Tattoos are no longer just for bikers or sailors; doctors, lawyers, teachers and just about everyone is giving into the cool quotient of tattoos. Here are some steps you may have to take into consideration as you prepare to jump onto the tattoo bandwagon.

Step 1: Ask yourself why you want the tattoo. If you want one just because your friends have it or you think it would be cool to have one, hold on! Unlike passing fads, you can’t easily get rid of a tattoo. So, get one only if you think you’re willing to commit to it for a lifetime.

Step 2: Choose a reputable tattoo parlour. Make sure that you only go to a licensed tattoo artist even if he/she charges a higher fee. Choose your tattoo artist based on reputation and experience, feedback from friends who have had tattoos done and the cleanliness of the studio.

Step 3: Choose a good tattoo design. An ideal tattoo will complement your personality. People spend weeks or months thinking about the design of their tattoo, so take your time. Popular tattoo designs include stars, wings, butterflies, hearts, dragons, crosses, flowers, zodiac signs, quotations and foreign scripts. Basically, your tattoo should hold some meaning for you. Whatever you choose, make sure that your tattoo is not offensive to others. Another thing to consider in terms of design is the size of the tattoo. Our skin stretches as we get older, so tattoos look different at different ages. Talk about this to your tattoo artist and choose a design accordingly.

Step 4: Decide where you want the tattoo. The placement of tattoos can be as meaningful as their design. Body parts that get tattooed most frequently include the lower back, wrists, upper arm, ankles, breasts, chest/ribs, shoulders, and hips. Tattoos can be placed strategically to amp the oomph factor or for making a sweet or meaningful statement.

Step 5: Take care of your tattoo. After you’ve been inked, listen to your artist’s instructions and follow them carefully. Keep the bandage on for at least three hours and then remove it carefully. Wash the tattoo with a mild soap and pat it dry, gently, do not rub. Smear some petroleum jelly on it and alternate with antibiotic creams. Avoid sun exposure and prolonged contact with water.

Tattoos are a great way to express your identity but you need to be absolutely sure that you want one. If you’re not sure yet, try out a henna tattoo in the design you want for your actual tattoo and see if you like the way it looks and feels. If you do, a tattoo might just be the thing for you!

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