically last for about two to three years.
  • Tattooed eyebrows are a semi-permanent beauty treatment and will last for around 12 - 36 months before they begin to fade. Microblading is another option.
  • A tattoo can replace the need to apply eyeliner. This is very popular among men (guy-liner) as well as women. Eyeliner tattoos will last between 12 and 18 months.
  • Post-mastectomy nipple and areola tattooing is another way tattoos can be used to enhance your beauty or correct any medical problems you have.
  • If you've always wanted a beauty spot (mole) on your face or body, a tattoo is one option.

For Identification

  • If you have been killed or murdered and your body dismembered and dumped, tattoos are an ideal way for body parts to be identified, if and when the need arises.
  • A great excuse (from my observations) to expose yourself, especially when you have tattoos in private places! Example; Hey! Wanna see my monkey tattoo on my chest? Sure. How about I show you its tail!

For Health

  • A survey of college students found that tattoos increased their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Tattoos with personal information about you located in the right place on your body "could" prove to be handy. (if it's not drowned out by dozens of other tattoos). Because a tattoo located in the right place with information about your blood type and any allergies you may have, which a medic can see in the event of a medical emergency, could be life-saving! Note: Not 100% reliable or a dead cert to be useful!

Amazing Tattoo Ideas – Best Tattoos in the World

Never get a tattoo under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a dare, bet, or under the influence of love, because like alcohol and drugs, your love for someone can also be a temporary high!

The Cons of Having a Tattoo


  • If you don't like injections, you won't like being tattooed. And even you don't mind injections, having a tattoo on certain parts of the body can be extremely painful. Tattoo machines, also known as "guns", (a word tattooists don't like using) can have a single needle and up to 30+ needles. The more needles used, the quicker the tattoo can be inked, and the less uncomfortable the feeling. Bottom-line, everyone feels pain differently in different parts of their body. The good news? Tattooists now have special creams that numb the area, but due to different people's pain thresholds, they're not necessarily effective for everyone, so discuss this with your tattooist during your consultation.
  • Top tips for toughening sensitive skin in preparation for tattooing is to do what martial artists do to harden and condition their bones. But, rather than repeatedly beating your fists, forearms, and shins with pieces of wood or body-slamming into cement or rocks, use a 'nail brush' or 'scrubbing brush' every day to gently scrub the areas to be tattooed (with care) for a couple of weeks prior to the inking event.
  • I've had my fair share of inexperienced nurses who were unable to inject properly a needle into my arm to administer fluids, or extract blood. Aside from the pain, I would never have seen the black-and-blue bruising on my arm if that area was covered with a tattoo.

Worst Tattoos You Won’t Believe Exist

Medical / Criminal Complications

  • Does an MRI machine affect tattoos? Physicist Moriel N. Aiver, said, "If you have them and need an MRI scan, be sure to tell your doctor and the MRI technologists, so they can evaluate the risk versus the benefit. If your tattoo's ink does not have any iron in it, then it should be pretty safe."
  • Do not get tattooed if you are taking any blood-thinning medications. (also known as anticoagulants).
  • Anyone covered in tattoos who are suspected of driving while over the limit can never use the "I don't like needles" excuse to avoid the police taking a blood test specimen to check if you were over the limit.
  • If you've been assaulted, manhandled or someone tried to strangle you, how are the police or medics supposed to see the marks and bruising on your body if it's covered with tattoos!?
  • If you've been in an accident or have been assaulted and covered in bruises, grazes, scratches, or cuts, it's going to take the medics a lot longer to see where you've been injured, especially with a body full of different coloured tattoos.
  • In the event of being in a road/car accident and suffering from serious injuries, it will inevitably take much longer to spot discolouration of the skin and have all your injuries evaluated. And the more tattoos someone has, the more time-consuming it will be. Basically; it's easier to find Wally (Waldo) on a 'blank' canvas!
  • If you're about to have plastic or cosmetic surgery, your surgeon will not be too pleased when they have to draw on a tattooed covered body to mark the area to be operated on. Dr Sobel, a cosmetic surgeon, said, "Marking my patients allows me to describe their procedure visually as well as ensure a great result" (as shown in the image below).

Social Reasons

  • Years ago, you would never be allowed to join the police force or take on other types of employment with tattoos on the hands, face and neck, but times have changed. Quite often, heavily tattooed actors are wanted for film and music videos, but who knows how the 'popularity' of tattoos will change again in the future!
  • Travelling to the world’s least tattoo-friendly countries, and/or showing off certain themed tattoos in the wrong country could land you in jail, deported or fined.
  • People are more inclined to distance themselves from people who have tattoos on their hands, neck, and especially face. For some people, It's not the placement of the tattoos, but rather the subject which would determine how fearful they would be. Not ideal if you're a socially outgoing person who likes to mingle with the crowd.
  • Many tattoo designs are based on imagery and symbols that have meaning personal to each person. They can also communicate extremist political, religious, social, and morally reprehensible ideas. So, if you plan on designing or choosing your tattoo, you must choose your design, symbols, and shapes very carefully.
An amazing hand tattoo

An amazing hand tattoo


  • Tattoos, as well as personal tastes, fade over time, so the worst thing about paying for a tattoo you no longer like or want is having to pay again for a tattoo removal procedure, which can take several weeks or longer and could be just as painful as having the original tattoo. Deciding to replace an unwanted tattoo could leave you with an ugly or weird-coloured scar. For these reasons, it might make more sense to cover the old tattoo with a new, more attractive tattoo.
  • When abroad, be cautious with language barriers when asking for a tattoo with a name, words or a Chinese symbol because you don't want anything offensive or wrongly spelled or designed.


  • Tattoos make a police officer's job much easier because many criminals who thought they were completely covered up were identified and caught by their exposed tattoos.
  • Rehabilitated prisoners, who thought it was cool to have homemade prison tattoos while inside, now regret them. Mostly, try to keep them covered. Others have had them covered up with modern and traditional tattoos.


  • As we age, our skin becomes thinner, softer, and less elastic, so for most people above the age of 50, getting tattooed might be slightly more challenging and more likely to take a new tattoo longer to heal, as well as more susceptible to bruising.
  • Face (portrait) tattoos will end up aging along with you as you age. As your body starts to sag and crease/wrinkle, so will the tattoo! So, think about where you position your tattoos!


  • Tattoos will make it harder to notice any build-up of dirt, smudges, or accidental staining, so take extra care and attention when washing tattoos.


  • As with any surgical procedure, there are always risks with being tattooed. The degree of risk depends on the size of the tattooed area, the tattooist's level of experience, and the ink which is used.
  • Having tattoos before body-building will do two things, make your smaller tattoos larger, and distort the ones you already have, especially if they are the faces of loved ones!
  • Beware of having a tattoo if you're severely overweight or underweight (especially in fleshy areas) because there is a possibility that your tattoo will become distorted if you gain or lose weight, which will not look good if you have a tattoo of someone's face!
  • Ink safety: some inks contain pigments used in printers and car paints. The FDA has not approved certain pigments for injection into the skin for cosmetic purposes. The FDA has alerted consumers, tattoo artists, and retailers of the potential dangers.
  • A study found that 0.6-7% of adults who had a tattoo experienced infectious complications. The most common problems are an allergic reaction to tattoo pigments (the different metal elements used in ink colours). As well as bad reactions that can happen immediately after being tattooed, or many years later.
  • Tattoos of faces and other designs will get distorted with severe weight loss or weight gain, which can happen to anyone in life due to food consumption (obesity), complications from taking medications or other medical problems.
  • Tattoos can cause infections and other complications, including allergic reactions. This can occur years after having a tattoo. More health risks involved, published by the FDA.
  • Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are one of the most common cancers in the world. These types of cancers will develop in the upper layers of the skin. Not easy to detect when your body is covered in tattoos. However, they can be curable if detected and treated early. But not if cancer happens to be growing/appearing undetected under a tattoo you may have! So even one tattoo in the wrong place could be potentially deadly! Dr Robert Shmerling, the faculty editor at Harvard Health Publications, says, "tattoo inks also make it difficult to evaluate and monitor moles".


  • Anyone with tattoos and other physical alterations 'can' donate their body to medical science.
  • Depending on where you live, you may have to wait a few months before donating blood after being tattooed.
  • Once tattooed, you can't swim, soak it, sweat, use a sauna, or weight train (stretch the muscles and skin) for at least 5-weeks after being tattooed. And you must avoid direct sunlight and wearing tight-fitting clothing to allow the healing process.

Homemade Tattoos

All you need is the correct ink and needle to perform a (stick and poke) DIY home-made tattoo. However, this can be seriously dangerous and can put your health at risk of skin infection. It is always advisable to have them professionally tattooed. This could be a pro or a con, depending on the outcome.

Why Not Try a 'Temporary Painless' Tattoo!

  1. Draw or paint your own design using a felt-tip (Sharpie) pen or body paint, but make sure they're non-toxic to avoid any allergic reactions to sensitive skin.
  2. Henna dyes are a great way to see what it looks like to have a tattoo. Henna tattoos will last a few days to several weeks.
  3. Tattoo stickers can also be used to 'test the waters' before you decide on a permanent tattoo.
  4. Sleeve tattoos are a collection of smaller tattoos that covers part or all of a person's arm. You can buy either a sleeve transfer or a nylon elastic arm stocking.
  5. Tattoo transfers are another option (as shown in the image below).
A 'Sleeve Tattoo' transfer, as modelled by the Youtuber, the Drunk Bridesmaid

A 'Sleeve Tattoo' transfer, as modelled by the Youtuber, the Drunk Bridesmaid

If You Decide the Pros Outweigh the Cons

What design do you want? Where do you want it? How big or small? What colours will it be? Will its position on your body affect your job prospects in the future? Will clothing cover be able to cover them up if and when they need to be? Because although tattoos are becoming more and more popular and acceptable, there will always be a part of society that will not agree and find them totally unacceptable.

Find a good tattooist. It is worth investing that extra cash in a professional and experienced tattooist. You don't want to end up with an infection or HIV, or a tattoo on your arm which reads, "No Regrets".

Interesting Tattoo Facts

  • The oldest discovery of a tattooed person dates back to 3370 and 3100 BC, which was on a natural mummy of a man they named, 'Otzi the iceman'. He was discovered under the glacier Alps on the border between Austria and Italy.
  • Smart tattoos, aka (epidermal electronic systems) are a new way to wear technology that adds function to your skin. From medical monitors to smartphone interfaces. They can monitor and treat health issues in real time. Send signals to devices via touch, and allow users to interact with the world around them. Including tattoo inks that change colour as the body temperature changes.
Smart tattoos

Smart tattoos

  • In America, tattooed women were so rare and unusual they were regularly displayed as circus freaks.
  • The skin is pierced up to 3000 times per minute by a tattoo machine, and the first tattoo machine was inspired by Thomas Edison’s electric pen.
  • Black is the easiest colour to remove during a tattoo removal laser procedure, unlike lighter colours like green and yellow.
  • A woman in the Netherlands has received a tattoo remotely by a robotic artist over 300 miles away with 5G cellular technology.
  • You have to be very unlucky to be struck by lightning, but if you're lucky enough to survive, you could end up with a free, instant 'tattoo-like marking' called a Lichtenberg figure. This marking was named after the German physicist who discovered the 'tree-like shaped patterns' that can result from the electrical discharge (as shown in the image below).

Continued: Interesting Tattoo Facts

  • The most popular tattoo designs are stars, dragons, hearts, stars, skulls, flowers, and tribal designs.
  • Glow-in-the-dark tattoos are tattoos that can be seen under ultraviolet light!
  • A study revealed that people with tattoos are slightly more sexually active and more adventurous.
  • Thousands of people around the world were inspired to have a tattoo of a bee, to raise funds for the victims of the bombing at the Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert. A bee tattoo is a symbol of loyalty, wisdom, strength, and being industrious.
  • Gregory Paul McLaren, aka Lucky Diamond Rich, is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the most tattooed person in history. (Video below.)

Most Tattooed Man! Lucky Diamond Rich

Final thought (quote) from the American country music singer-songwriter Earl Dibbles Jr; "Sometimes, the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos, and sometimes, the most judgemental people you see go to church on Sunday".

© 2020 Tony Sky


Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on June 29, 2020:

Great Hub with a lot to think about when it comes to tattoos. Personally, I don't care for them and would never get one. I remember reading a couple of years ago or so that that the tattoo removal business was beginning to rival the tattoo business itself so those considering getting a tattoo should consider the cost of both the tattoo and the future cost of having it removed.

The Lion Queen on June 25, 2020:

Yes!!!! I love that you looked “oxytocin” up

Tony Sky (author) from London UK on June 24, 2020:

OMG, That is exactly what I would like, some kind of formula, but preferably made-up and original!

Below info is courtesy of the WWW.

Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. It's sometimes known as the "cuddle hormone" or the "love hormone," because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially.

The Lion Queen on June 22, 2020:

If I were to ever get a tattoo it would be the molecular formula of oxytocin. That's what's on my wall.