One of the most important aspects when it comes to getting a tattoo is where you want to get inked. Arguably, tattoo placement maybe even more important than the actual tattoo design.
This is because so much hinges on where a tattoo is on the body, including how painful the tattoo process will be, how the tattoo will heal, how quickly the tattoo will fade, how visible the tattoo is, and how easy the aftercare process will be.
Some popular choices for tattoo placement include the forearm, the bicep, and the chest for many reasons including reduced pain and ease of cover. But, what else should you consider when it comes to choosing the placement for your body art?
Size And Design
The size and design of your tattoo will play a role in determining which area of the body is best. A larger tattoo design will need a large surface area to do the tattoo justice and avoid too much wrapping.
Smaller designs may be better suited for smaller areas to avoid an excessive amount of blank space around the tattoo.
Consider how your tattoo placement may be affected by future changes to your body. For example, extreme weight loss or pregnancy can have an impact on your tattoo design as some areas of the body are more prone to stretching than others.
“When it comes to weight loss, the biggest changes in the composition of your tattoo will be in its size and location on your body. For instance, if you got a tattoo on the side of your thigh, then lost a considerable amount of weight, the positioning of that tattoo might no longer be the same. Instead of staying in place on the side of your thigh, it might migrate toward the front or the back,”Byrdie
Take some time to explore your personal preferences and lifestyle in order to get clear on what feels most meaningful or significant to you. What do you want your tattoo to represent and where on your body do you feel it will be most fitting?
If you are deciding between different placements, Custom Tattoo Design suggests,
“…take a printed version of the image you want and try moving it around on your body. Roll up some tape on the back of the paper and try sticking it in several places you may be considering. See how you like the placement in each of these areas.”
There are a few tattoo placements that are unpopular in the body art community, and if you’re considering an unusual body part for your tattoo, there are a few things to consider. After all, there are reasons why these particular tattoo placements aren’t done often.
Here are five unusual tattoo placement options and their cons:
Inside Of The Lip
Tattoos on the inside of the lip are not visible unless someone intentionally shows them, which makes it an ideal placement for people who want a secret tattoo. The limited space in this area means that only very basic tattoo designs are done here, such as words.
One of the reasons why inner lip tattoos are unpopular is because they’re painful.
“Lip tattoos tend to be more painful than tattoos on other areas due to the sensitive nature of the tissue, along with the large number of nerve endings in the area. The lip also tends to remain sore and tender for longer once a tattoo procedure has been performed, and moderate to heavy swelling can also be expected,”Authority Tattoo
Bottom Of The Feet
Getting a tattoo on the bottom of the foot can be painful. Also, it may not last as long due to the constant wear and tear of shoes and walking.
The healing process of this tattoo can also be a challenge – you can’t really put that much weight on your tattooed foot, so you may need to take a few weeks off of work.
“When you wear closed shoes with a new tattoo, your tattoo is not able to breathe. On top of slowing down the healing process, this also creates a warm, moist environment around a healing wound – which is the perfect environment for bacteria to creep in, which can very easily lead to an infection,”Ink Art By Kate
Fingernail tattoos are a relatively new trend in the body art world. There are two ways to go about this: Either getting tatted on top of the nail, or getting the nail removed and getting the tattoo on the nail bed.
Obviously, the former is virtually painless, while the latter can be extremely uncomfortable. This placement isn’t the best when it comes to longevity, as nails grow out quickly.
The limited space in the inner ear means that this placement is for mini, discreet tattoos. While this may seem to be the ideal spot for a tiny tat, an inner ear tattoo can fade fast,
“Ear tattoos tend to fade much easier than tats elsewhere on the body. The reason ear tattoos fade easier than others is often due to sunlight exposure,”Authority Tattoo
UVA and UVB rays take their toll on tattoo ink, breaking it down and fading tattoos quickly. So, any tattoo on an area that’s regularly in the sun will fade faster compared to a design that’s hidden.
An armpit tattoo is a bold choice and not for the faint of heart!
“The armpit is among the most painful places, if not the most painful place, to get tattooed. The pain you’ll experience getting tattooed here is very severe. In fact, most tattoo artists advise against people getting armpit tattoos,”Healthline
Generally speaking, any area on the body with thin skin and many nerve endings will hurt. Also, due to the friction against skin and clothing in this area, a tattoo here can lose its luster fast.
Not only that, but the armpit has lymph nodes (they filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid to help the body fight infection) which can treat the tattoo ink as a foreign substance that needs to be removed, further accelerating the fading process.
The main similarities between these tattoo placements are pain and longevity. If you do have your mind set on one of the above areas, there are ways to make the tattoo experience more comfortable and hold off the fading process:
6 Ways To Reduce The Pain Of Getting A Tattoo:
1. Choose The Right Time
To make the whole tattoo process more comfortable, you need to be in good health. Avoid getting a tattoo when you’re feeling stressed, tired, or sick. When you’re well-rested, relaxed, and healthy you’re better equipped to handle the pain.
2. Hydration Is Key
Hydrated skin is a better canvas. So, drink plenty of water leading up to your tattoo session. Not only will this make your skin easier to tattoo, but being well-hydrated can also speed up the healing process.
3. Avoid Alcohol And Drugs Leading Up To Your Appointment
Alcohol and drugs can increase your sensitivity to pain and thin your blood. Excessive bleeding can make the process harder for your tattooist due to poor visibility, thereby prolonging the process. Drugs can also include caffeine!
“Caffeine overconsumption can make you shaky and restless, and during a tattoo, you want to be calm and steady. This can make things harder for your tattoo artist since your restlessness will affect their accuracy and concentration during tattooing,”Saved Tattoo
While a single cup of coffee or green tea is fine, overdoing it can negatively impact your tattoo appointment.
4. Take Breaks
You don’t have to get your tattoo done in one sitting! If the pain becomes too intense, ask your tattoo artist for a break. Taking short breaks to move your body and stretch can help you process the pain.
Speak to your tattoo artist in depth before your appointment; they’ll be able to advise on breaking up the tattoo into multiple appointments.
5. Use Topical Numbing Cream
There are over-the-counter topical numbing creams available to use for your tattoo appointment. Some tattoo studios do offer numbing cream, but others don’t – ask your tattoo artist if numbing cream is provided so that you know if you need to bring your own.
Dermatologist, Lindsey Zubritsky, told Byrdie,
“Numbing cream is typically considered safe to apply before tattoo treatments, especially in areas that are particularly sensitive. However, the numbing cream may or may not be effective depending on the type of ingredients used. Furthermore, numbing cream starts to wear off as soon as it’s wiped away, so it may not last the entire treatment duration.”
If your tattoo artist doesn’t provide numbing cream, ask them which brand they would recommend you to get.
6. Try Relaxation Techniques
Deep breathing, meditation, or other relaxation techniques can help reduce feelings of stress and discomfort. Download some guided meditations to listen to while you’re getting tattooed.
If meditation isn’t your thing, you could also listen to a podcast to take your attention away from the tattoo needle.
4 Tips To Prevent A Tattoo From Fading:
1. Protect Your Ink From The Sun
The sun’s rays can cause damage to tattoos, during and after the healing process. While your tatt is healing, it’s important to avoid exposing it to sunlight. A fresh tattoo is an open wound with no protection on it, so it’s way more vulnerable to the damage of UVA and UVB rays.
Plus, you can’t put sunscreen on your healing tattoo as your skin is open, so it’s best to completely cover up your ink during this time. Once your tattoo is healed, use a high-quality sunscreen with a high SPF to keep your tattoo looking fresh for longer.
2. Moisturize Your Tattoo Regularly
Hydration is important leading up to your tattoo appointment, but it’s also important when it comes to the longevity of your tattoo.
“Again, what’s good for the rest of your skin is particularly good for a tattoo. Dry skin can make a tattoo look blurred or faded. Keeping your skin moisturized is your best bet for a fresh look. While you can buy lotions that are marketed as tattoo lotions, you don’t need to spend the extra money. Avoid lotions with additives and fragrances, which can dry out your skin,”US Dermatology Partners
3. Choose The Right Clothing
Constant friction is one of the top reasons why tattoos fade. Tight clothing, especially those made from synthetic materials, can irritate your skin and damage your tattoo.
So, for the majority of the time, try to choose loose clothing made from natural fibers that won’t rub against your tattoo a lot.
4. Follow Aftercare Instructions
This is one of the best things you can do to make your tattoo last longer! Proper aftercare includes cleaning and moisturizing the tattoo regularly, not scratching or picking at the tattoo, and not submerging your tattoo in water while healing.
From the inside of the lip to the armpit, there are a ton of possibilities for unique and unexpected tattoo placements.
It’s important to keep in mind that certain areas of the body are more prone to fading and pain, and require a bit more care and consideration during the aftercare process. Do your research and chat with your tattoo artist so that you can be prepared!