for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Saggy old bag?


One of the things people who don’t want you to get a tattoo often bring up is “What will that look like when you’re [name an age here where people often get saggy]?” The implication being that today’s ink is tomorrow’s runny mess.

That argument doesn’t work with me, of course, because I was 46 when I got my first tattoo and (a) I didn’t get my ink in saggable places and (b) I doubt I’ll get too much more saggy than this, come what may. But does it deter people who are young and still thinking it over?

To sag or not to sag?

What parts of the body are likely to sag (slacken, droop, whatever) with age? The face, surely. The breasts, both male and female. The butt. The upper arm. All but the face are prime tattoo territory. The question is, how will the change in the shape of the skin affect the ink that’s applied to it? I know we’ve all seen older men with tattoos they got in the service, that are mostly a blurry mess due to spreading of the ink over time–even on areas such as the forearm that don’t droop or sag, per se. I can’t figure out whether the spreading of ink is inevitable, or whether that’s just an artifact of the tattoo methods used at the time. Ink that’s applied deeper in the skin does tend to spread. I’ve noticed that on my original ankle tattoo. But today’s artists generally don’t dig so deep.

Tell it like it is

So what’s the best counter-argument to the “It will sag and you’ll be sorry” point of view? Here’s my list. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • Let’s both get tattooed and we’ll see who sags first.
  • You kidding? This skin will never sag.
  • The people who will see it won’t be bothered by trifles like that.
  • I’m not putting it on a saggy part of the body.
  • What’s it to ya???
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Author: infmom

I got my first tattoo when I was 46. I hope the people who read this blog don't have to wait that long. I love talking about body art.


  1. Pingback: Saggy older | Premiervirtual

  2. Also, using whatever ink (india, busted open pens, etc etc) was on hand for a lot of those super-crummy old military tats prolly has A LOT to do with spreading. Add to that ignorance about the skin/ink damage would result from unprotected sun exposure back in the day and the fact that tats weren’t typically the art they are now…iffy needles, homemade rigs on base/vesel/port….yeaaaaah. Lots of spreadage, and no small wonder why.
    That said, my 50 year old santa-shaped Dad has a beautiful sleeve from the 70’s done by a japanese master that’s held up f**king fantastically despite dad’s neglect. I have few worries, dad used to be a weight lifter and has gone through various weight and tone changes as far as skin’s concerned in the past 30 years or so and his work is still pretty freakin’ sweet!

    • Oh yeah, when the military men got their tattoos from the masters in overseas ports, they were far more likely to end up with a masterpiece than a disaster. At least in days gone by, when modern tattoo parlors were fewer and farther between, and the idea of the drunken sailor ending up with a tattoo he hadn’t expected was pretty common. 🙂

      One of my nephews got out of the Navy last year after serving as a combat medic in Afghanistan and Iraq. He now has that “fallen soldier” symbol (the empty boots, the rifle and the helmet) covering his entire back, in memory of his comrades who were killed there.

  3. I have to admit, future saggage has worried me; if I’m lucky enough to live to 80, is my tattoo going to be an ugly multicolored blob? Will I be the joke of the nursing home? Will my Walker Buddies point and laugh?

    In the end, it didn’t matter, because right now, when it matters, the tattoo has meaning enough to me that I had to get it. It’ll still have meaning 30 years from now, even if it’s a garbled mess off gray and blue and pink.

    I took a picture; I can show ’em all what it used to look like 😉

    • That’s a great idea, taking a picture. Of course, we are all going to be just as gorgeous at 80 as we are right now, but it doesn’t hurt to have a permanent record. 🙂

      Getting a tattoo that has meaning is the best way to go!

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