Tattoo Mistakes to Avoid

How to Fix Tattoo Mistakes
Photo by: Andres Ayrton

The Internet is rife with examples of tattoo mistakes that everyone would like to avoid. From spelling errors to poorly drawn Disney characters, these tattoo fails are permanent reminders of ink that you’d probably prefer to forget. Luckily, some of the more basic tattoo mistakes are easy to dodge.

Common Design-Related Tattoo Mistakes

Many tattoo mistakes can be easily prevented by not rushing into your next design. Sometimes, when you get an idea, you can hardly wait to book your appointment. Most of the time, though, it’s best to really think it through.

Some tattoos make it easier to end up in hot water than others. For instance, if you’re getting a phrase in a language you don’t speak (much less recognize the characters from), there’s a good chance you won’t know what you’re getting. After all, the Chinese characters for soldier/scholar and dirt differ only by a tiny shift in the length of one line. So, triple-check (or even quadruple check!) that phrase before you head to the tattoo parlor. It’s worth it. Or, to be completely certain it’s what you want, just get the phrase in your native language.

Grammar mistakes also happen more than people think. If you’re going to get a word or phrase tattoo, at the very least, put it into Microsoft Word or another program that does a basic grammar check before committing to it. Better yet: ask the grammar snob in your life to give it a look, just to be extra sure. If you’re expecting your tattoo artist to complete this step, keep in mind that excellent grammar is not a prerequisite for tattoo artistry. They may not have more of an eye for it than you do.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mommie Dearest (@handlethesocks)

 Consider Placement and Timing

Further, don’t forget that tattoo placement can make all the difference. Sometimes, poor placement can turn an excellent tattoo into tattoo remorse.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nicholas Lavides (@knicktattoo)

Lastly, new relationships tend to inspire many things: excitement, perhaps poetry, and sometimes a tattoo. It sounds like a major buzzkill, but it’s often the best to wait until you have a few years under your belts before getting inked together. Otherwise, you may end up like Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson: covering up the tattoos that remind you of a painful situation in your past.

Other Tattoo Mistakes


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Best of ink fails (@tattoo_keeppers)

The best thing you can do to avoid tattoo regret is to research the studio and the artist of your choosing. Tattoo parlors adhere to pretty strict cleaning protocols these days, but it’s always good to ensure that the one you’ve chosen looks neat and sanitary. Next, look at as many completed designs by your chosen artist as you have time for. The more research you do, the more you can rest easy that you’ll love the ink forever.

Further, ensure you follow all post-tattoo care and cleaning advice. The better care you take of your skin both pre- and post-tattoo, the better it will look and the longer it will last.

Next, don’t get something that will affect your ability to be hired in your chosen industry. If your industry is cool with tattoos, that’s great! If not, you might need to keep your ink in places that clothes easily hide. Even if your industry accepts tattoos, some content might not be cool. Anything NSFW, full of profanity, or otherwise incendiary might be fun for now, but it could have a long-term impact on your salary.

Avoiding Little-Known Problems


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Seth Yudof (@sethyudof)

You can prevent a lot of tattoo regret just by learning about how your tattoo will age. So, when you’re planning your tattoo, think about how much you want to set aside for a budget—not just for the initial tattoo, but for touchups in the upcoming years. Don’t forget that colors tend to fade more quickly than black ink tattoos. And a tattoo with an extraordinary amount of detail might fall prey to becoming blurry.

Tattoo artists often offer advice for people who want to love their ink long-term, such as getting a bold design in an area that doesn’t see the sun often and isn’t on the receiving end of a ton of contact. So, be sure to talk in-depth with your artist about a piece that will age so that you’re happy with it.

How to Fix Tattoo Mistakes

If you’re already living your tattoo nightmare, that’s okay. There are ways to fix it that can prevent you from a future filled with explaining a typo to each stranger you meet or wearing long sleeves for the rest of your life.

Tattoo removal is a great option especially if you want to have a cover up. A few tattoo removal sessions to lighten the old tattoo can make your tattoo coverup flow a bit better. Some skin tolerates tattoo removal better than others, so depending on your skin, you might have some scarring. That means if you have very prominent ink—like a face tattoo, for example—removal might not be ideal. Removal can be painful, too, and it usually takes a few sessions over a few months to a couple of years. Unfortunately, removal isn’t a quick, simple time machine to before you decided you liked Justin Timberlake so much that you needed his likeness on the back of your neck.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by zajawatattoo_gdy (@zajawatattoo_gdy)

Another option is to find a skilled tattoo artist and work with them on a design that would act as a cover-up. This is often an effective solution because you’ll replace the tattoo not with scarring but with a new piece that you’ll (hopefully!) love.

Get inspired for your next piece in the Tattooed Women gallery!