Because it requires breaking the skin barrier, tattooing carries health risks including infection and allergic reactions. Tattooing can be uncomfortable to excruciating depending on the area and can result in the person fainting. Modern tattooists reduce risks by following universal precautions working with single-use items and sterilizing their equipment after each use. Many jurisdictions require that tattooists have blood-borne pathogen training such as that provided through the Red Cross and OSHA. As of 2009 (in the United States) there have been no reported cases of HIV contracted from tattoos.
Many people start their tattoo sleeves without intent and that's just fine. If you take the organic approach and let one small tattoo turn into another and somehow tie it all together with a background of some sort later, you'll likely have an armful of meaningful body art. Others go full on with a sleeve from the get-go and that works too. Of course, with this approach, you'll be investing a larger sum of money upfront, and you'll need to dedicate the time in the chair to complete the work. Most likely you'll be going back to the same artist which means their schedule will need to be considered as well. If you have the time and the money to complete the job, get it done. Otherwise start a slower and more balanced approach. Never compromise quality for quantity.
Another tattoo alternative is henna-based tattoos, which generally contain no additives. Henna is a plant-derived substance which is painted on the skin, staining it a reddish-orange-to-brown color. Because of the semi-permanent nature of henna, they lack the realistic colors typical of decal temporary tattoos. Due to the time-consuming application process, it is a relatively poor option for children. Dermatological publications report that allergic reactions to natural henna are very rare and the product is generally considered safe for skin application. Serious problems can occur, however, from the use of henna with certain additives. The FDA and medical journals report that painted black henna temporary tattoos are especially dangerous. Black Henna or Pre-Mixed Henna Temporary Tattoos May Be Harmful - see below for safety information.
There's certainly evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from figurines c. 4000-3500 B.C. to occasional female figures represented in tomb scenes c. 1200 B.C. and in figurine form c. 1300 B.C., all with tattoos on their thighs. Also small bronze implements identified as tattooing tools were discovered at the town site of Gurob in northern Egypt and dated to c. 1450 B.C. And then, of course, there are the mummies with tattoos, from the three women already mentioned and dated to c. 2000 B.C. to several later examples of female mummies with these forms of permanent marks found in Greco-Roman burials at Akhmim.
Another great place for ideas – especially if you’re already in love with one of our artists’ styles – is to look through their tattoo portfolios. Our team has done some really amazing work over the years, and their books alone are inspiring! They’re the best for a reason! Not only can our team design for you an amazing, personalized tattoo, they love working with clients that come in with a clear concept and then let them run with the idea, designing something 100% unique!
Remember how we said society is more accepting of sleeve tattoos now? While it is true, that doesn’t mean everyone is fine with them. For example, the United States Marines Corp. changed their policy in April 2007 to ban tattoo sleeves unless you got them before enlisting. There are also still plenty of employers who have a “no visible tattoo” policy but require a short-sleeve shirt uniform, which means you’re out of luck.
Many of the inspirations of great numbers of people who are going for these tattoos are famous celebrities. Well, there is no question about that since people tend to do what their idols are doing. They want to look like their celebrity idols, which is why they allowed themselves to get tattooed. In relation to this, here are some of the world-renowned celebrities nowadays who are proudly displaying their tattoos on their arms:
Getting a sleeve tattoo is a big investment in terms of both cost and hours spent a chair. For this reason a lot of guys go in to add one or two small tattoos from time to time while tying it all together with a matching background. Another approach is to take on the entire sleeve at once, which means more cash upfront and longer hours at a time. If you have the money and both you and your artist have the time, go for it. Otherwise, have patience knowing that eventually your sleeve will be complete and looking awesome.
I meet a colleague for lunch. “He knew how much it would hurt me,” I say, tears running down my face. “For years I’ve said, don’t do it. It’s there for ever, even after you’ve changed your mind about who you are and what you want to look like. You’re branded, like meat. It can damage your work prospects. It can turn people against you before you’ve even opened your mouth.”
Half-sleeves or quarter-sleeves are tattoos that cover only part of an arm, usually above the elbow, but can also be found below the elbow. A sleeve implies complete tattoo coverage of a particular area, so a half sleeve is a tattoo that covers the entire upper or lower arm. A "quarter sleeve" usually covers the area of skin from the shoulder midway to the elbow.