So you are thinking about getting a cute little Celtic design around you belly button? Well, why not? They are extremely popular, there are tons of designs to choose from and summer is just around the corner. Considered the ultimate accessory, unique designs have seen a major influx at shops. Sadly my idea of the word “unique” and everyone else’s seems to differ greatly. A post-teen girl will walk in, look at a design on the wall and in five minutes decide that is what she wants to sport on her belly button for the rest of her life.
I had the area around my belly button tattooed 14 years ago, and while it does not look distorted or skewed, if I had it to do over again there is a very good chance that I wouldn’t do it. If you are slightest bit ticklish the whole process will be comical as you will be squirming around in the chair like a fish out of water. If you have a low tolerance to pain then this is defiantly something that you will want to think long and hard about. The actual tattoo might not hurt but when it is healing you will have to alter the type of clothing you wear, how you sleep and the products you use in the shower. This isn’t something that heals in a week or two; some customers have come back a month later and the tattoo looks as if the work was just done the day before.
Aside from the pain and discomfort of getting a belly button tattoo there are some other things that you need to stop and think about. Are you planning on getting married any time soon? Have any social functions that will have your midriff exposed? Conservative parents that would strongly object to such an undertaking? Plan on having a child? You need to ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly; getting a tattoo because its “cool” isn’t a good enough reason.
I was extremely lucky that my tattoo did not get distorted when I was pregnant; that isn’t always the case. We have seen some incredible pieces get completely stretched out and then women come in and ask if there is anything we can do. The only suggestion we offer is exercise and long t-shirts. While skin and muscle have the capability to regain their original size the underlying ink may not. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant never get a tattoo. That last statement should be common sense but I have had women in their fifth and sixth month walk into the shop and ask for a tattoo or touch up.
We’ve covered pregnancy but what happens with weight loss? Let’s say you start hitting the gym and tone up your abdominal area; that cute butterfly or dragon your had around your navel might be looking like its playing a one person game of hide and seek. That’s right, the design can start to seep into the belly button and look completely horrid. Stretching, fading and distortion are three of the main reasons to stop and think about whether a belly button tattoo is right for you.
So you are still thinking about a belly button tattoo; let’s play devil’s advocate here. You pick out a design, set aside the funds and make the appointment. What happens after you get your tattoo? Well, you have to wear low rise jeans or loose pants that will not irritate the area. You will have to keep it covered with a piece of plastic wrap so the ointment doesn’t get all over your clothes. You will have to sleep on your side for a few days because the area will be extremely tender. When showering you will have to make sure that the area is completely free of any shampoo, conditioner or scented body soap. Wow, that really puts a spin on things doesn’t it?
Then there is the social stigma attached to a belly button tattoo, while not as bad as a ‘tramp stamp’ (a tattoo across or on the lower back) you will have to mull over how others will react when they see this type of tattoo. If you are considering a job in the business world it could come back to haunt you. How? What if you are invited to a social event and oops, someone spots it? While tattoos have become more commonplace, people are still judgmental of them and the people that have them. What happens if you meet the man of your dreams and he is completely and totally put off by your ink? Laser removal is an option but there is no guarantee that it can be removed completely.
As a tattoo artist, I see things from both sides of the fence. Having a belly button tattoo myself, it seems rather contradictory for me to try and dissuade people from getting one but I would rather lose a hundred dollars on a piece than to have someone regret it. With people showing more and more skin this isn’t the same as getting your fraternity letters tattooed or branded on your ankle or a sexy design on your bikini area, this is something that could be visible if you wear a crop top, are working out at the gym with a sport bra on or are at the beach.