Getting a tattoo has reached all-time highs in regards to popularity with many men and women exposing tattoos that tell the world a little about themselves, what they believe in, and who they are. Some people have covered their whole bodies with tattooed designs, while others get small insignia to symbolize various things-or nothing at all. Because tattoos are so versatile and the dimensions are left to the individual, size, color, and subject possibilities are endless! However, everything in life has good sides and bad sides-and tattoos are no exception. Tattoos can be used as design elements or marks of symbolization-to make an individual stand out from the rest or become recognizable. On the other hand, some people tend to regret their permanent decision in later years after leaving their youth behind.

Those who are tattooed are really in a class of their own, especially if their permanent ink has a significant meaning. With the advancement in tattoo creation, colors, down to the tools used to tattoo on the skin-tattoos can be almost anything you could want anywhere you want it! You can access vast amounts of tattoo designs today through magazines, libraries, journals, and most popular-the Internet, which is the biggest resource as of now. You could also ask those who already have tattoos, they can give you ideas and let you know how a design will ultimately look on yourself.

The opposite spectrum of the good side of tattooing is easily researched or understood. Tattooing requires the piercing of the skin, with multiple needles at a time. Excessive bleeding, and possibly infection are the possible risks involved outside of the pain. The risks increase greatly when a parlor or artist is using equipment that is not sanitized properly or the environment is an open door for bacteria.

Another obstacle from some to deal with is the removal process-in the event that they get a bad tattoo by chance, or don't want it later down the road. It's not only an expensive process, it has been said to be more painful than getting the actual tattoo itself-and requires several sessions to remove the tattoo-that depends on the colors used within the tattoo design.

Overall, tattoos are no matter to be taken lightly. If an individual has any apprehension at all towards getting a tattoo-it's always best to wait and be certain before getting something permanently inked into the skin. One way to determine if you will like a design later down the road is to print a picture-or draw the image out on a piece of paper that you can put somewhere where you will see it everyday. This will give you an (somewhat of) an idea of looking at it on your body everyday. If you know you want one, but may not want it to be visible due to professional reasons-you can get a black-light-ink tattoo. When these tattoos heal, they are usually invisible to the eye in normal light, and show up when near a florescent light. Florescent ink may be more expensive however. Most importantly, a tattoo shouldn't be used as a fashion statement, while tattoos will probably be ever prominent in society-certain styles and subjects may become silly or obsolete as the trends change. Tattoos were first meant to symbolize important things in one's life, and even today that is the best subject for a tattoo-no matter who you are.

**Author's note**

As you can see in the article image I have attached, I have a small cross tattooed on my neck. It was my very first one. I didn't know what to expect-so I kept the design small to try it out. I also didn't know what to get, so I thought of things that reflect my personality-my religion was the first to come to mind. I then contemplated where I would get this... I was still young, so I had a career to be aware of. I almost got this tattooed on my arm, the underside of my wrist to be exact, but my friends father was right there with us (he has several tattoos) and he watched over what we chose and where we chose to put it-he was quick to remind me that someday I may lose a job opportunity because of a visible tattoo. So I decided on the back of my neck-I could hide it with my hair, it was small, and simple. If I ever grew tired of it-well I couldn't see it anyways. I don't regret it to this day. I did however, decide before I ever got tattoos that I would design and draw my own, so that only my artwork was on my body (me being the artist that I am And three tattoos later-that still holds true, and I don't regret anything that is permanently on my body!

Moral of my story-this is something that shouldn't be last minute. If you set up an appointment for a tattoo, don't rush into choosing something and risk hating it later. It's better to choose wisely, and have other with you that have tattoos and have a little insight on how tattoos have affected their lives. Another important, common sense point-don't EVER get a tattoo while under the influence drugs or alcohol (you shouldn't be under the influence of drugs anyway-okay off my soapbox now).