senior woman with a sleeve tattoo

A Senior’s Guide to Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos are an amazing art form of self-expression. There’s no limit to what you can do – especially when you have a talented tattoo artist who can bring your vision to life. And these days, more and more people are choosing to get ink.

While there are different types of tattoos, most people think of permanent tattoos that are applied with a needle and ink. It’s becoming more common for people to have permanent tattoos, and older adults are getting in on the fun.

If you’re interested in body art, our senior’s guide to tattoos will help you know the basics of getting tattoos as an older adult and prepare for everything so the process will go as smoothly as possible.

tattoos on aging skin can still have sharp lines if cared for

Aging Skin and Tattoos

When you’re older, getting a tattoo may look a little different than someone in their late teens and early twenties. Younger people getting a tattoo may have more selection regarding where they want the tattoo. As you age, your skin becomes thinner and less elastic, making the healing process take longer.

You can certainly still get a tattoo, but you’ll need to consider the best spot for your tattoo. Typically, bony areas of the body where there’s not a lot of fat are the most painful places to get a tattoo. Choosing an area with more fatty skin can provide cushioning, making it less painful.

These areas include:

  • Forearm
  • Outer arm
  • Outer thigh
  • Shoulder
  • Parts on the back away from your spine

When you have an idea of where you’d like your tattoo, you can start thinking about what kind of tattoo you want.

a senior's guide to tattoos includes choosing the right area for the tattoo and after care. This older man's tattoo is beautiful on aging skin

How to Choose the Right Tattoo for Older Skin

When you’re getting a tattoo, you’ll likely want it to have the following characteristics:

Having bolder lines and less detail will give your skin a better chance to heal. Intricate, fine-line designs can be more difficult for older adults because of thinning skin. Of course, if you’re interested in a more complex design, you just need to be prepared for multiple sessions.

While you’re finding the right tattoo for you, it’s just as important to find the right tattoo artist. You want a reputable tattoo shop and artist, preferably one who has tattooed older adults. They’ll know how to tattoo thinning skin and can make informed recommendations for you regarding aftercare. An online search can help you find the perfect tattoo artist in your area.

Medication and Tattooing

If you take any medication, it’s important to speak with your doctor before you decide to get a tattoo. The medications you take could have an effect on your tattoo process.

For example, it’s common for older adults to take blood thinners to avoid issues with clotting. Common blood thinning medications include:

  • Aspirin
  • Eliquis
  • Brilinta
  • Pradaxa
  • Xarelto

However, when you get your tattoo, you may experience some bleeding and bruising around the area. Taking medications like the ones above can exacerbate those symptoms.

You may also want to avoid substances that can cause blood thinning, like caffeine and alcohol, for two days before your scheduled tattoo appointment.

tattoos for older people include careful planning and aftercare

Tattoo Aftercare

People with tattoos will tell you that aftercare is vital to the tattoo process to avoid infection. Taking care of your tattoo will keep your skin healthy and allow you to show off your new ink as soon as possible. Follow these tips to help your tattoo heal:

  • Clean the skin with plain soap and water
  • Avoid water hitting the tattoo directly
  • Pat dry
  • Moisturize the tattoo
  • Keep the tattoo out of direct sunlight
  • Don’t swim while your tattoo is healing
  • Don’t pick at the tattoo

The process can take about two weeks before your skin is healed.

Why Should You Get a Tattoo?

People get tattoos for a variety of personal reasons. Maybe to commemorate an important person or event, to highlight a personality trait or document a memory, or perhaps just because it’s something fun and exciting to try. No matter the “why”, tattoos have become increasingly popular, with more than 30% of the US population having at least one tattoo.

Today’s seniors are living their best lives and trying all sorts of new things. If you think a tattoo is your next adventure, we hope our guide has helped provide some good advice. And let’s face it – there’s probably no better way to convince your teenage grandkids of how cool you are!

Live Your Best Life at Freedom Village

Here at Freedom Village, we believe this list of things to do in retirement is endless! Give us a call today to learn more about our active community, where our seniors are living their best lives.

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