for tattooed people, and those who want to be

A new year, some new ink?


When I got my most recent tattoo, I certainly didn’t expect it to be the last one I ever got. However, the healing process was unusually slow, and it’s only now (more than two years after the fact) that the swelling and itching under the red ink has finally subsided.

Mom's dragon tattooI had pretty much made up my mind that it would be a bad idea to get more ink, since I had (and have) no way of knowing what exactly I reacted to. And that was dismaying. Because tattoos are addictive. (The photo at left shows my dragon, which also remained itchy under the red parts for quite a while after application).

But since it seems that I do evetually heal, I’m thinking about getting a visible tattoo this time around. My other three are usually concealed by my clothes. I’m proud of being a multicolored person and I’d like to show off my ink on a more regular basis, but really, the only practical way to do that is to get another tattoo.

To show or not to show?

I’m considering a sleeve, an armband or a bracelet. My daughter has an armband that she designed herself, and I’ve always admired it. I wouldn’t get something quite as elaborate as hers (which includes a picture of her great-grandmother’s totem animal, the red-tailed hawk) but I would definitely have a talented artist design it (and, of course, pay her for her skills). That would be a reasonable compromise between visibility, size, and price.

But on the other hand, the idea of a bracelet appeals to me too. I never wore “real” bracelets much till fairly recently, but now I find myself picking one out nearly every day. Would I do as well with a permanent one? The older I get, the fewer real constraints there are on visible ink placement, and a bracelet would certainly be visible.

I suppose I’ll have to come up with a design with no red ink in it, just to be safe. Oh, and find a local artist. That’s going to be the fun part.

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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. I was searching on google for issues with red tattoo ink – I’m relieved that I”m not insane and that there is someone else who has the same issue. I have a decent size tattoo on my back that had really deep, intense itching for about 3 months, which I thought was a fluke, or perhaps just the brand, but my new tattoo on my forearm isn’t even remotely healed in the red areas, it itches horribly, and the rest of it healed in less than 5 days.

    • The more I look into the issue of red ink, the more I see that it’s a problem for a lot of people. I gather there are some red inks that are OK, but how do you find that out ahead of time? Beats me.

      I have no idea how the pigments in tattoo ink are formulated. I presume the companies have to list the ingredients on the bottles, but I must admit I’ve never asked about this. Perhaps it’s time to start!

      I posted an earlier message that nickel sensitivity might be related to itchy tattoos, but I don’t think the red inks have nickel compounds in them. It certainly would be worth finding out.

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