Does your tattoo reveal your age?Stacey Blanton
When did the tattoo craze start?
Tattoos go back quite a long way. Humans have been inking their bodies for thousands and thousands of years. These permanent artworks — sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as social status symbols, charms against bad spirits, declarations of love or statements of loyalty, signs of religious beliefs, adornments or forms of punishment and marks of shame.
The oldest known tattoos in the world belong to Ötzi, the European Tyrolean mummy called “The Iceman”, who died and was buried beneath an Alpine glacier along the Austrian–Italian border around 3250 B.C. Ötzi had 61 tattoos across his body, including his left wrist, lower legs, lower back, and torso.
By the late 1800s, 90% of the British navy was tattooed. Inking brought a complex iconography amongst sailors: a turtle meant you’d crossed the equator, an anchor the Atlantic, a dragon that you’d served on a China station.
Speaking of modern days, the twin-coil electromagnetic tattoo needle as we know it was patented in 1891. In the 20th century, tattooing was more or less a class thing: ink was for soldiers, sailors, bikers, criminal gang members, and prostitutes – in other words, it was an emblem of people with from borderline deviant social groups.
Tattoos in modern day
The craze for ink in the last quarter of the 20th century recognized it as a genuine popular form of art, and people have started using it as a way of distinguishing their own individuality from the crowd. Tattoos, suddenly, are everywhere. All sorts of unlikely people have them. Some 14% of teachers are now tattooed, which is more than the 9% of servicemen and women who’ll own up to one. Bank clerks, university lecturers, nuclear engineers. Tattooing has become a respectable high-street business.
As with all popular trends, thinking about it – about not just what you want, but whether you really want it at all, and why – is not so often reconsidered. Nowadays laser removal or reduction treatment is absolutely booming, business-wise, almost as much as tattooing itself.
One of the reasons one might regret their tattoo is the fact that it makes them “stuck” in a certain period of time when they got carried away by popular trends. Tattooing, like culture, is constantly changing and has been evolving for centuries.
There are so many styles in tattooing, and the motivations to give and receive them are as varied as the people who have worn them throughout the past 5,000 years. Really, the tattooing culture offers one of the most profound artistic and intellectual statements on contemporary visual communication. Tattoos transmit a vast body of information about who were are, where we came from, our desires and fears and who we aspire to be. And as everything else in life, our aspirations can as well change and as we move forward with our personal development, our tattoos stay behind.
Trends in tattoos change over time.
Tattoo trends may come and go, but unfortunately, the tattoos themselves last forever. They stay on your skin as a permanent reminder of that decade when you were young and wild. Here we’ll remind you of some of the tattoo trends that you might or might not have taken part of… in any case, we’re certain you’ll remember embracing people with:
- Anklet or bracelet tattoos. If you were born somewhere around 1973, the anklet was THE piece of jewelry you wanted to show off on that beach party, hoping that the craze for it will last for good (but it lasted just a bit longer than the summer itself).
- Daisy. Dolphin. Any colorful flower. Back in the late Eighties, if you were with the really ‘out there’ crowd, you had the daisy on your foot, a dolphin on your shoulder or a rose on your hip that changed color under the UV lighting at raves.
- Tribal tats. They were all the rage in the ’90s. Technically they’ve been popular for over 2,000 years as they first appeared amongst the members of Samoan. In the ’90s, the tribal style was co-opted by everyone non-Samoan who wanted to have an easy way to start a conversation at their local bar.
- A butterfly. If you were an 18-year-old girl in 2002, you probably have this small colorful creature tattooed on your shoulder. It was telling everyone you wanted to fly free, or maybe all your friends were getting it and you didn’t want to be left out.
- The face of a beloved person. This trend started in the Eighties and has no sign of passing. Everywhere around you, there are people with faces of their beloved members of the family or passed pets, who look at you sadly with an expression altered by saggy skin and wrinkles.
- Dreamcatcher tattoos. Once popular among art students who wanted to feel a connection the American Southwest. These tattoos can mean anything from, “I’ll pursue my dreams,” to “I saw this on sale and thought it’ll look good on my skin as much as it does on my living room wall”.
- Wing tattoos. These are great because they don’t have to have a meaning. Maybe you want to be perceived as an angelic figure? Or you can just put on a pair of bat wings because they looked good on a bat, so why it’s the same with you also, right?
- Birds. In the early 2000s, bird tattoos became even more popular than Livestrong bracelets. Their meaning is seemingly malleable, but they give off the sense of wanting to be free while being simultaneously beholden to lame trends.
- Barbed wire band. This way outdated trend got even the tender Pamela. Really, is there a worse tattoo trend that barbed wire bands? These tattoos started in the late ’80s with the motorcycle gang types and slowly wormed their way into the world of regular folks.
- One word tattoo. Around 2000 something, one-word tattoos started showing up everywhere. Usually on people who were so many “wannabes”: Uncompromising; Beautiful; Loyal; Brave; Courageous etc. etc.
- A Chinese or Japanese symbol. Usually on the upper arm or lower back. Nobody knows what it means and it’s probably spelled incorrectly. If you took up to this trend, you’re most likely causing your Asian friends to chuckle whenever they see you – and the worst thing is, no one has the courage to tell you what your tat actually means.
- Bow tattoos. These starting showing up on everyone who got taken by the pin-up come-back of the early 2000s. They’re supposed to combine feminine/tender and slightly sexy. Today, they are perceived as a bit tacky.
- Stars, flowers, numbers and other stuff – on your feet. Foot tattoos have been slipping in and out of fashion since the ’80s. Every few years a new version of the foot trend will pop up. And each one makes the previous look so outdated.
- Peacock feathers. Colorful, bohemian, they’re the tramp stamps of the Millennial generation. So popular they’ve long been quite unoriginal.
- Neck tattoos became THE THING for badass guys in early 2000s. They’re the perfect way to tell your girlfriend’s family that you don’t have a job.
- Paw prints are usually tattooed on people who have an animal they love, but a decade later, it’s still so lame that even your dog is embarrassed for you.
- Owl tattoos began to pop up everywhere in the early 2000s. It was sort of a way to get back to nature without having to actually do anything.
- Compass. Originally, the compass tattoo was popular among early sailors and was seen as a way to protect yourself from rough waters. Now that most people with compass tattoos are baristas and not sailors, it’s possible that this tattoo’s meaning has changed to mean “wanted a tat, but didn’t know what to put on.”
Bad tattoo trends are like a bad dream. If you didn’t take part in the terrible trend, then you’ve probably forgotten all about some of the tattoos on this list. But if you were one of the unfortunate few to get a swallow or barbwire tattoo, then you’ll never forget the nightmare.
The appearance of your tattoo can reveal your age as well
In addition to ever-changing trends, what no one tells you about tattoos is that no matter how beautiful they look when first done, they fade and shift over time.
This way a dull sailor-blue smudge that your beautiful and once adored height of artistic expression rubs itself into your face day after day, reminding you of what was ONCE trendy and you considered you can rock it so well. But now, whenever you’re trying to look smart, professional or sophisticated, they rear their smudgy heads.
While a design’s longevity depends on ink technology, lifestyles, and skin types, it’s not always a pretty picture when your epidermis sags or crinkles in crucial locations, causing once beautiful butterflies to morph into unidentified smudgy forms, or bold biker tats to fade to baby blue.
Yes, tattoos can be re-touched. But everyone who had done it knows that they will most likely NOT have their initial glow and the “wow” appearance they did in their first year on your skin.
So there you are – still young at heart but with your tattoo making you feel older than your inner self really is.
How to turn the tables.
Laser treatments are definitely a solution if you still love the idea of having a tattoo, but you want to enhance it by adding more trendy details to it. By removing some of its traits that give it that Eighties-Nineties-2000s apparel, you can transform your tattoo into a hot new piece of art that the contemporary audience will appreciate more and that will make you fit in even with the younger crowds.
Also, a full tattoo removal, which we can provide you with under favorable prices for bulk laser treatments, can get you right back to where you were before you got your current tattoo.
A fresh new skin – your skin. How does that sound?
By taking it back from the Eighties, you can be free to do with it whatever you please – to leave it as a blank canvas or to put a new design to it, one that will reflect your inner energy even better than the original tattoo did back in the days.
We change over time and yet our energy remains young – so why should a skin mark keep you trapped in the past? Book your free appointment today, to discuss options of full or partial tattoo removal, so you can explore the possibilities of fitting into the modern environment, whose aesthetic sentiments have long surpassed tribal tats, bat wings, dolphins, Chinese misspelled signs, pin-up girls etc. etc.