Tattoos can be good for your health!


Love ‘em or hate ‘em there is an epidemic sweeping the nation to colour ourselves in. Tattoos have been around for centuries. For years they have been seen as marks of status or rank, they have expressed religious and spiritual devotion; slave owners branded their procession, convicts crimes were easily recognised, they showed inclusion in certain gangs which is still the case today, they were also used to protect against evil and to bring good luck. Symbolism and impact varies greatly in different countries and cultures

In the 1800’s Sailors made tattoo’s popular in Britain and they were also associated with the lower class and criminals. Today, tattoos are normally for cosmetic purposes. They usually hold a personal meaning to the owner, something sentimental, in memory of a loved one or pet or a celebration.

A colleague came in to my office recently to show off his latest addition to his collection, a second sleeve which he says will complement the first one and his lumbar spine, he assures me that the £1,000 spent will be worth it. I asked him why he wanted so many and he said that ‘it’s fashion’. Call me old fashioned but when I look back on photo’s of myself in the 80’ I cringe a little, at the time I obviously thought I looked acceptable, well, what was I thinking?!! Fortunately those clothes and, the massive hair and the blue eye shadow have long hit the bin but what worries me is any fashion trends that are permanent will still be there when fashions change and what once looked good now possibly turns to regret.

Some people obviously won’t feel any remorse, instead the tattoo’s will be a reminder of their younger self, although a word of warning; getting a girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse’s name etched on to the skin may not go down too well with subsequent girlfriend/boyfriend/spouses or the tattoo of One Direction may not be as important to you at the age of 52 as it is now! Choose your design cafefully….

People once settled for small, discreet   one-offs which could be covered up at such times of job interviews, but now it seems the bigger the better. I was behind a man on holiday who had a tattoo of his dearly departed Dad across his back, a work of art I have to say, his eyes followed you around the room, but for me I think he’d have got more out of having it on a canvas above the fire place.

Lifestyles at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre has the claim-to-fame that one of our customers who has recently passed away is in the Guinness Book of Records as the most tattooed (and pierced but that’s a totally new blog!) senior. Over the years her complete body including her face, head and hands were totally covered. She had a great life on the back of this and travelled the world. RIP Isabelle.

I blame David Beckham, I may be strange but I much preferred DB when he was skin coloured, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has a lot to answer for as well with her inked up buttocks!

I know I am in the minority; I only have to look at facebook to see someone proudly presenting their new ‘ink’ to the world and the amount of likes the post gets and the comments of ‘Hun, that’s amazing!’

So, how are tattoo’s linked to health and wellbeing I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you…

Some NHS Nurses have been trained in paramedical tattooing. They can tattoo semi-permanent pigment designs which are designed to fade in time but in areas that are covered can last up to 10 years. This service really does help alopecia patients to feel confident and feel able to be socially included. Small areas of hair loss can be tattooed on, eyebrows can be restored which can transform someone’s life. Acne scars can also be covered which leave the skin looker smoother and one tone.

Women who have had a mastectomy and constructive surgery may be left with no nipples on their breasts. Realistic 3D nipples can be tattooed on to the skin which gives the women a better look and again will improve confidence.

So, while tattoo’s don’t float my boat they obviously do for a lot of people and they can have medical benefits, if you want it, go get it, It’s a very personal choice, people should be able to express themselves however they want to, just make sure you go to a qualified tattooist and its best if you have seen their work before intrusting your skin to them, we’ve all seen the TV programmes of horrendous tattoo’s and it’s a painful process to get rid of a mistake. Follow the advice that is given, keep it clean and get medical help if you’re worried it has got infected.

Maybe one of then reason’s I’ve never had one is that I wouldn’t know what to have; probably when I was younger my sisters and I could have had our own names tattooed on us as our Mum would go through the whole family, pets included before she got to the right one!

So, to all you tattoo lovers out there – keep on tatting (new word) but please, not the face…..

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