A tattoo is made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattooing has been practiced for centuries in many cultures, in Asia and spread throughout the world.
Is a tattoo a lifelong commitment, which everyone who goes for it is not comfortable with? Tattoos are no longer the trophies of rockers, sailors, bikers, bohemians and criminals, they have gone mainstream.
Tattoo magazines lie alongside Good Housekeeping on the shop shelves and the diversity of the tattooed people one encounters in the street shows age and style is no barrier to getting inked.
Tattoo conventions are a world where ink equals art, where Japanese Koi carp swim along the same tide as Maori tribal markings and the goddess Aphrodite. Most importantly, it is a world with no regrets.
But what about the people who do suffer tattoo remorse? Those who pick the wrong design or the wrong position, who get inked on impulse and regret it later.
Should there be more pre-tattoo talk for those of you who are new to this art form? Helping you decide not just the design, but where it is and why you want it, and if in fact, you want it at all.
You have never been able to commit to a tattoo, so instead you can test-drive one. An eight-inch dragon covers your left arm, spray-painted on and with you for a week.
At the tattoo convention you feel like a fraud. You can spot a fake a mile off – the two guys you do show give you a pitiful wince. “It’s not great,” says Brent McCown, a New Zealander covered head to toe with Samoan tribal ink.
No reputable tattoo artist would think about inking someone under 18, and it goes without saying that they would turn away people that had been drinking. Artists tend to talk over the design before it is done, giving the recipient a chance to have a final think about it.
But there is still plenty of work for the removers. Get a tattoo in an instant act, and repent at your leisure because they are not always easy to remove.
Lasering costs between £50 and £150 a session, and between eight and 12 sessions are needed, all one month apart. It feels like someone repeatedly flicking your skin with a rubber band and it is not a certain process. For some the tattoo will disappear completely, for others it will fade a little, and for the unlucky ones – it scars.