Two sides of getting ink done
May 8, 2012 • Leslie Verdugo, Features Editor
Filed under Health and Fitness
People define themselves through any means that suits their character. Today, many people in general consider tattooing their bodies the best way to accommodate that. The permanent tributes to one’s self, one’s family, or any other subjects that are deemed important to the person are etched into their skin. The age demographic can range from 16 year-olds up to even those in their 90s. The popularity of tattoos stems from everyday things like t.v. shows, celebrities, and art. However, there are downsides to tattoos that can damage one’s chances at employment, regret, put a dent in their wallet, or even lead to serious health complications.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a tattoo is to “mark a person or part of the body with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin.” Those pigments stay in the stable cells of the skin called the dermis which enable the longevity of the tattoo. In ancient societies tattoos have been used for adornment, religious rites, and status symbols. the Smithsonian has records of female Egyptian mummies with tattoos on their thighs as well as instruments used in tattooing and figurines that had the same tattoos that date back to 1300 B.C. Various cultures over time have employed tattooing such as the Maori, the Indians, Japanese, and African tribes.
Tattooing is used by many for aesthetic or emotional tribute from simple stars to large, intricate Japanese water dragons. Public figures, musicians, actors and actresses on tv display their tattoos and inspire many to ink up their bodies. Teens who are denied this aspiration to get tattoos grow desperate and seek a cheap and accessible way to obtain one. There are such options as homemade tattoos and even events called tattoo parties where amateur tattoo artists mark teens at a low price. Such a decision to pursue these options could lead to the contraction of hepatitis C (which leads to liver failure) or HIV, and skin infections. A more lasting consequence is ending up with a botched tattoo. Nothing is worse than having a bad looking tattoo because it looks cheap and may damage your chances at decent employment if it is visible. The options for removal are painful, laborious, and not to mention expensive which are a consequence the person’s hasty actions.
According to tattoohealth.org, there are “10 million Americans who have at least one tattoo, but that half of them have them removed later”. Options for removal include abrasion (scraping skin off), surgery, and the most common and less painful option of laser removal. Laser removal uses different wavelengths that target certain colors and decomposes them which the immune system flushes out. The procedure can take weeks to months to remove most of it, and during that time you are left with blistered skin. The risks of the end result can include scarring and either hypopigmentation (lightened skin) or hyperpigmentation (darkened skin). It is expensive ranging from $500 to $1000, and it depends on the size of the tattoo.
Even though tattoos are risky there are those who use tattoos to symbolize what is important in their lives. Chryshelle Warnock has a few tattoos that have certain significance to her. On her left foot she has the bass clef and the treble clef upside down to form a heart. This to her show her devotion to choir and music in general. On her left thigh she sports a pin-up girl in a white blouse and black pencil skirt, and this tattoo to her “represents what a pin-up girl is-a strong, independant woman.” She is not worried about regretting the tattoos because she thinks that “by the time I’m old I will not care about appearances.” Charlotte Wilson also has a variety of meaningful and interesting tattoos decorating her body. The tattoos have aesthetic value however, she has other tattoos that have special meaning to her. On her belly she has a rose and a sunflower intertwined that symbolizes her parents (the rose being her father and the sunflower being her mother). The one on her calf is a colorful sugar skull of her design shown in appreciation to the rockabilly culture. The koi fish is her version of the “Bad Fish” which is inspired by a song by her favorite band Sublime. Recently she got a tattoo on her upper back in tribute to her late father. The tattoo quotes the song “Take It Easy” by her father’s favorite band The Eagles, and along the bottom is her father’s name along with the date of his birth and of his passing.
It is common today to get a tattoo, but even more common to regret the decision later. There are those exceptions who are completely satisfied with their body art because it has sentimental value, and that is the best-case scenario. To get a tattoo is risk, so one is advised to proceed with caution.