Thinking of getting inked? Before you run out to get that tattoo, there are a few things you need to consider.

#1: Don’t do it on a whim. Look at how many celebrities Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Denise Richards have had their ink altered or removed after a bad breakup. Whether you’re getting an inscription or a symbol, think hard and long about whether you can really live with that artwork on your body forever. Yes, you can get laser removal, but it’s expensive and painful!

#2: Placement is key. Getting a tattoo on your forearm might sound like a great idea now, but how will you feel about it ten years from now? Will it become an issue if the tattoo is visible at your wedding or another special event?

It’s also important to remember that personal feelings aside, getting a highly visible tattoo can hurt your job options, since many companies won’t hire a candidate with visible ink. So while a tattoo on your arm might be easily covered with long sleeves, one on your hand or the back of your neck isn’t so easy to hide.

#3: Double-check everything. Actress Hayden Panettiere is famous for her misspelled tattoo, which should read “Vivere senza rimpianti” (Italian for “to live without regrets”). Instead, “rimpianti” reads “rimipianti” (with an extra “i”). Oops!

#4: Compare artists and shops. Sleuth around for a reputable shop, with experienced artists and sterile equipment. Ask your tattooed peers for recommendations, and check out photos of an artist’s work before committing. And be sure to ask questions about their health & cleanliness procedures they should be willing and able to answer all of your questions, as well as be compliant with local laws.

#5: Don’t do it just because it’s trendy. Trends come and go; your ink is forever.

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