When you decide to get a tattoo, you also want it to look perfect for a long time. In some cases that doesn’t happen. The aging process, sun exposure, and other factors have a major impact on tattoos. Some pieces of body art don’t stand the test of time whereas others do. Throughout this guide, you’re going to learn more about tattoos that age well and may even look better as time goes by. Read on to check it out.
Make Your Tattoo Last Longer: Remember
Tattoo aftercare, location, and design are important factors in the aging process of your ink. But, the most significant factor here is the expertise of a tattoo artist.
It’s useful to keep in mind tattoos are located in the dermis of the skin. This skin layer is about 1mm thick. Great expertise and precision are required to ensure the tattoo needle reaches and remains in the dermis. It’s easy to miss out and go too deep.
When a tattoo artist goes too deep, the ink tends to blow out. With time, the tattoo doesn’t have its sharp and clear-cut lines but starts to look kind of sloppy. In other words, your tattoo won’t age well.
So, the choice of a tattoo artist is absolutely crucial here. You shouldn’t rush. Give yourself enough time to choose an artist whose skills, talent, and expertise will give you an amazing tattoo that will age well and look equally appealing with time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of choices today. Talented tattoo artists showcase their work on social media and it’s easy to find the right person.
Once you’ve chosen the tattoo artist you need to think about tattoo aftercare.
Are you prepared to stay dedicated to washing/moisturizing your tattoo properly, especially as it heals?
Can you make sure your tattoo doesn’t get too much sun exposure?
If so, you are ready for a tattoo and it has a high chance of aging well. But you also need to choose the right location. Skin is the largest organ of the human body and it gives us plenty of places for tattoos. Not all places are equally beneficial.
Some parts of the body may keep your tattoo looking perfect for many years while others can do the opposite. This is why many people need touchups frequently. If you’re not sure which body part to go for, your tattoo artist can help you out.
Plus, this guide is going to focus on the best locations for tattoos that age well.
And lastly – design.
Even the image or design you choose plays a role in the aging process. Some images are prone to fading and lose their sharpness with time. Others are more generous and withstand the test of time. As you’re going to see in this post, larger tattoos are more resistant to aging.
15 Tips for Tattoos That Age Well
1. Tattoos that were properly maintained
Properly maintained tattoos look better with age, but it’s something we tend to underestimate. The reality is that how you care for a tattoo after you step out of a tattoo shop is a huge indicator of how it’s going to look as you age.
Tattoo artists always give instructions and show you how to take care of your tattoo. At the same time, websites of tattoo shops have pages dedicated specifically to tattoo care. You need to follow these instructions, even if they may seem tedious or unnecessary to you.
You see, tattoos are stressful to the skin and it needs to heal properly. When you allow the tattoo to heal properly, there is no need for touch-ups. Your ink looks perfect for a long time.
On the flip side, if the tattoo doesn’t heal adequately, you may need touch-ups and it’s less likely to look perfect later on.
2. Tattoos on the flat of the forearm
Tattoos, just like real estate, are all about location. Some parts of the body are more generous in the way they allow tattoos to age well. Others not so much!
Body ink in areas with high friction tends to fade fast. These areas include feet, hands, and other parts of the body which come into contact with friction.
It’s useful to remember that some high-friction zones are not the same for everyone. Clothes you typically wear, activities, and lifestyle in general play a role in how much friction a certain part of the body endures.
One area that doesn’t usually endure a lot of friction is the flat of the forearm. This specific area is tight, relatively large, and flatters both big and small tattoos. Plus, tattoos on the flat of your forearm are easy to conceal with clothes when necessary.
Since your goal is to get a tattoo that will age well, choosing this specific part of the body is worth taking into consideration.
3. Upper arm tattoos
Yet another relatively low-friction area where tattoos tend to age well is the upper arm. Just like the flat of the forearm, this area is quite big and allows for larger tattoos.
At the same time, the upper arm area is almost always covered with clothes. That means exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is lower and the tattoo doesn’t fade as quickly as it does in other parts of the body.
However, keep in mind your location here plays a major role. If you live in sunny areas where your upper arms are uncovered most of the time, then you may want to reconsider getting an upper arm tattoo if you want ink that will age well.
4. Inner arm tattoo
Tattoos on the inner area of your arm tend to age well, too. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, inner arm tattoos are the best option. The reason is simple – they are not exposed to the sun.
Low sun exposure means these tattoos fade at a slower rate. They remain in perfect condition for longer. And it’s also incredibly easy to cover and conceal these tattoos when necessary.
The beauty of inner arm areas is that they allow you t go for small, medium, and large tattoos.
5. Back tattoos
Tattoos on the back usually withstand the test of time. Your back is a low-friction area. For the most part of the year, your back is covered unless you wear backless tops in summer. So, tattoos in this area are not exposed to the sun that much.
Since they are concealed from the sun, they don’t fade as fast as they would in other places. All this can help your tattoo age well. Plus, the back is such a large area that allows you to go for any size tattoo you want.
Whether you want smaller ink or more elaborate designs, you can get them tattooed on your back.
It’s also useful to mention that the back is relatively stable, especially around the shoulder blades. For instance, skin on the abdomen stretches as you gain or lose weight thus affecting the quality of your tattoo.
Since the skin on your back is tighter and more stable than in the abdomen, it will help your tattoo age well.
6. Upper thigh tattoo
Here is yet another area where your tattoos may age well. The upper thigh isn’t as exposed to the sun as your hands, for example. For that reason, tattoos are less likely to fade. Plus, this area is relatively firmer than your stomach. So the look for your tattoo is less likely to distort.
Of course, when you are sunbathing and need to expose your tattoo it’s recommended to use sunscreen. That way, you will protect both the skin and your tattoo from damage.
The upper thigh is a large area. You can opt for more delicate and subtle designs or go for bold, striking images. Options are endless and the choice is yours.
What we love about upper thigh tattoos is that they’re usually a representation of someone’s creativity. People tend to use the opportunity and get some edgy tattooed on this area. After all, most people go for tattoos on the back, arms, or ankles. Upper thigh tattoos are kind of edgy, but also easy to cover up with clothes.
Before you go ahead and get a thigh tattoo, think about the clothes you wear and whether it’s going to rub your tattoo too much. Rubbing may exacerbate fading. If your clothes don’t pose this “threat” then a thigh tattoo is a good choice.
Also Read: 30+ Sexiest Thigh Tattoo Designs For Girls
7. Upper ribcage tattoo
The upper ribcage is a great location for a tattoo that may age well. Basically, it shouldn’t extend too far toward your abdomen. Tattoos that extend to the abdomen are at a higher risk of distorting as you gain or lose weight.
In pregnant women, this is one spot on the abdomen that isn’t likely to stretch and even if it happens, it won’t be too drastic. That means your ribcage tattoo can withstand even the most extreme changes in your body.
Sticking to the upper ribcage area limits your space for body ink. Elaborate designs may not be a good idea in this case. But you can still opt for bolder tattoos if you make them extend up, rather than down toward the abdomen.
Floral images, inspirational quotes, and other symbols are the perfect fit for your upper ribcage. Yet another reason tattoos in this area age well is low sun exposure.
8. Back of the neck tattoo
The back of the neck is a unique tattoo location. Most people tend to go for standard body parts such as arms, legs, back, but the neck is usually reserved for adventurous spirits, men and women who love everything edgy and exciting.
This particular area doesn’t have too much exposure and it’s more likely to stay looking brand new for longer. Even more so if you have long hair that covers the back of the neck!
Unfortunately, most people tend to forget about the back of the neck when they’re applying sunscreen at the beach. Make sure you don’t forget it. Proper sun protection will keep your tattoo safe, but also shield your skin against UV rays.
Keep in mind back of the neck also has tight skin that is not subjected to an increase or decrease in volume as you lose or gain weight. That can also help your tattoo age well. While this area isn’t that large, it’s still a good choice for elegant and wild tattoos alike.
9. Shoulder tattoo
The skin on the shoulders isn’t affected by aging that much. That’s why tattoos on this part of your body tend to age well.
You see, shoulder skin doesn’t stretch like the skin on the abdomen. Your tattoo is highly unlikely to change in shape and get distorted due to drastic skin changes.
At the same time, your shoulders aren’t exposed to the sun that much (unless during summer, but you can protect it).
Shoulder skin also happens to be generous in terms of designs that you can choose for your tattoo. You can opt for flowers or other imagery such as the crescent moon. There are tons of choices. If you’re not sure what tattoo to get, you can always ask your tattoo artist to help you out.
Also Read: 30+ Most Popular Shoulder Tattoos For Women in 2023
10. Calf tattoo
Calves, just like shoulders, are not severely affected by the aging process. For that reason, tattoos in this specific area may age well.
Additionally, calves are generally not exposed to the sun. So your tattoo may not fade as quickly as a tattoo on your hands, for example.
Yet another reason calf tattoos are awesome is their unique location. It’s an unusual place to get a tattoo, which is exactly what appeals to free spirits and persons who like to think outside the box.
Besides getting a tattoo on one calf, you can do on both and make designs complement one another. It’s like ink on two calves is telling the same story. Your creativity is the most important thing here.
11. Black tattoo
If you’re looking for tattoos that age well, you can never go wrong with a black tattoo. While multicolor tattoos are incredibly beautiful and widely popular, black tattoos tend to age better.
Why is that?
Multicolor tattoos fade faster. The lighter the color, the faster it fades. White hues and shades tend to fade the fastest. This is the biggest reason many people avoid watercolor tattoos. They look great for a while, but they don’t age well.
The darker the color, the longer it stays, though. For that reason, black tattoos are your best bet if you want your ink to age well and look brand new for a long time.
12. Grayscale tattoo
A grayscale tattoo is, essentially, a black and gray tattoo. Since this ink is on the darker side, it doesn’t fade as quickly as multicolor tattoos.
What makes these tattoos special is the fact shades and hues of gray and black transitioning into one another add more depth to the image and the whole tattoo. To get the most out of a grayscale tattoo you should choose a talented tattoo artist.
13. Bold design tattoo
Even though minimalist tattoos are easy to conceal and they happen to be a popular choice by many, bold and more elaborate designs tend to age better. These tattoos require strong skills and attention to detail.
As your skin ages, the look and quality of the tattoo may distort and weaken if you opt for subtle and small tattoos. This is particularly the case if you place the tattoo on areas with high sun exposure.
Bold designs, strong lines, or more elaborate images withstand the test of time. This is partly down to the amount of ink they require. For example, you can opt for big and striking letters. Or, you may want to go for unique designs and images.
If you’re not a fan of bold and thick lines, you can ask the tattoo artist to combine fine lines with extravagant designs. That way, you could still help your tattoo age well.
14. American traditional tattoo
American traditional tattoos are easy to recognize. Strong, black outlines, minimal shading, and vivid colors are the main characteristics of these tattoos. American traditional tattoos are bold and striking. They’re usually medium or large.
While the American traditional tattoos do work in smaller designs when we think about this type of body ink we immediately think of more noticeable looks.
The amount of ink they require allows for “graceful” aging. As time goes by, the tattoo still looks great. Even as it fades, it retains its charm and gets the distressed jeans look.
Even though American traditional tattoos are usually multicolor, they’re also available in black and grey. Or you can combine black and grey with colorful elements. Your tattoo artist will make sure you get the result you’ve pictured in your mind.
15. Large tattoo
When it comes to tattoos that age well, the larger may be better. Why? Small tattoos, especially those with tons of intricate details, tend to be lost with time as skin cells change and move.
On the other hand, larger designs allow more room for displacement. Later on, when the tattoo starts to fade and years go by, the design is still readable. It’s still clear what tattoo represents or which imagery you chose. Touchups are easy nowadays, but there’s more room to perform them if you opt for larger tattoos.
Keep in mind this doesn’t mean your tattoo has to cover the entire body part. You don’t need to get a sleeve tattoo unless you really want. It should just be big enough to withstand the subtle changes through which your skin goes as it heals or gets older while making sure the tattoo is readable.