Tattoos have gotten so much more popular in recent years, and it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to find someone who doesn’t sport any ink. Getting tattoos is now incredibly mainstream, and having a tattoo or two makes you just a little bit more interesting.
Of course, one of the warnings about tattoos we most often heard as kids was that tattoos don’t age well. Countless parents warned their teens against getting tattoos with the warning that they’ll look ugly, faded, or just downright stupid as they get older.
But for every hipster barista with a full arm sleeve, in forty years, there will be a grumpy sixty-year-old who regrets the decision they made in their twenties every time they look at their tattoos on old saggy skin. Not to say that old people with tattoos aren’t badass, but old tattoos need to be planned and taken care of properly if you want them to look as good when you’re older.
Can Old People Get Tattoos?
With most of the ink-addicted population in their twenties or early thirties, you might wonder if older people can still get inked in their twilight years. The answer to this is a resounding yes.
Being an old person with tattoos and the confidence to wear them tells the world that you had the courage to get tattoos in a time when they were so socially stigmatised. Old women with tattoos are great examples of this because whenever you see old ladies, there’s a tendency to unconsciously expect them to be friendly and harmless, and a little bit boring. However, if you see an old lady with a visible tattoo, she gives off an aura that indicates that she’s led an incredible life.
How Do You Keep Tattoos From Looking Worse Over Time?
If you’re planning on getting your first tattoo, you’re probably wondering what that permanent mark on your body will look like when you age. Statistics show that people experience tattoo regret the most after getting their first one. If you want to prevent your tattoo from looking like those old wrinkly tattoos you often see on older people, then there are a few ways to keep your tattoo looking good as you age.
One of the biggest things you’ll have to think about when getting a tattoo is where to place it. If you want your ink to still look good even when you get old, then you should place it on a part of your body that doesn’t encounter much friction in day to day life.
Putting your new ink on your thigh, hip, calf, the flat of your forearm, or shin will radically increase the time that your tattoo will keep looking good. Avoid parts of your body that see a lot of movement, like your elbow, neck, knees, face, and other joints, because these places will start to wrinkle first, and wrinkly tattoos generally don’t look so good.
Proper care of tattoos after getting them is paramount, and will drastically affect the longevity of your ink. You should also ideally keep your tattoos out of the sun as much as possible. Sunlight degrades the tattoo ink faster, and will cause your tattoos to fade quicker. Most old looking tattoos are ones that weren't taken care of properly and have faded and morphed over time.
Can Old Tattoos Really Look Good?
Yes, but not all of them do. Here’s proof:
Norman Collins, also known as Sailor Jerry, gives an old man tattoo services while proudly displaying his own body art. Sailor Jerry’s tattoos are well cared for and still look amazing.
She may not be 18 anymore, but she still feels like it. This tattoo may not have aged as well as the lady sporting it, though.
Filipino tribal tattoo artist Whang-Od shows off years of traditional tattoos. Inked using traditional methods, her tattoos are as badass as they are painful.
While most of this lady’s tattoos are still look nice and visible, the ones on her hand are faded and not as clear.
This man’s tattoo is the perfect example of a well thought-out and cared for tattoo. The ink still looks sharp and crisp, even after years of being on his body.