Body art tattoo care & parlors and studio choices will determine your stiafaction. Read this article to ensure that your tattoo will look great for a lifetime.
So, you're going to take the plunge - or you have already, either one. I bet that felt great! At any rate, you're enjoying the tattoo, but you want to know if there's anything you can do to keep it from looking like trash a few decades from now.
I've got great news - there are several things you can do to help make sure that over-priced ink underneath your skin stays put and continues looking great until they bury you - or cremate you, either one.
BEFORE YOU GET THE TATTOO:
Decide what you want and where. If tattoos are in places that are exposed to much light (especially sunlight) they'll quickly fade. That, and wrinkles don't flatter many tattoos - so keep your tattooing in places that are usually sheltered from the light and the ink should look sharp and clear, without fading.
Also, tatoos that are scratched at, scraped, bruised, or otherwise traumatized won't look great forever. For example, if you're a mechanic I would advise against having obscene four-letter words tattood on your knuckles, as that's a part of your body that takes a beating almost every day. I hate to say it, but tattoos that aren't exposed very often - such as on your lower back or the back of your shoulder - are generally the longest-living.
If you've got a skin type that doesn't recover fully from injuries, you might want to re-consider the tattoo. For example, if you've got dark skin, but it heals several shades lighter after you cut it, you'll most likely have to live with either not having a tattoo or having a tattoo that looks very, very bad in a few short years or less. Let's face it, not everyone can get a tattoo and still look good.
Also, please keep in mind that impulsive tattooing just isn't going to work itself out in the end. Don't ever have your lover's initials tattooed on your ankle, for example. It'll cost too much to have it removed should things not work out between you and Mr./Ms. Wonderful. The same story applies to artwork that's decided on while you're under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a Smashing Pumpkins album.
AFTER THE TATTOO:
Keep Vasoline smeared on the site for a couple of weeks - this is to keep it moist so that you don't scratch. (If you scratch, the tattoo goes bye-bye.) Keep the Vasoline covered with a gauze bandage, and don't get the site wet. Do this for just a couple of weeks, then you can go about the task of showing your new 'too off to all your friends.
As noted before, sunlight is murder on artwork. Don't sunbathe with the tattoo exposed, as that'll just fade the ink. Besides which, who wants to increase their chances of skin cancer?
Take care of your tattoo and it'll provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment.