Medical tattoos are used to ensure instruments are properly located for repeated application of radiotherapy and for the areola in some forms of breast reconstruction. Tattooing has also been used to convey medical information about the wearer (e.g., blood group, medical condition, etc.). Additionally, tattoos are used in skin tones to cover vitiligo, a skin pigmentation disorder.
Today's the day, you're ready to commit, and you just know in your heart — it's tattoo time! Now you need help figuring out how to pick a full tattoo sleeve theme. I've been on a mission for Bustle, interviewing tattoo artists all over the Bay Area. My goal has been to learn more about tattoo sleeves so I can help ladies who are ready to go under the gun, but still need more information. I've covered what part of a tattoo sleeve hurts the most and facts to know before getting started. I wrote a piece answering how long does a full sleeve tattoo take and how to deal with aftercare. But I honestly think picking the theme is the most exciting part.
Since the 1970s, tattoos have become a mainstream part of Western fashion, common among both genders, to all economic classes and to age groups from the later teen years to middle age. For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. The tattoo has "undergone dramatic redefinition" and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression.
Hamlet says it's common for clients to ask for a few changes here and there after the design is done — but recommends going into the process knowing that you shouldn't micromanage the whole thing. Give your tattoo artist the leeway to be creative and use the artistry that is his or her forte. On that same note, don't be afraid to ask for something different if you don't like it. Hamlet says he works on a design until everyone is happy with it.
But other than that possible health benefit, tattoos are just downright awesome, especially ones that cover a lot of skin like a sleeve does. It provides the most personal and artistic expression, just due to its massive size. Plus, a tattoo sleeve takes multiple tattoo sessions, so there is plenty of time to get used to and fall in love with a new design.
Hamlet suggests bringing no more than three ideas to the meeting. Don't show up with a patchwork vision of "I want black and white, but maybe some color, and I love flowers, but really hope to have more of an industrial theme, and I don't want any sharp lines but do hope to feature some right angles." This also doesn't mean bringing three photos of other people's tattoos that you love (see #1 above).
The American Academy of Dermatology distinguishes five types of tattoos: traumatic tattoos, also called "natural tattoos", that result from injuries, especially asphalt from road injuries or pencil lead; amateur tattoos; professional tattoos, both via traditional methods and modern tattoo machines; cosmetic tattoos, also known as "permanent makeup"; and medical tattoos.