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Here’s Exactly How To Decide Which Body Part To Tattoo Next

Because the pros told us so.

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1. Figure out if balance means anything to you.

oddtattooer; Oracle Tattoo / Via

"Customers with tattoos focused on one side of the body will sometimes come into the shop wanting a tattoo on the other side to even it out," Alex McWatt — tattoo artist at Three Kings Tattoo Parlor in Brooklyn — told BuzzFeed. If balance is a priority, that cuts your potential tat locations in half.

2. If you're thinking of getting a color tattoo, you may want to avoid exposed areas that get a lot of sun.

Cameron Rad / Via

"Extended sun exposure fades color tattoos," said McWatt. "If you're a sun bunny, I'd suggest sticking with a black tattoo." If you want to go for color, consider placing it in an area that isn't always exposed to the elements.

3. If you have a low pain tolerance, avoid tattooing areas of the body that are really ticklish to you.

Pinkypills / Getty Images

"The most painful areas to get tattooed vary from person to person," Jon Mesa of Sacred Tattoo in New York City told BuzzFeed. "In general, areas that have ticklish, sensitive skin (like the neck, ribs, and stomach) tend to be painful for everyone." Why? Because those areas have more nerve endings.


5. If you're looking for a low-maintenance tattoo, avoid your hands and feet.

Cait Oppermann / BuzzFeed

"The skin closer to the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands regenerates a lot faster," said McWatt. This regeneration can break down the tattoo, meaning you'll have to go for more frequent touch-ups.

6. For an easy tattoo spot, try the bicep.

Alice Carrier / Via Flickr: land_camera

"It's generally covered by a shirt — which protects it from the elements — and it's easy to access during the healing process, making applying moisturizer a simple task," McWatt said.

7. If you want a vertically designed tattoo, let the shape determine placement.

ROXX / 2Spirit Tattoo SF / Via Instagram: @roxx_____

"If you're thinking of an oval-shaped tattoo that is situated vertically, it might work best on the side of the arm, along the calf, or on another area that offers more length," said Fernando Lions of Flyrite Tattoo in Brooklyn.


9. If you have a lot of freckles, know that they'll show through lighter colors.

J.K. Califf / Via Flickr: emerycophoto

And, if you're doing a portrait, freckles may interfere with the overall look, according to Mesa. But, in the end, you have to trust yourself. "I think everyone should get the tattoo they want wherever they want it," said Mesa. "Freckles or not, it's all about fulfilling your vision."

10. Think about whether or not your current and ~foreseeable~ career path is down with tattoos.

Petar Petrovic; Dim Sum! / Via Flickr: ppetrovic72

If a visible tattoo might affect your job, put some extra thought into your placement. "I always encourage my clients to think about how other people will view their tattoos because I never want them to regret my work," McWatt said. "I'll try to talk some people out of being too bold — especially if they're first-timers."

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