Friday, 24 July 2015

My First Tattoo!

As you may know, I recently turned 18 and I've known for a while now that I wanted a tattoo. I got this done a few weeks ago so thought I'd talk you through my thought process and experiences before and after having it done. None of my family have any tattoos, nor do they particularly like them, but it was important to me that I wasn't doing something that would upset my family or that I would regret. Therefore I was always open with my parents- I told them that I was serious about wanting one, showed them that I'd put a lot of thought into it and had done my research. Luckily they're fairly easy-going so they agreed that it was my body and if getting a tattoo was something that was genuinely important to me, then they would support my decision. This made it a lot easier for me, and although they perhaps don't love it, I'm glad that I didn't go behind their back and have it done.

Obviously a tattoo is going to be on your skin forever so I needed to get the design exactly right. I'd known for ages that I wanted a rose. Some people believe that all tattoos should have a really deep meaning behind them, but I disagree. I think it's totally OK to have a tattoo purely because you think it looks nice. My rose does have some meaning- my parents have been married for over 30 years and despite having a very basic wedding (as they couldn't afford much more at the time) I always remember my mom telling me that she had yellow roses as these are her favourite flower. Originally I was going to have the rose done in yellow but after doing some research of different designs, I decided just to stick with a basic black outline, and if I wanted to add colour or build other elements into the design later on, that could be done easily enough.

It took a lot of time for me to find the perfect design. I took photos of roses, browsed photographs online and even attempted to draw my own, and I combined all these elements into pages and pages of a notebook until I was happy. As you can see from the pictures, I went with the rose in the bottom right-hand corner of the paper which was a photograph I found online. What really drew me to this one was the simplicity of it- it had very little shading but the shape was clear and the leaves were a nice touch. I sent this photo to my tattoo artist who copied it out and re-sized it for me. I had the rose done on the top of my left thigh for multiple reasons- I knew that fleshier parts of the body would be less painful and I also wanted it in a position where I could cover it easily, but equally I could show it off when I wanted to.

Before going to get the tattoo done, I did as much research as possible into every detail of getting a tattoo including how to prepare for one on the day and the healing process. I knew I was going to have it done at the Tattoo Palace in Wolverhampton. It's probably the biggest tattoo studio in the city and has a really good reputation so I knew I'd be safe there and that it would be done well. I had really mixed reactions when telling people I was going to get a tattoo done. Some people were violently against it and thought I was mad, while others were really in favour of it. At the end of the day, you can't expect everyone to be a fan of tattoos, but they are a very personal thing to each individual and I think that people should respect other's views. It's like wearing make-up- some people wear a full face every single day and some people never wear it, but either way you should respect that individual's choices, whether it's something you would do or not.

On the day of getting the tattoo, I was incredibly nervous. I was worried that it would hurt too much, or that it wouldn't look exactly as I wanted. Before starting the tattoo artist asked me lots of questions regarding size and positioning to make sure it looked exactly as I wanted. I was shaking like a leaf but the artist really put me at ease by starting with a small section to show me what it felt like. He kept asking me how I was doing and explained exactly what he was doing so I was soon feeling a lot calmer. The pain was not like anything I'd ever felt before- I would describe it as a deep scratch but as the needle vibrates it also made my leg feel buzzy (if that makes any sense). The tattoo took less than an hour though so I would just say to anyone that is worried about the pain: the pain is temporary but at the end you get a piece of art that you carry with you forever so it's definitely worth it.

In terms of after care, I was advised to wash the area gently three times a day, applying a layer of Bepanthen cream afterwards. I was to do this for 3 days, keeping it wrapped in cling film the rest of the time. For two days afterwards I didn't go to the gym as I didn't want to stretch or irritate the skin, and I also kept it wrapped up while I showered and tried keep it as dry as possible- this is because the hot shower water could open the pores too much and allow some of the pigmentation out and also the power of the water could irritate the skin. After these three days I took off the cling film and was able to shower as normal, but I kept applying an unscented moisturiser throughout the day (I like Nivea Soft as it's gentle but really gets into the skin, plus it's super affordable). I noticed after a few days that the area began to itch- this is normal, as the tattoo forms a fine scab over the top, but it's important not to itch it otherwise you could ruin the design. The flakes of scab just come away by themselves when the tattoo has healed so if you see black flecks coming away from the tattoo when you moisturise, it's nothing to worry about.

The top left photo is immediately after having it done- as you can see it's a little red although I didn't really have any bleeding, and it was a little tender for a few days afterwards. The right photo is after about 5 days, so the skin is still a little raised in places where it is still healing, but otherwise this is the finished look. I'm super pleased with how it looks. I adore it and want to show if off as much as possible. I would definitely consider getting another done in the future (I'd like to add some words around the edge of the rose I think), but I won't rush into it as, not only are tattoos pretty expensive, I don't want to run out skin by the time I'm 20!

I hope this post might be useful to some of you that are considering getting a tattoo in the future. If I could sum it simple I would day: 1) don't rush into it, plan and do your research, 2) make sure it's exactly what you want and 3) remember that the preparation, pain and healing is temporary but the finished tattoo is forever.

Olivia Ellen XXX


  1. It looks very nice! And I agree with you about the idea that tattoos don't necessarily have to have meaning. I very much see them as pieces of art you can put on your body. If you want a pretty rose on your body, you definitely should! :)

  2. Your tattoo is beautiful! I adore roses & think the meaning is lovely. I eventually want to get a rose tattoo as it was my nans favourite flower but I have my work cut out for me as I want to incorporate my grandads favourite flower aswell - pansies. (: xx


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