Stars, infinities, shapes of animals, ornamental and tribal. Some of them with a meaning, others for pure enjoyment. The tattoo industry has risen and now, one-fifth of British adults are ‘inked’. If you walk around London you cannot avoid the sight of tattoos on people’s bodies. Some people find them vulgar and inappropriate others describe them as works of art.

Fifty years ago, tattoos were related to rebels and social outcasts – bikers, sailors and crazy people. But today, having a butterfly on the ankle or an initial, it is something completely normal.

Tattoos are a way to express the personality and the beliefs. They can also be a vivid reminder of something or somebody as well as forms of self-expression. Some of them are really stylish but there are also some risks to take into account. At first it is essential to get a tattoo in a professional salon, where you are sure that the artists use quality inks and sterile utensils. In fact, as Mayoclinic.org claims, allergic reactions and skin infections are really common. The tattoo, dyeing, can cause an allergic skin reaction such as an itchy rash as well as redness, swelling and pain. Do not forget about the illnesses that you can get with an unclean needle. The infected blood can contract tetanus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

After all the medical disorders that everyone can contract from a bad tattoo, there is the most common problem: dissatisfaction. There are a lot of teenagers that decide to get a tattoo but then, growing up they want to remove it. Removing tattoos is something that is possible but also very painful and it takes a long time. As the UK Health Centre explains, the laser treatment is the most common and it removes the tattoo by pulsing laser light on it. It does not require incisions but it is considered the most painful. Another way is by having a surgery. The surgical method requires local anaesthetic that allows the surgeon to cut out small sections of the tattoo. It is less painful then the other methods but it can cause allergies and bruising. Also, there are methods such as abrasion and scarification. These can often lead to permanent scarring as some tattoos may be settled quite far down into the skin, they may also cause a substantial amount of bleeding.

Another big issue is the possibility of employment. For some employers tattoos are still a taboo and it is considered a crucial point during a job interview. Management expert Dr Andrew Timming, who led  research about tattoos and employability at the University of St. Andrews in 2013, explained that employers tend not to hire people with tattoos because the customer can perceive them as untidy and repugnant.

Still, through the years things have undoubtedly changed. In fact, the prevalence of tattoos among celebrities has been followed with an acceptance among ordinary people. Starbucks, the worldwide coffee company, is an example of how things have changed. Since last October, the new policy says that employees can show their tattoos.

Having a tattoo is something really personal but make sure that it is what you really want and think about the consequences.