Are you ready for a tattoo?

Erica Paredes, Hippie in High Heels

Body piercing and tattoos are nothing new.

In fact, tattooing has been a local practice even before the Spaniards came. The Kalinga, Ifugao and Igorot tribes would get inked according to accomplishment or rank. Today, there is still one remaining Kalinga elder who does these traditional tattoos.

Likewise, body piercing has been a common practice for centuries and continues to this day in certain parts of the world.

With the increasing popularity of both types of body art, more and more employers have allowed it in the workplace. (But not all, so make sure your company isn’t conservative before you start showing off your new ink.) People with piercings and tattoos also elicit fewer stares when they walk down the street.

Have you been thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing?

Before making that commitment, here’s what you should consider:

1. Think about it a million times.
While a tattoo isn’t forever, it is 10 times more painful and expensive to get a bad piece of work lasered off than it is to ink it in.  So, make sure you’re ready to commit to being tattooed.

Body piercing can also leave permanent scars on your skin. When it comes to plugs (which is done by stretching the holes on the earlobe over a period of time by inserting pens and then larger-sized objects until the hole is big enough to fit a button-sized “plug” and later on, even a bottle cap-sized one), remember that when you get tired of your plugs, your lobes end up droopy and not very attractive.

2. Choose your design well.
Sure, your favorite cartoon character might seem like a good idea. Or your current boyfriend might try to convince you that the best way to show your love would be to get his name inked over your heart.

But tattoos that are cool at the moment usually lose their luster after awhile. Make sure you get something that means something to you, especially if it’s your first tat.

3. Think about hygiene.
Don’t go to just any tattoo shop. Make sure the shop you choose is certified by both Department of Health and PhilTAG or the Philippine Tattoo Artists Guild.

Even more importantly, don’t let your friends convince you that they can tattoo or pierce you at home!

Even when you’re in a certified shop, and just before your tattoo artist inks you, pay attention to how they prep things.  Make sure they open up new sterile needles and then dispose of them after.

4. Be prepared for societal repercussions.
Although body art is more accepted these days, remember that there will still be people who will stare or disapprove.

If you think this will make you feel too self-conscious, think hard before you ink.

More importantly, make sure piercings and tattoos are okay with your employer before you go through with them, especially if you plan to climb the ranks in your company.

5. Consider other health risks.
Again, make sure you go to a certified artist.

Still, you must be aware that unclean needles and supplies can result in health risks including Hepatitis B and even HIV.

Also, you will not be able to donate blood after getting a tattoo or piercing.  So, if you are required to do so on a regular basis, perhaps body art needs to wait.

Have a fashion or beauty question for Erica? Drop her a line at
Erica Paredes has been working in the publishing industry for almost a decade as a fashion and beauty editor, newspaper columnist, stylist and make-up artist. Nowadays she juggles her time between food and fashion, beauty and travel plus mommy duties to her 8 year old daughter.