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Why Getting A Tattoo In Your 50 Is The New Rite Of Passage

4 min read

It can be your little secret or can make a personal statement to the world about your values and beliefs. Women’s motivations for getting a tattoo later in life vary.

For some ladies over 50, it’s a way of showing independence or an act of self-expression celebrating their achievements and all of these fragments of life that make them who they are. Others do it to remember or honour someone else, and still, others do it just as a fad. For women who reach their 50s, a decade during which many begin to feel invisible and ignored by society mostly because of ageism, a tattoo is also an ideal birthday present to themselves.

In the end, whether you choose the mystery of a tiny permanent bracelet on your ankle or wrist, a cluster of hearts on a foot or an inspirational phrase winding down your spine, all that matters is that you opt for something you absolutely love and you are proud of.

Celebrating life’s milestones with a tattoo

The good news is you’re never too old to be inked and nowadays, tattoos have moved past many of their negative associations and are widely accepted.

First-time Susan Sarandon got inscribed with her children’s initials was at the age of 61; Jennifer Aniston got her first tattoo at 42 in memory of her deceased pooch Norman.

In case you missed it, Helen Mirren, 70, declared that she’s considering getting a sleeve tattoo, a snake perhaps, to go with the small one she has on her left hand, while Dame Judi Dench has got her first tattoo for her 81st birthday from her daughter.

However, it wasn’t until Melanie Griffith inked a heart labelled ‘Antonio’ (Banderas) on her right bicep in 2000 at age 42 that body art for ladies became the edgy thing to do.

Amongst other mature celebrities who love tattoos are: Cher (she has several ones, including a large dragon on her back and a heart on her arm) who got her first tattoo in the 1960s, but she has continued to add to her collection over the years, and Jane Fonda who got her first tattoo, a small peace sign on her finger, at the age of 79. She has said that she got it as a symbol of her lifelong commitment to activism.

Success stories of adults who got a tattoo in their 50s

Ultimately, you can get a tattoo at any age, and you shouldn’t care about what society might think regarding your personal choices. The only person who can decide if you’re too old to get a tattoo is you.

I think that for older women, in particular, getting a tattoo is just another expression of their newfound independence and self-awareness – pianist Gloria D., 55,  says to CrunchyTales-. Women in their 50 have been around long enough not to worry about what other people think about them, and now we have the freedom to more fully express our creativity and passions in life.

For the personal trainer Sheila G., 53, it’s also a matter of self-affirmation.

I guess I feel more comfortable with who I am and not like I have anything to prove -she explains-. Somehow getting a tattoo seemed like a celebration of how much I like my body, where it is now and how much it’s capable of. When I was considering getting it, I would go for runs and fantasize about it, look at my arm and imagine that it was already there. I somehow connected it with that feeling of power I got while running.

Samantha B. had it done at age 61 and on her last day of work, but the tattoo marked much more than her transition into retirement from the real-estate business.

The older I get the more freedom I feel – she remarks-. It’s a little bit like a licence to do your own thing. There’s a touch of the forbidden in it, of course, of the daring, the transgressive. It’s a mark of the wild woman, and 60 seemed to me, an excellent time to go wild, to loosen the hold of convention and break free of expectations.

Tattoo care for ageing skin

For ladies thinking of getting their first one, the best piece of advice you can follow is to try and find an artist you trust, preferably with a strong portfolio.

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Make sure he/she has a licence, a spotless work environment and excellent references. Even more importantly, it’s also better to work with an artist who has done work on mature skin (thinner and more susceptible to bruising) before. The whole process is painful and permanent and laser removal if you change your mind, is not much fun.

Caring for your tattoo is crucial, especially as we age. Mature skin is more prone to dryness and damage, which can impact the longevity and vibrancy of your tattoo. To keep your tattoo looking its best, it’s important to take good care of your skin.

One of the most important things you can do is to keep your skin moisturized. Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and supple, and avoid exposing your tattoo to harsh chemicals or detergents. You should also avoid direct sunlight, as UV rays can cause your tattoo to fade over time.

In addition to these basic care tips, it’s also important to keep an eye on your tattoo for any signs of infection or damage. If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge around your tattoo, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Early treatment can help prevent complications and ensure that your tattoo stays healthy and beautiful for years to come.

We can’t also deny getting a tattoo, although a permanent decision regardless, can give all sorts of different results as the years go by. Some of them that look coolest in the short term may end up fading over time or getting ruined by changes in our bodies. And this can be really frustrating if you weren’t prepared.

So, if you don’t want to get disappointed in the long term, don’t decorate areas where you tend to gain weight or have saggy flabby skin. Skip your belly, decolletage, and derriere. Try the back of the neck or lower back, or if you want something more visible, the inner forearm is good: it doesn’t lose muscle tone the way the upper arm does.

Most of all, don’t choose a ‘cheap’ option because of the price; it can often result in a bad-looking tattoo and a lot of regrets.

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