Are Tattoos Worth It? The Pros, Cons, And Things To Consider

Tattoos are more popular than ever, with roughly 30% of people in the U.S. having at least one. But are they really worth it? Getting inked is permanent, so it’s smart to carefully weigh the pros and cons first.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: For many people, the self-expression, sentimental meaning, and confidence tattoos can provide are worth the pain, cost, and permanence. But tattoos aren’t for everyone.

Think hard about your motivations and do thorough research to determine if getting a tattoo is right for you.

The Potential Benefits and Rewards of Getting a Tattoo


One of the main reasons people choose to get a tattoo is for self-expression. Tattoos can be a unique and creative way to showcase one’s personality, beliefs, and values. They allow individuals to express themselves visually and make a statement without saying a word.

Whether it’s a small symbol or a full sleeve, tattoos offer a canvas for self-expression that can be deeply personal and meaningful.

Memorial or emotional significance

Tattoos can also serve as a powerful way to memorialize a loved one or commemorate a significant event. Many people choose to get tattoos that symbolize a person or moment that holds great emotional significance in their lives.

These tattoos can serve as a constant reminder of cherished memories, providing comfort and a sense of connection to the past.

Increased confidence and sense of identity

For some individuals, getting a tattoo can boost their confidence and help them develop a stronger sense of identity. Tattoos can be a form of self-affirmation, allowing people to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness.

They can serve as a reminder of personal growth, overcoming challenges, or simply embracing one’s individuality.

Joining a subculture

Tattoos have long been associated with various subcultures and communities. From the punk and rock scenes to the world of body art enthusiasts, tattoos can signify belonging and provide a sense of community.

People often choose tattoos that align with their interests or passions, allowing them to connect with like-minded individuals and become part of a larger community.

Conversation starter

Tattoos can be great conversation starters. They often pique curiosity and intrigue, leading to interesting conversations and connections with others. Whether it’s a beautifully designed piece or a tattoo with a unique story behind it, people are often drawn to inquire about tattoos, providing an opportunity to share stories, experiences, and even forge new friendships.

Adrenaline rush

Getting a tattoo can be an exhilarating experience. The process of getting inked involves a certain level of pain and discomfort, which releases adrenaline in the body. This adrenaline rush can create a sense of excitement and thrill for some individuals, making the tattooing experience memorable and unique.

It’s important to remember that while tattoos offer numerous potential benefits, they are also a permanent commitment. Before deciding to get a tattoo, it’s crucial to carefully consider factors such as design, placement, and long-term implications.

Tattoos should be a well-thought-out decision that aligns with your values and personal preferences.

The Drawbacks and Downsides of Tattoos

Pain of getting tattooed

One of the main drawbacks of getting a tattoo is the pain involved in the process. The level of pain can vary depending on the individual’s pain tolerance, the location of the tattoo, and the size and complexity of the design.

While some people may find the process tolerable or even enjoyable, others may find it to be quite uncomfortable.


Another aspect to consider is the permanence of tattoos. Once inked onto the skin, it is challenging to remove or alter the design. While there are tattoo removal techniques available, they can be expensive, time-consuming, and may not always guarantee complete removal.

It’s essential to carefully consider the long-term commitment and potential regret that may arise from getting a tattoo.

Risk of infection or other complications

Getting a tattoo involves breaking the skin, which can create a risk of infection or other complications. It is crucial to choose a reputable and professional tattoo artist who follows proper hygiene practices and uses sterilized equipment.

Additionally, individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or compromised immune systems, should consult with a healthcare professional before getting a tattoo to assess the potential risks.

Time and money investment

Getting a tattoo is not only a financial investment but also a time commitment. The cost of tattoos can vary depending on factors such as the size, intricacy of the design, and the reputation of the tattoo artist.

Additionally, larger and more detailed tattoos may require multiple sessions, further increasing the time and financial investment.

Employment discrimination

While society’s perception of tattoos has evolved over the years, some workplaces still have strict policies against visible tattoos. This can result in individuals with visible tattoos facing employment discrimination or limitations on job opportunities.

It’s essential to consider the potential impact of visible tattoos on future career prospects before getting inked.

Fading and distortion over time

Over time, tattoos can fade and distort due to factors such as sun exposure, aging, and changes in body weight. While proper care and maintenance can help prolong the vibrancy of tattoos, it’s important to be aware that they may not retain their original appearance indefinitely.

Regular touch-ups may be required to maintain the desired look.

Before getting a tattoo, it’s vital to carefully consider the drawbacks and downsides associated with the process. It’s recommended to thoroughly research and weigh the pros and cons to ensure that getting a tattoo aligns with one’s personal preferences, lifestyle, and long-term goals.

Key Factors to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

Thinking about getting a tattoo? Before you make that permanent commitment, it’s important to consider a few key factors that will impact your decision. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

Motivation and meaning

One of the first things to consider is your motivation and the meaning behind the tattoo. Tattoos are a form of self-expression and can hold great significance for the person getting inked. Take some time to reflect on why you want a tattoo and what it will represent for you.

Is it a tribute to a loved one, a symbol of personal strength, or simply a piece of art that you admire? Understanding your motivation and the meaning behind the tattoo will help ensure that you choose a design that truly resonates with you.

Design (style, size, placement)

The design of your tattoo is another important factor to consider. Think about the style and aesthetic that you prefer. Are you drawn to bold, colorful designs or more minimalist and delicate artwork? Additionally, consider the size and placement of your tattoo.

Some designs may work better on certain parts of the body, while others may be more versatile. Take the time to research different tattoo styles and consult with a professional artist to help you choose a design that suits your preferences and fits well on your chosen body part.

Quality of artist and studio

When it comes to getting a tattoo, the quality of the artist and studio is crucial. Look for a reputable tattoo artist with a portfolio of work that aligns with your desired style. Take the time to read reviews, ask for recommendations, and visit the studio in person to ensure that it is clean and follows proper hygiene practices.

Remember, a tattoo is a long-term investment, so it’s important to choose a skilled artist who can bring your vision to life with precision and expertise.

Maintenance needs

Another factor to consider is the maintenance needs of your tattoo. Tattoos require proper care and attention to ensure they heal well and maintain their vibrancy over time. This includes following the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist, protecting your tattoo from excessive sun exposure, and moisturizing regularly.

It’s important to be prepared for the commitment of caring for your tattoo in order to keep it looking its best for years to come.

Future lifestyle and body changes

Lastly, it’s important to consider how a tattoo may impact your future lifestyle and body changes. Will your tattoo be visible in professional settings? Will it still hold meaning for you as you age? While tattoos are a personal choice, it’s important to think about how they may be perceived in different contexts and how they may evolve with you over time.

Additionally, consider how factors such as weight fluctuations or pregnancy may affect the appearance of your tattoo. Taking these potential changes into account can help you make a decision that you’ll be happy with in the long run.

Cost Breakdown of Getting a Tattoo

When considering getting a tattoo, it is important to take into account the various factors that can affect the overall cost. Here is a breakdown of the different elements that contribute to the price of a tattoo:

Artist’s hourly rate

The artist’s hourly rate is one of the primary factors influencing the cost of a tattoo. The more experienced and skilled the artist, the higher their hourly rate is likely to be. Artists with a strong reputation and a long list of satisfied clients may charge more for their services.

On average, tattoo artists charge anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour.

Tattoo size and complexity

The size and complexity of the tattoo design also play a significant role in determining the cost. Larger and more intricate designs require more time and effort to execute, resulting in a higher price.

For example, a small, simple tattoo may cost around $50 to $100, while a larger, detailed design can range from $200 to $500 or more.

Body placement

The location of the tattoo on your body can affect the cost as well. Certain areas, such as the hands, feet, and ribs, are more difficult to tattoo and may require additional skill and precision from the artist.

These areas are often more sensitive and may require more time and effort to complete, resulting in a higher price tag.

Number of sessions

In some cases, a tattoo may require multiple sessions to complete, especially for larger or more complex designs. Each session will incur additional costs, as the artist needs to spend more time working on the tattoo.

It’s important to discuss this with your artist beforehand to get a clear idea of how many sessions will be needed and how much each session will cost.

Tipping etiquette

While tipping is not mandatory, it is customary to tip your tattoo artist for their hard work and dedication. Tipping is a way to show appreciation for the artist’s skill and the time they have invested in creating your tattoo.

It is generally recommended to tip around 15-20% of the total cost of the tattoo, just as you would with other service providers.

When considering the cost of getting a tattoo, it’s essential to remember that quality and experience should be prioritized over price. While it may be tempting to opt for a cheaper option, it’s important to choose a reputable artist who can deliver the results you desire.

Researching different artists, looking at their portfolios, and reading reviews can help you make an informed decision.

Aftercare Tips and What to Expect During Healing

Once you’ve gotten a new tattoo, proper aftercare is essential to ensure optimal healing and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Caring for a new tattoo

Immediately after getting a tattoo, your artist will clean and bandage the area. It’s crucial to follow their instructions for cleaning and applying ointment to keep the tattoo clean and moisturized. Avoid picking at scabs or scratching the tattoo, as this can lead to infection or cause damage to the design.

Pro tip: Use a fragrance-free, gentle antibacterial soap to clean the tattooed area twice a day, pat it dry with a clean towel, and apply a thin layer of tattoo-specific ointment or moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.

What’s normal vs. signs of infection

During the healing process, it’s common for your tattoo to experience some redness, swelling, and minor discomfort. However, it’s essential to distinguish between normal healing and signs of infection.

If you notice excessive pain, pus, increased redness, or warmth around the tattoo, it may indicate an infection.

Pro tip: If you suspect an infection, contact your tattoo artist or seek medical attention promptly. Infections can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.

Estimated healing timeline

Every person’s healing process is unique, but generally, tattoos take about 2-3 weeks to heal completely. During this time, the tattooed area will go through different stages of healing, including peeling and itching.

It’s crucial to resist the temptation to scratch or pick at the tattoo, as it can prolong the healing process and affect the final result.

Pro tip: Avoid exposing your new tattoo to direct sunlight and excessive moisture during the healing period. These factors can slow down the healing process and potentially cause fading or infection.

Impact on activities

While your tattoo is healing, certain activities may need to be adjusted to ensure proper healing. Avoid swimming, soaking in hot tubs or saunas, and participating in activities that may cause excessive sweating or friction on the tattooed area.

It’s also important to wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent irritation.

Pro tip: If you have any concerns about how certain activities may impact your healing process, consult with your tattoo artist for personalized advice.

Long-term care

Once your tattoo has fully healed, it’s important to continue taking care of it for the long term. Protect your tattoo from sun exposure by applying a high SPF sunscreen whenever it’s exposed to sunlight. Moisturize the tattoo regularly to prevent dryness and maintain its vibrancy.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about which products or techniques to use for long-term care, consult with your tattoo artist or dermatologist for guidance.


At the end of the day, whether tattoos are ‘worth it’ is a highly personal choice. For many tattoo enthusiasts, the rewards outweigh any downsides. However, tattoos require serious thought and commitment.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons, assessing your motivations, and choosing wisely, you can determine whether getting inked is right for you.

If you do decide to get a tattoo, go into the process informed about proper artist selection, cost, aftercare, and long-term maintenance. With the right prep work and self-reflection, your tattoo has a better chance of being a satisfying and meaningful lifetime companion.

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