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Here’s what you need to know before getting inked for the first time

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Getting your first tattoo isn’t a spur of the moment decision. Here are four important factors to consider when getting a tattoo.

File picture: AP Photo/Martin Mejia

GETTING a tattoo is no big deal these days.

Whether it’s a full back tattoo or secret little heart, a lot more people are getting inked now than 20 years ago.

Even though it’s become common practice, getting your first (or any tattoo) is a big decision.

Tattoos are permanent. You can’t just rub them off when you get bored with it or simply no longer like it.

A tattoo, no matter how small, is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life.

You might be able to work over it, but you cannot get rid of it.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to remove it. You can laser it away or have plastic surgery done to remove it. Bare in mind that the process is not only painful, but pricey as well.

So before you even step into a tattoo parlour here’s what you need to know and consider when getting your first tattoo.

Take your time

Don’t rush into getting a tattoo. If you’re not 100% sure about whether or not you want to do it, then don’t do it all. Feeling spontaneous? Don’t do it. Spur of the moment tattoos are rarely a good idea. Especially if it’s your first time.

Do your homework when it comes to design

Chinese symbols were very trendy a few years ago, but so often people left a tattoo shop with a symbol that they didn’t even verify.

Many tattoo artist have portfolios of designs that you can simply flip through and pick something you like. That process can be overwhelming when looking at so many stunning options at the same time.

Getting something as simple as a butterfly isn’t really that simple. You need to decide on the size, design style and colours.

When you’re done doing your research and know exactly what you want, it’s always a good idea to first sit down with a professional tattoo artist to get their opinion.

They might not be able to tell exactly what to do, but they can offer advice.

When you think you’ve found the perfect design, place a copy of it in plain sight so that you can look at it every day for at least a month. If you STILL think it’s the one after that, then you’re on the right track.

Be 100% sure about the design of your tattoo. Picture: Lawrence Jackson AP

Placement is key

Now that you know what you want, you need to decide where you want it.

How visible do you want your tattoo to be? Many professionals in corporate jobs opt to have their tattoos in places where it’s easy to cover up.

Hand, neck and face tattoos are not easy to cover up.

Remember that your skin changes as you age. Breasts sag. Your belly or bottom might not always be a firm as it was in your 20s.

Size and placement is key. Picture: Reuters Yves Herman

Choose your tattoo artist wisely

Tattoo artists have different styles. So depending on your design, you might want to look at specific artist that will help you achieve the look you want.

Some might be more expensive than others. Shop around to get an idea on prices. Going with the cheapest artist might cost you in the long run.

When researching an artists, look out for experience and health standards as well.

Each tattoo artist has their own unique style. Picture: Daniel Munoz Reuters