12 Tips for Finding Tattoos That Age Well

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Published: 08.18.2023
Updated: 11.01.2023
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Marcus Smurda, DPT

12 Tips for Finding Tattoos That Age Well

When you sign up for a tattoo, you are signing up for a piece of artwork to live on your body forever. Selecting tattoos that age well will reduce your chances of needing it removed later. This guide offers 12 easy tips to find a tattoo design that’ll age well and you will love forever.

#1 Choose Timeless Designs and Styles

It’s easy to be influenced by current trends. Whether it’s the celebrity popularity of minimalist, fine-line tattoos or the splashier aesthetic of watercolor pieces, committing to a tattoo style that is temporarily popular has a higher potential for tattoo regret. Instead, choose a timeless design that will be relevant for a significant period of time. Many people choose to remove a tattoo due to changes in preferences. Therefore, selecting a classic tattoo that will age well throughout your life is less likely to cause regret in the future.

The most classic tattoo styles are nautical, tribal, geometric, and American traditional. Pick a subject that is important to you and symbolizes a core value and have it done in one of these classic artistries. For example, flowers, anchors, and cultural symbols, age well and retain their meaning.

Timeless tattoos don’t have to be boring! There are several ways to personalize a classic design, such as adding a meaningful quote, memorializing an important date, or picking a unique color scheme.

#2 Consider Symbolism and Personal Meaning

Get a tattoo that you can be proud of. Select a design with personal significance that will have meaning for you throughout your life. The best tattoos are cherished memories and values essential to who you are as an individual. Tattoo ideas with long-lasting meaning focus on culture or family, achievements and milestones, and represent values and beliefs.

Cultural or Family Tattoos

Your family and culture shape who you are as an adult. Pay homage to this aspect of your life by getting a tattoo that reminds you of your family and heritage. Popular options are landmarks from your home country or state, flags, family trees, and cultural symbols.

Milestone Tattoos

We all go through different stages in life, and a tattoo is a great way to celebrate personal achievements. Go for a subtle tattoo like the date of your child’s birthday or your wedding anniversary. Another great choice is to pick images that remind you of a particular time in your life. Whether it is the landscape of your first home, a symbol of growth and development, or personal achievement, these meaningful tattoos will withstand the test of time.

Tattoos of Values

Religious symbols, inspirational quotes, and spiritual icons are all great options for meaningful tattoos. Make your ink unique with fun color combinations, abstract imagery, and perfect placement.

#3 Opt for High-Quality Inks and Techniques

There are many times impulsivity can make life more interesting, but getting a tattoo isn’t one of them. If you want to get a tattoo you’ll love forever, find an artist who uses high-quality ink and professional techniques.

High-quality inks and tattooing techniques will improve how your artwork ages over time. The use of high-quality ink has longer-lasting color pigmentation that will reduce the chances of fading. The image will remain sharper and more realistic for decades. 

In addition, choosing the right tattoo artist is essential to keep a tattoo looking good for years. Use social media to view artist portfolios and get inspiration for what you want your permanent art piece to look like. Don’t forget to check tattoo studio reviews! Look for places with lots of ratings and happy customer testimonials. Carefully evaluating who will complete your artwork increases your chances of getting the tattoo of your dreams.

#4 Prioritize Proper Tattoo Care and Maintenance

The most crucial part of tattoo aging happens when you leave the studio. Proper aftercare methods will keep your tattoo looking fresh for longer, prevent fading, and expedite healing. Consult with your tattoo artist to see which ointment or healing cream they recommend. Follow these steps to help your tattoo age gracefully:

  1. Use antibacterial soap to keep freshly inked areas clean. Apply ointment or fragrance-free moisturizing cream after cleaning to avoid drying out the skin.
  2. Do not pick or scratch at your fresh tattoo. This will disrupt the ink from settling and create breaks in the line work.
  3. Keep your tattoo out of the sun. This practice is especially important for the first couple weeks after getting your tattoo. However, to avoid long-term fading, always use high-SPF sunscreen over your tattoo before going outside.

#5 Seek Professional Advice and Consultations

Every reputable tattoo studio and tattoo artist offers consultation appointments. These occur before your tattoo session and are a valuable time to refine your tattoo’s design, confirm the artist’s professionalism, and finalize placement. Explain your goals to the tattoo artist and ask for personalized advice based on skin type, lifestyle, and tattoo design. They will advise what will help your tattoo age well and offer their professional opinion on design modifications.

#6 Consider Placement and Size

When it comes to how a tattoo looks over time, placement is one of the most critical factors. For example, highly visible tattoos on the arms have increased sun exposure and are more prone to fading. Similarly, hand, finger, and neck tattoos are high friction zones and are frequently cleaned with harsh chemicals that reduce their appearance in as little as ten years. 

Another placement factor to consider is changes to the body. Everyone is human, and humans are going to gain and lose weight. Skin ages – it is unavoidable. Areas of the body most influenced by signs of aging and fluctuations in body weight are the upper arms, stomach, hips, and breasts. 

Finally, consider your career goals and whether or not a visible tattoo will affect your growth and development. While tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the workplace, several professions still will not hire individuals with prominent ink. If you are considering entering one of these industries, choose a spot on your body that is easily covered with clothing to avoid the need for future removal as your career advances.

#7 Research Tattoo Artists and Studios

Did you know anyone can go online and buy a tattoo gun and ink? That’s why researching a tattoo artist and studio is so vital before committing to an appointment. Finding a professional artist with excellent ratings and client testimonials will increase your chances of getting a tattoo that will age well. Social media platforms and websites are the best places to research artists and studios. Assess an artist’s previous work to see if their tattooing style matches what you are looking for. 

In addition, you want to pick a tattoo studio that adheres to professional safety standards. Visit the shop before your appointment for a consultation with the artist. This advanced meeting will allow you to evaluate the studio’s cleanliness and how the shop interacts with and respects clients.

When it comes to tattoo artists and studios, always trust your gut! If something feels off or if you feel uncomfortable in any way, continue your search for a better match.

#8 Plan for Future Tattoos

Odds are, after you get one tattoo, you’re going to want a bunch more. Whether you are planning on future tattoos or not, it’s always a good idea to consider this possibility when deciding on the placement and design of a tattoo. For example, if you start with a small symbol on your forearm but are flirting with the idea of a full sleeve, this is important information to communicate to your tattoo artist. They can advise if the placement is amenable to future additions or changes. Planning for the future now ensures that the initial design ages well and avoids the need for removal or cover-up of your first tattoo.

#9 Utilize Temporary Tattoos for Trial Runs

Getting a tattoo is a big decision, especially if it’s your first piece of ink. If you are still on the fence as to whether you want a tattoo or are unsure of the placement, consider using a temporary tattoo as a trial run. Go online to find high-quality temporary tattoos that look incredibly realistic. These aren’t the peel-and-stick types that you won at an arcade as a kid. Modern-day temporary tattoos are designed to help adults make the final decision before going under the needle.

#10 Understand How Colors Age

Every tattoo ink color ages differently. Colored pigments show up differently on various skin types and tones. The longest-lasting tattoo ink color is black. Not only will this saturated tone stand out, but black ink molecules are also larger than colored ones. As a result, there is less chance that the ink will break down over time. However, if you prefer bright-colored artwork, go for vibrant and heavily saturated ink. The tattoo artist will apply layers and layers of color to give the ink the best chance of lasting for years to come.

#11 Be Aware of Skin Types and Conditions

Skin is the biggest organ in the human body and is unique to every individual. Factors like skin tone, texture, elasticity, and medical conditions can affect how your tattoo will look in the long run. If you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, you need to be honest with your tattoo artist from the start. They will advise on placement and what to expect when the tattoo heals. Additionally, as skin ages, it becomes thinner. Therefore, if you are a more mature adult getting a tattoo, choose an area of the body that is less susceptible to aging. Popular placement choices for tattoos on older skin include the shoulders, back, and ankles.

Finally, skin tone can affect how tattoos age. Bright-colored ink is less visible on darker complexions. As the tattoo naturally fades, the colors will become nonexistent. Instead, tattoos on darker skin age better when the design is black and gray realism with bold designs and heavy line work.

#12 Anticipate Life Changes and Future Plans

It’s impossible to predict the future, but there are some major life events to consider before deciding where to put your new tattoo.


  • Childbirth & Pregnancy
    • Women anticipating having children may want to avoid stomach, hip, and rib tattoos. The skin in these areas stretches during pregnancy and will distort line work and shading.
  • Career Goals
    • What is your dream job? Are there a lot of tattooed people in that industry? If the answer to the second question is no, you may want to reconsider getting tattooed in a highly visible place.
  • Age
    • No matter how much sunscreen and skin care you apply, your skin will eventually get slightly wrinkled. While this is a natural sign of aging, it may disrupt your tattoo’s appearance. Places on the body most susceptible to skin damage during aging are the chest, hands, feet, neck, and face.
  • Weight Fluctuations
    • Everyone gains and loses a few pounds here and there. Usually, this doesn’t affect your tattoo’s appearance because the skin is highly elastic. However, if you’re planning to undergo extreme weight loss, hold off on getting new ink. This recommendation holds true for the opposite scenario as well. While no one plans on gaining a significant amount of weight, life happens. Areas of the body that are most susceptible to skin stretching are the stomach and hips. While the possibility of gaining weight shouldn’t deter you from getting a tattoo, it’s just something to consider when deciding on tattoo placement.

Badly Aged Tattoo? Our Tattoo Removal Clinic Can Help!

Did you find this article too late? Don’t worry! A badly aged tattoo doesn’t have to live on your skin forever. Removery is a leading provider of laser tattoo removal treatments. Their ground-breaking technology blasts away every type of ink molecule (even white ink tattoos!) to effectively erase old tattoos. Let Removery’s professional technicians help you get rid of wanted ink. Schedule your consultation to learn what to expect and how long your removal will take. No matter what type of skin you have or where your tattoo is on your body, Removery can help!

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