When it comes to standing the test of time, there are quite a few factors that can determine
how well a tattoo will age. So if you're concerned that your new ink might fade, blur, or stretch out over time, definitely ask your tattoo artist for their advice.
They'll likely suggest locations on your body, as well tattoo designs, that are less likely to be affected. "If how your tattoo looks as you age is an important factor for you, consider places that change very little with age," Leo Palomino, a tattoo artist at
Atomic Tattoos in Orlando, tells Bustle. Your collarbone may be a good spot, as well as the forearm, or the back of the neck, since the skin's elasticity doesn't change much in these areas.
Of course, you can get a tattoo wherever you want — and keep it looking great — if you plan ahead and
take good care of it. "If you decrease sun exposure, use sunscreen, and avoid clothing that causes friction, the longer your tattoo will look good," Palomino says. "[Also,] bold lines, and bold and/or simple tattoo designs, [don't] show as much distortion from the blurring caused by skin regeneration and are good choices for people concerned with how their tattoo will look over time." With that in mind, here are a few tattoo designs and locations you might want to avoid, according to an expert.
Tattoos With Fine Lines & Designs
It's very trendy right now to get thin,
minimalist tattoos — such as tiny shapes or floral designs. But be careful, as tattoos with super thin lines and micro-detailing are way more likely to blur over time.
This is especially true for thin lettering, which has a tendency to blend together. "If you have fine writing where the letters are close together it is possible that it will become illegible over time," Palomino says. "This occurs from natural cell regeneration as well as from changes in [skin] elasticity."
Tattoos With Tiny Negative Spaces
The same is true for tattoo designs with ultra delicate and intricate details, which may not look as sharp years down the line. "Small intricate negative spaces also do not age well," Palomino says. "As the color around these small details blur, they will eventually fill in these negative spaces with tattoo color from the surrounding area. Depending on how small the space is it can distort the detail or fill it up completely."
If you get
ink on your hands or fingers — regardless of the design — don't be surprised if it eventually ends up looking smudged.
"This area is a novelty and it will not last 99 percent of the time," Palomino says. "The skin is thick and does not hold tattoo ink well. And we use and wash our hand constantly, putting a lot of wear and tear on the tattooed area."
Tattoos Near Your Bra Line
Tattoos near your bra line may look really nice, but do keep in mind how this area changes throughout your life. "There is also a lot of friction caused by your bra in this area, which leads to fading," Palomino says. If you're worried about the tattoo rubbing off, ask your tattoo artist where the best placement might be, to help prevent fading.
Ankles and feet are pretty popular spots for tattoos. But just like your hands, they may eventually blur due to years of friction from socks and shoes, Palomino says.
The same is true for other high-friction areas, such as your armpits and thighs. It's up to you to decide how bothered you'd be if your
tattoo changed over the years. But some folks try to avoid these areas as way of keeping their ink looking fresher, longer.
While tattoos on your joints — such as your wrists or elbows — can look cool, they may not age well.
"You are constantly moving these areas of your body," Palomino says. "Also, because of the constant pulling and stretching in these areas during healing, tattoos here tend to heal poorly and for those same reasons you will end up with broken lines in the tattoo."
Behind the ear tattoos also tend to struggle during the healing process. As Palomino says, "Tattoos in this area tend to not hold ink real well and can fade quickly."
The same is true for your neck, which can change and stretch as you get older. This can result in it looking warped or faded.
Many people get tattoos on the inner side of their upper arm, not only because it's a cute location for a tattoo, but because it's often easier to hide.
And yet, this area is super susceptible to skin stretching. "The underside of your upper arm for both men and women can become [loose] as you age and change how well your tattoo looks," Palomino says.
Gaining or losing muscle can also distort your tattoo. So if you think this might be a problem, it may be a good idea to choose a different location for your new tattoo.
The parts of the body that get the most sun exposure, such as your shoulders, the tops of your feet, or your hands, aren't always the best places for long-lasting tattoos. As Palomino says, "Areas of frequent sun exposure will affect how vibrant your tattoo looks over time." So keep in mind that it may start to fade, especially if you don't wear SPF.
If you're worried about
how well your tattoo will age, be sure to discuss the design and location with your tattoo artist — as well as after-care instructions and things to avoid — so you can make sure your tattoo looks great for years to come.