What To Do When You're No Longer Crazy About Your Tattoo

When I was in my last year of grad school, I treated myself to a spring break mini-getaway to Puerto Rico. I somehow managed to find a flight for $235 (round trip!), so I knew the trip was meant to be. Since my friend was originally from Puerto Rico, she even offered me a place to stay for free—in a house that was just a five-minute ride from one of the most beautiful beaches I’d ever seen. Let’s just say that I was feeling on-top-of-el-mundo, and my endorphins and adrenaline were running pretty dang high.

Towards the end of the 11-day trip, I was sitting on the beach with my friend, sipping on a coconut (literally) and staring out into the glittering ocean waves. It was one of the most peaceful moments of my life, and I knew that I wanted to ingrain this exact moment in my memory forever. But how?

Well, with some ink and a tattoo machinethat’s how.

My friend and I drove to the nearest tattoo shop, paid the minimum 40-dollar-fee, and got three little waves tattooed along the side of my right foot. The process wasn’t entirely seamless: it was pretty painful (yet not completely unbearable) to get tattooed in such a bony part of my body, plus I noticed that the freshly-inked lines turned out slightly crooked. But I couldn’t have cared less at the time—my tattoo was perfect to me, and that’s all that mattered.

Or was it?

Now that a few years have passed, I’m feeling much-less enthused about my little waves tattoo than when I first got it. The tattoo imperfections that I used to find endearing now slightly irk me every time I step into the shower or put on some flip-flops. A 2017 article by USA Today calculates that “about 38 percent of people 18-29 have at least one tattoo,” and I can’t help but wonder how much of that percentage feels the same way I do: full of ink-regret.

Let’s face ittattoos are a fun way to express yourself, and they’re not nearly as taboo as they’ve been in the past. I love my permanent body artwork, but I have to admit that I’m not quite as crazy about it as when I first got it done. Once the novelty wore off and the ink, welldidn’tsome muddled feelings came into play. Did I make the right decision? Am I stuck with this on my body forever?

So, what exactly can we do in this situation? With more twenty-somethings inking themselves up than ever before, we at GenTwenty have come up with a few ideas to help you navigate tattoo remorse.

What To Do When You’re No Longer Crazy About Your Tattoo

1. Strategically-place a watch, scarf, etc.

I’m lucky that I have my tattoo in a place where I hardly ever see it. I can just pop on a pair of shoes, andviolà!—my tattoo houdini’s itself away.

This approach works like a charm if you have a tattoo someplace on your body that’s easy to cover, like your wrist or your shoulder—a strategically-placed watch or t-shirt will do the trick just fine. This isn’t a permanent solution by any means, but you may be surprised at how effective it can really be. Out of sight, out of mind!

 2. Get it covered-up with another tattoo, or lasered-off.

Tattoo artists are so insanely creative these daysthey can flawlessly place a new design over an old tattoo and you’ll never have to see it again! This is a great option, but keep in mind that it’s only viable if you want a new tattoo in place of your old one.

A much pricier (not to mention more painful) option is to laser your tattoo away. While this involves a lot more risk and commitment, it’s definitely more of a permanent solution rather than a band-aid type one. If you really can’t stand the sight of your tattoo for a second longer, this may be the route to go.

3. Reflect on why you got it in the first place.

Most of the time, there’s some sort of sentimental reason behind why we choose to tattoo our bodies (unless it was a Halloween tattoo sale or the result of a double-dog-darebut no judgment!).

Try to remind yourself of the reasons you decided to get it in the first place. Is it attached to a memory? Did you get it done to commemorate something special to you?

I, for example, got my waves tattoo so I could forever remember a trip that had a huge impact on my life. Every time I look at my foot, I’m reminded of my carefree, insanely relaxing trip to Puerto Rico in which I went with the flow and didn’t let everyday stressors get the best of me. For someone who struggles with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, that alone is reason enough to make my tattoo still feel specialcrooked lines and all.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to plan before you get a tattoo—they are a long-term commitment, after all. Services like inkbox.com even let you try out a temporary version of your tattoo design so you can see if you like how it looks on your body before you do the real-deal. My general rule of thumb: make sure it’s a piece of artwork that you’ll not only like—but love—to look at every single day.

There are plenty of options when it comes to covering up a tattoo, so fret not. But at the end of the day, you might find that your once-regrettable tattoo is actually a pretty special reminder of a time in your life that grew you into the person you are today.

And that’s totally worth embracing.