10 Of The Biggest Tattoo Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Snake And Moon Tattoo @thxtlea

Tattoos are way more accepted in society now than a few decades ago. Many workplaces are fine with employees sporting ink. However, because of the rise in the popularity of tattoos and how easy it is to get inked, people can rush the process and make some pretty bad mistakes. 

If you are excited about getting a tattoo, here are the most common tattoo mistakes to avoid:

Tribal Hand Tattoo @yulytattoo

Not Doing Proper Research

You may see a design on Pinterest you love – this should not be the end of your tattoo research. Always do a deep dive into your chosen design! Symbols have deep meaning and you should know what an image or design represents before getting it permanently inked.

This is especially true with religious symbols and tribal tattoo designs.

“Most tribal tattoos come from cultural practices and rituals. Tattoo application and tattoo designs would be part of those ancient rituals. In many tribal situations, a person has to earn a tattoo in some way,”

Tatt Mag
Flower And Mandala Neck And Chest Tattoo @noomitattoo

If you want a meaningful tattoo, sometimes the best thing to do is create your own design. From ink colors and sizes to symbols that have significance to you, there is plenty to consider when designing a tattoo you’ll love.

Tip: Get a temporary version of your tattoo to see if you really want to get it permanently.

Colorful Fish Hip Tattoo @oneultattoo

Not Choosing A Professional Tattooist 

No matter what design or style you choose – even if you are getting a single-line minimalist tattoo – pick a professional tattoo artist who has experience in the type of tattoo you want.

Yes, professional tattoo artists with experience do charge more than someone who offers to tattoo you in their basement, but it is worth it.

Colorful Crescent Moon Tattoo @tendenzetattoo

Getting inked by a professional tattooist mitigates so many issues that could potentially come with tattoos, including tattoo blowout and infection.

Things to look for when choosing a tattoo artist:

  • Portfolios
  • A clean, well-maintained tattoo shop
  • The right equipment 
  • Good reviews

“Many people interview artists before a tattoo, so artists are accustomed to and comfortable with these discussions. Tattoo artists are also salespeople. They may say, ‘Great! Let’s set up an appointment!’ However, it is always okay to say that you are shopping around as long as you are respectful of the artist’s time,”

Tatt Ring
Mini Monstera Deliciosa Tattoo @pedromoyaj

Basing Your Tattoo On Trends

Trends come and go. A certain theme, design, or placement may be all over Pinterest and Instagram right now, but what looks cool today may not be the same in the future.

It is important to choose a design that has a significant meaning to you and that you’ll still love years down the road. Chasing trends in the tattoo world is not usually a fulfilling way to go. 

If you love the look of a certain design or trend, use it as a jumping off point. Ask yourself what you like about the design and research what it represents. From there you can adjust the design to make it more ‘you’.

Swords And Heart Forearm Tattoo @bimskaizoku

Not Thinking About Tattoo Placement

It is not all about design and style – placement is essential when getting a tattoo. It is important to consider how the design will look in different areas of your body. One way to do this is to draw your chosen tattoo on a piece of paper and move it around your body to see where it looks the best.

For example, if you want a large design, choosing areas like the forearm or shin will make the tattoo wrap around which can slightly distort the design. Whereas a small tattoo on a large area will result in a lot of negative space and may impact any future tattoos you may want to get in that area.

Mini Butterfly Shoulder Tattoo @fiszu_tattoo

“You have to choose a size which is not odd or inapt for the body part you want the tattoo on. So, a tiny tattoo on your back can be silly while a huge tattoo on your neck will just not have enough space for clear representation. So, think carefully about that because the size and placement matter a lot when it comes to the aesthetics of the tattoo design,”

The Tattoopedia

Have a conversation with your tattoo artist and be open to their suggestions – they will be able to advise where your design will look the best.

Then, you need to ask yourself how much you’ll want to hide your ink. Certain areas are on display all of the time – such as the hands and front of the neck. If you want to hide your tattoo often, narrow down placement options to areas that are easily covered by clothes. 

You are also going to want to take your pain threshold into account. Some areas are way more painful to get tattooed than others. Typically, the closer the skin is to the bone, and the less muscle and fat in an area, the more painful getting a tattoo there will be.

Tiger Arm Tattoo @rollinktattoostudio

Not Considering Long-Term Effects 

A tattoo is a permanent addition to your body, so you have got to think about how it will look as you age and go through body changes, and if it may negatively affect future job prospects.

“Your tattoo might move around a bit during weight loss. If your skin gets a bit loose during your weight loss, your tattoo might shift. If you are losing weight while also toning or building muscle, then your tattoo might find itself sculpted to your body in a different way,”

Hush Aesthetics
Death Moth Stomach Tattoo @exile_tattoo_club

Then, gaining weight can also be an issue. For example, if you get a hip tattoo or stomach tattoo, it may be distorted during pregnancy.

Falcon Forearm Tattoo @matt_hewittt

Ignoring Aftercare Instructions 

Getting a tattoo you’ll love for years has a lot to do with design, placement, and your chosen tattoo artist’s skills. But, a key factor for a great-looking tattoo that lasts is proper aftercare. It is essential that your tattoo heals correctly to avoid infection or damage to the design.

“Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections. Caring for your tattoo can prevent those complications and ensure that the tattoo heals properly. Both you and your tattoo artist play equal roles in this process,”

Faces Line Tattoo @dimitri_izi

A professional tattoo artist will ensure the equipment is properly sanitized and ready for use. When you get home, you have to wash your tattoo with sensitive skin soap three times a day, and moisturize afterward with fragrance-free and alcohol-free lotion.

Also, it is essential to stay out of lakes, hot tubs, and the ocean (they have a ton of bacteria) while your tattoo is healing, and to keep your fresh ink out of the sun. The UVA and UVB rays are damaging and can negatively impact the healing process.

Depending on the intricacy and size of your tattoo, the healing process takes anywhere from two to three weeks to a month. You know when your tattoo is healed when all the rough skin and scabs have disappeared, the area no longer feels itchy, and the skin is smooth.

Matching Minimalist Tattoos @prampramtattoo

Not Going To The Doctor When Your Tattoo Is Not Healing Properly

Fever, puss, and rashes are not part of the healing process. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately; don’t stall and try any at-home remedies.

Also, if the swelling and redness don’t go down after a couple of days, these are also signs that your fresh tattoo needs to be looked at by a medical professional. 

Mermaid Tail Inner Arm Tattoo @beyondtatts

“To treat a tattoo infection, a healthcare provider must first know what type of pathogen is causing it. In the event that bacteria is causing the infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. The duration and strength of the antibiotic will highly depend on how far along the infection is and where it is infecting the body,”

Very Well Health

Prevention is better than cure! Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions and always wash your hands before touching your healing tattoo. Also, don’t rub your tattoo with towels or washcloths or scratch it – this can open it up to bacteria. 

Mini Star Tattoos @gracedoestattoos

Rushing To Get Your Tattoo Done 

Spontaneity may be something you love, but it does not have a place in the body art world. Remember, a tattoo is basically for life. Yes, you can get laser tattoo removal, but it is an expensive procedure and results aren’t always guaranteed.

It is essential to take your time when choosing a design – even a flash design. Rushing the process can lead to poor decision-making and regrettable results.

Pet Portrait Tattoo @lujuriatattoo

After your first tattoo, many people are eager to go under the needle again – tattoos can be addictive. However, it is important to give your body a chance to recover before getting inked again.

“After a tattoo, your body is fighting hard to heal and fight any infection from your open (tattoo) wound. So while your body art may look awesome on the outside, your inner body is probably craving a little time to rest and recoup in order to repair your damaged skin,”


So, you want to give yourself enough space to settle on a design you really love, give your body a chance to heal (if you have recently gotten a tattoo), and wait for your chosen tattoo artist to have availability (never settle for an artist who you are not 100% happy with). 

‘ART’ Chest Tattoo @georgemakestattoos

Getting A Tattoo While Under The Influence 

Never drink and get inked. You may be nervous and think you need a few drinks to calm your nerves, but this is not a good idea.

“A drunk person will always be a kind of a nuisance during the tattoo process – fidgeting, distracting, nodding off then jerking awake, aloof, changing their mind back and forth, too impulsive – those things are all non-ideal tattoo situations,”


Plus, alcohol thins your blood which leads to increased bleeding during your appointment. A lot of blood can decrease the visibility of your tattoo artist, meaning a longer and more painful tattoo experience. 

Detailed Fine Line Forearm Tattoo @inkxtreme_tattoo

Not Preparing Yourself Before Your Appointment 

Preparing for your tattoo begins long before you actually walk into a tattoo studio. 

“To best prep the skin, start by moisturizing the area for a couple of weeks prior to your appointment. Also be mindful to drink plenty of water and avoid anything that might irritate your skin,”

Mini Angel Wing Ankle Tattoo @mrs.tattoo_

Other than moisturizing your skin and drinking a lot of water, prepare for your appointment by eating a calorie-rich meal. Getting inked takes a lot out of you – it can increase your stress levels and bring on fatigue, plus it burns up calories. Eating a nutrient-dense meal can help keep your stamina high. 

Also, make sure you have a good night’s sleep before your tattoo appointment. The more tired you are, the more painful and uncomfortable your experience will be. 

Single Rose Collarbone Tattoo @tattooist_sodam

Getting a tattoo is a significant decision that requires proper research, consideration, and care.

By avoiding common tattoo mistakes – like not doing your research, focusing on trends, and not considering the long-term implications of getting inked –  you can ensure that your tattoo will be a beautiful, meaningful addition to your body that you’ll love for years to come.

Remember, a tattoo is permanent! So, take the time to make an informed decision, and choose a professional tattoo artist who can bring your design to life safely.

Recent Posts

DMCA.com Protection Status