TATTOOS: Are we tattooing too young?

I read this post from Things and Ink the other week and thought it was an interesting piece to comment.

In a world where tattoos are becoming commonplace, and celebrity’s are showing there’s more and more. 

You only have to look at the images from the England World Cup Team to see their popularity has grown.

But are we starting too young? At 18 (the legal age in the UK for a tattoo. There’s none of this 16 with parental consent bull that keeps coming up) are we really capable of making a decision that will last a lifetime?

I had my first tattoo at age 18. A swirling black ‘R’ on my ankle. Simple, nothing too expressive of my personality or experiences at the time.

Do I still love it? Yes, but not for the same reasons. The design isn’t amazing, and looking back, why do I need an ‘R’ on my leg… I know my own name! But I still live it. Its basically pointless but I remember having it done fondly and seeing it in comparison to my other more sophisticated tattoos it shows how far I’ve come.

Now a simple little design isn’t the end of the world if at 24 you hate the design you loved at 18. It can be covered, or lasered if you feel necessary. The problem comes when you start looking at larger scale pieces such as sleeves or back pieces. These shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I started my first sleeve at 22 after I secured my first proper full time job. Now two and a half years later I’m starting my other arm and legs.

Tattoos are a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t change any of  my newer, larger pieces.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t change any of my tattoos.

One tattoo at age 19 is not my style any more, and will most likely be covered in the coming years. But that’s my point I guess. You can’t be certain how you will feel about something in 5, 10, 20 years time.

My advice,  think carefully about your tattoos. Go to a good tattooist. Have a reason for it. Whether its just the right time due to a change in life, because you want to remember something or someone, or some other deep reason.

And remember most importantly. You only live once.

Do you think we tattoo too soon?
What are your experiences of young tattoos? 



  1. Erin
    July 14, 2014 / 11:31 am

    We expect children in the UK to make decisions about the rest of their lives at 14.I don't think it matters what age you are, you are always open to new experiences and changing your mind. My mum is covered in tattoo's, yet she still had one when she was around 40-something that a few years ago she had covered.I really don't believe you can put an age-thing on it.But, part of the reason it's 18 is not because "OMG IT'S FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE" but also because your body grows sooo much and changes so much, my best friend has a lovely tattoo she had done at 16, at 30, it's now incredibly crooked because her body shape has changed so much.

    • Rachel Bradford
      July 20, 2014 / 9:23 am

      You make some excellent points. I also have a friend who had a tattoo from her younger days that has strectched and distorted from pregnancy, she's since had it covered. It is certainly something to take into consideration. Thanks for commenting. Rach xx

  2. ~K
    July 20, 2014 / 2:52 pm

    I had my first tattoo at 23, I knew I wanted them for many years but I didn't have the confidence to get one, as in self confidence. I knew I wanted that to be a part of my life but I wasn't in a place where I was fully confident in the person I am. Now that I am, or at least getting there, making the decision to have a tattoo didn't seem to hard. I knew what I wanted, I know what I want in the future (as well as more spontaneous ideas) and they also hold a place in covering up a horrible past. I think if I had the confidence in myself at 18 that I have now, I would have got them sooner. But I wasn't ready. I think if you are ready, ready to accept the lifetime responsibility then you're ready.

    • Rachel Bradford
      August 5, 2014 / 8:56 pm

      I think it's great that you waited and that you are happy with your decision.I started out young, and I am happy with 90% of my tattoos and the choices I made – you can read about my tattoo history here: Each to their own, but as long as you are happy in your own skin, that is all that mattersxxx

Leave a Reply

Affiliate Disclaimer

Posts may contain affiliate links, where I make a small commission on sales made through clicked through links. Sponsored links, i.e. specific links that have been paid for are disclosed on an individual basis.