Tattoos are amazing pieces of self expression. In some cases, however, tattoo creativity can veer into the territory of creepiness. Some of the weirdest kinds of tattoos aren't just odd designs, they're concepts and locations that are not only outside the norm, they're also sometimes unsafe.
Since tattoos are so common these days, people have been turning towards more unusual forms of tattooing as traditionally fringe designs have become commonplace. Few are really intimidated by a dagger design anymore, so they turn to more innovative concepts. "People are drawn to getting weird and spooky tattoos because sometimes that’s what we feel like inside," tattooist Adam Villani, tells Bustle. "Not always in a dark way, but we’re all weirdos, and if you are getting a tattoo, you’ve acknowledged that at least part of society is going to think you’re weird anyway. So why not get something creepy or weird?" And some might not even find these kinds of tattoos creepy.
Others try to innovate for creativity or sentimentality. Although they're cautioned against, since tattoos and tattoo ink are not regulated by the FDA, a lot of this innovation comes along with risk. "Keep in mind that these modifications are permanent as are many of their associated complications," Susan Bard, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, tells Bustle. So although all of these tattoos have been done before, be cognizant of the risks if any of them speak to you.
Here are the seven creepiest types of tattoos you can get, according to experts.
1. Eyelid Tattoos
Getting a tattoo on your eyelid may not seem like the creepiest tattoo possible, unless, of course, you tattoo eyes on your eyes to look like you're always awake. Still, this unusual tattoo can be a big risk.
"Eyelid skin is the thinnest in the body and most susceptible to contact dermatitis," Dr. Bard says. If you're looking for a creative tattoo, there's a variety of other options you can follow without putting your eye health at risk.
2. Eyeball Tattoos
Beneath the lid lies a part of your body you probably never thought could get tattooed. Eyeball tattoos (warning: this link contains graphic images), or scleral tattoos, are very real. And very creepy.
These tattoos involve injecting ink under the outer layer of the eye to "tattoo" the white part of the eye. But tattoo artists and doctors alike caution against this trend. "People that got that 10 years ago are [...] having serious sight issues because ink spreads,” Jason Ackerman, Resident Artist at SOHO Ink, tells Bustle. Seriously, these complications are no joke. "[These tattoos pose a] great danger of introducing infection or trauma that can lead to blindness and even losing the eyeball itself," Dr. Bard adds. If you don't want to lose your sight, it's best not to tattoo your eyeball.
3. Hard Palate Tattoos
Having a hard palate tattoo would definitely mean having a tattoo you could get away with in any professional setting or social situation, since it's so hard to hide, but this hardcore, creepy tattoo is both very painful and very risky.
Since more muscle and more flesh generally mean a less painful tattoo, the hard palate (which is basically just connective tissue over bone) is going to be super sensitive. "The pain involved in that must be insane," Ackerman says. Even if you can withstand that pain, be wary that the risks don't stop there. "The mouth is loaded with bacteria and risk of infection is high," Dr. Bard says. There are other, less risky tattoo options out there.
4. Teeth Tattoos
The last of the creepy mouth tattoos is the tooth tattoo. These tattoos are not necessarily as risky as the other kinds of mouth tattoos, but they are pretty creepy. And while there are historical and cultural examples of all sorts of tooth decoration, these new tattoos are a bit more bizarre.
Trendy teeth tattoos aren't particularly dangerous because they aren't tattooed directly on your teeth (that would probably hurt a lot). These tattoos are placed on crowns, which are then positioned onto a client's teeth during a dental procedure. While the designs are minimal and the results are less-than-permanent, even the idea of a tattoo going into tooth enamel can conjure up some shivers.
5. 3D Tattoos
While it seems like almost no design can reach the ranks of creepiness that unusual tattoo locations can provide, the realm of optical illusions can provide some competition.
Getting a tattoo that looks three dimensional is possible, and it can look like anything from a gaping wound to an open black hole on some part of your body. These tattoos are creepy more in the double-take sense, but they definitely stand out from more typical tattoo designs. Plus, these tattoos come with the benefit of not posing their own unique set of risks.
6. Fluorescent Tattoos
Fluorescent tattoos (also known as UV-light tattoos) may appeal to the intersection of your love of tattoos and black lights, but they're pretty creepy, and not as cool as they sound.
First of all, the invisible ink that lights up in the dark isn't actually as invisible as it seems, especially if you aren't careful with aftercare. Second, no tattoo ink is regulated by the FDA. So getting any innovative, less commonly used ink is even more risky. "[There's major] concern for allergic contact dermatitis from the chemicals that [make up] fluoresce," Dr. Bard says. Doing your research on the artist and the ink will lessen the risks of complications from your tattoo.
7. DNA Tattoos
Perhaps the creepiest kind of tattoo you can get is the DNA tattoo. This unusual trend has moved from the underground world of "morbid ink" to the fast-growing startup realm, with brands like Everence and Skin46 allowing you to turn your relatives or pets, dead or alive, into tattoo ink through DNA.
While Everence considers these tattoos the closest personal tribute possible, and has client testimonials of examples of meaningful tattoos created from DNA ink, there is still no government oversight to ensure that this practice is safe. Everence ensures that the DNA extraction processes (from hair or cremains) is safe, made from medical-grade materials, is produced in an ISO 9001 certified and GMP-compliant facility, and doesn't affect surrounding tissue, but it's up to you to decide whether you are willing to take the risk of injecting biological remains into your skin.
Simply, although the brand says it's barely any more complicated than normal tattooing (other than costing over $350), it's important to do your research. "Any foreign materials in the skin can trigger an immune reactions or granuloma formation," Dr. Bard says. So alongside trusting the company you get your DNA ink from, you have to find an artist you can trust. Perhaps, for now, a tattoo of someone's handwriting or planting a tree with a loved one's remains are the safest ways to honor the deceased.
Of course, if you decide to get any tattoo, it is important to understand the risks. And you have the right to get any kind of tattoo that feels meaningful to you. When it comes to the strange and unusual, however, know that small sample size may mean that the full risks are not yet understood. Getting a creepy tattoo that fits your personality shouldn't have to mean putting your health in danger.
Update: This article has been updated from it's previous version on October 17. 2018.