The Real Pros and Cons of Face and Body Tattoos

Updated on June 29, 2020
compu-smart profile image

I have two tattoos: 1, the name of a girlfriend and 2, a religious cross. She is no longer my girlfriend, and I am no longer religious.

The list of pros and cons below will help you decide whether it's worth the time, pain, and money to have something etched permanently under your skin.

Heads-up! Don't dim the lights, otherwise she will practically disappear!
Heads-up! Don't dim the lights, otherwise she will practically disappear!

Fashions and Trends Do Not Last Forever

How many times do we change our minds, tastes, and opinions? How often have we changed the design of our duvet, cushion covers or the colour of our home walls? Or got bored with our desktop/mobile screensaver?

That is what it's like when you decide to have artwork permanently etched on your skin. Human species are prone to changing their minds. Changing the things that we no longer like, or no longer represents us because we all evolve, change and grow, young adults and the elderly alike.

For example, I have two tattoos: the name of a girlfriend and a religious cross. She is no longer my girlfriend, and I am no longer religious.

The Pros of Having a Tattoo

For Beauty and Style

  • The right tattoos in the right places look very cool.

  • Tattoos are a great way to break the ice and start a conversation with strangers (a pro and con!).
  • A great way to express what you like using words and images. Not great if you have.
  • Transform stretch marks, wrinkles and birthmarks into works of art with a cleverly placed tattoo design.

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? 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. And, 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 it in the event of a medical emergency could be life saving! Note: Not 100% reliable or a dead cert to be useful!


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

20 Worst Tattoos You Wont Believe Actually Exist

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" can have a single needle and up to 30+ needles. The more needles used, the quicker the tattoo can be inked, and less uncomfortable the feeling. Bottom-line, Everyone feels pain differently on different parts of their body.
  • I've had my fair share of 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 bruising if that area on my arm was covered in a tattoo.

Criminal / Medical Complications

  • 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 tattoos.
  • 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."

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 hand, face and neck, but times have changed, and who knows how things will change again in the future!
  • Traveling to some countries include Germany, France & Slovakia, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam and 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 social person outgoing person who likes to mingle with the crowd.


  • 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 to have it removed. Or paying for another tattoo to cover up your original tattoo is an option.


  • Tattoos are not good if you're a criminal who has been identified by your tattoos.
  • Rehabilitated prisoners who thought it was cool to have home-made prison tattoos while inside, now regret them. Most, try to keep them covered. Others have had them covered up with modern and traditional tattoos.


  • Face (portrait) tattoo will end up ageing 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!


  • Having tattoos before body-building will do two things, make your smaller tattoos larger, and distort the ones you already have. Not look good if they are faces of loved-ones!
  • 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.
  • 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". (video below)

Skin Cancer Signs

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 who was named, Otzi the iceman discovered on the border between Austria and Italy.
  • Your 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.
  • Glow-in-the-dark tattoos are tattoos which can be seen under Ultra Violet light!
  • A study revealed that people with tattoos are slightly more sexually active and more adventurous.
  • Diamond Rich is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the most tattooed person in history. (video below)

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 who will not agree and find them totally unacceptable.

Find a good tattooist. It is worth investing that extra cash for a professional and experienced tattooist. You don't want to end up with an infection or HIV, along with a good or bad tattoo!

As for giving an apprentice tattooist a chance to gain experience by tattooing me, personally, I'd prefer a tattooist who is still practicing and mastering their craft, practice on someone else!

Most Tattooed Man! Lucky Diamond Rich

Have you now changed your mind about getting a tattoo?

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    • compu-smart profile imageAUTHOR


      7 days ago from London UK

      Thanks, Chuck,

      BTW, I don't know if you received the memo (email) from Hubpages which states that the word "hub" should be replaced with "article", and "hubbers" as "authors"!

      Aside from that, that's very true what you say about the tattoo 'removal' business booming, just as much as the tattoo business!

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 

      7 days ago from Tucson, Arizona

      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.

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      11 days ago

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

    • compu-smart profile imageAUTHOR


      12 days ago from London UK

      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.

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      13 days ago

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


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