All Inked Up

Are tattoos as bad as everyone makes them sound?


Nason Hutchinson

My mom and I showing off our seconds old tattoos in celebration of my 17th birthday.

Macy Hutchinson, Staff Writer

Ever since I was little all I wanted was a tattoo. I thought they were the coolest things in the world. How could I not? I grew up in an environment where they were accepted. I mean both my parents have many tattoos.

For me, in my world, it wasn’t just a perimeter “mistake” or “regret”, it was a work of art you get to see daily. It was a permit sticker of your personality that all can see.

My parents have always believed in “my body my choice,” which might be a controversial statement, but my mom even waited till I was old enough to ask for my ears pierced before she took me to get them pierced, instead of just taking me to get holes put in my head. The same thing happened when I got my seconds in 5th grade and when I got my bellybutton pierced freshman year. My parents said your body your choice, but you’re paying for it, and they drove me willingly. 

So when I asked for a tattoo for my 17th birthday, we all drove to Connecticut and made it happen. 

The trip I traveled to get this meaningful first tattoo. A Celtic Knot with “all my love” written in my grandmother’s hand writing. (Michele Hutchinson)

Just because things like piercings and tattoos have been accepted in my life, and are works of art in my home, does not mean they are accepted by all. These ways of thinking have projected onto my own life, even though it is my life. 

17% of people in the United States have more than one tattoo. That is about 56,400,000 people. 9% of people in the United States have one tattoo, that’s about 29.8 million. Believe it or not, people you might not even expect might have tattoos because 72% of adults that have tattoos cover them with their clothes. 

The biggest turn off most people have with tattoos is the fact that they are “permanent” and what you do now you may regret in the future; well that’s not necessarily true. 

Tattoos can be removed. There are creams, gels, and even lasers that remove the “permanent” art. Cover ups are also an option. My dad had a Tasmanian Devil tattoo originally on his arm, and now it is this split dragon tattoo, and he is covering it up once again. My mom has stars and moons on her back and her plan is to cover it up with an elephant and lotus. The rule of thumb with cover ups is that they have to be bigger than the original tattoo but still that’s not a big deal. 

Nowadays it is also not impossible to get jobs with tattoos. If you read one of my earlier articles, Myths Your Parents Probably Told You, you might remember this but 7% of men who had tattoos were more likely to be hired than men who didn’t have tattoos. 

This graph shows that changes that have happened with tattoos and that more people now a days have them. (Skintru )

Doctors, teachers, lawyers, police officers: all of these jobs are allowed to have tattoos. The most they will do is have you cover them up, but even then, it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be.

Even the military allows you to have tattoos; it depends on the branch you are in, but for the most part, you can have them as long as they aren’t on your face, head, neck (above the t-shirt collar), wrists, and hands. So really you can have them anywhere that aren’t constantly visible. There is an exception with a ring tattoo. On one hand you can have one ring tattoo and it must be where a regular ring may lay, so this might be a wedding band tattoo. 

Now, the way you get a tattoo is with a needle. The needle injects ink into the demi’s level of the skin. This is the tissue just under the outer layer of the skin. This needle delivers thousands of pricks per minute. Due to this you can get a skin infection or even have an allergic reaction, but I don’t think that’s a huge concern and should become a big worry. 

I mean technically, we all have had a skin infection at least once in our lives because pimples are considered to be a skin infection. So at least in my eyes that’s a small reason to be afraid of getting a tattoo. 

As a society we focus on the negatives of tattoos and that seems to be all people talk about, but what about the positives? 

Getting a tattoo can increase your immune system. When you get a new tattoo it triggers the immune system to summon the white blood cells, macrophages. These blood cells sacrifice and eat the invaders of the body, and by doing this they fight against infection. 

Tattoos also allow cortisol levels to acclimate, or make it so you can healthily and efficiently handle cortisol. This lowers your stress levels. Due to this it can also help make you a stronger, better athlete; because tattoos lower cortisol levels, this allows your body to be able to build more muscle and stay consistent in your workout routines. 

Vanaheim Tattoo shop in North Windham, CT- where I got my first tattoo (Vanaheim Tattoo)

Plus on the psychological side of things, a survey was done and the data shows that people with four or more tattoos have a significantly higher level of self esteem than those who do not. This works because tattoos act as a distraction. It pulls the focus away from the parts of us we are self conscious about. 

If you have tattoos you’re also less likely to be trafficked or kidnapped because you have noticeable, different marks that make you stand out. Even if it does not stop you from being taken or kidnapped, it can make you easier to find because instead of looking for say a blonde girl with brown eyes, they are looking for a girl that has a markable tattoo on their right arm.

It makes you stand out a little bit more and could save your life.

So yes, my opinion may be a little biased but based on data and statistics, tattoos are not as bad as people make them out to be.