Tattoo Regrets! Tattoos to Avoid at All Costs

If you’re considering a tattoo — or adding to your collection of permanent body art — make sure your next skin-baring statement doesn’t ever come with a story of tattoo regrets.

The one rule of thumb? Think before you ink!

Tattoos should never be a rash decision, or one made under the influence of friends (or far too many drinks), as they’re permanent and can be difficult and painful to remove. You should also fully do your research before committing to a design to wear for the rest of your life. With this in mind, here are six types of tattoos that are simply asking for trouble.

1. Chinese symbols

Woman with tattoo on the back

So many things can go wrong when inking Chinese symbols. |

Chinese symbols are a dime a dozen among the tattooed masses. Perhaps they all like having an unreadable code word on their body. But, unless you are Chinese or at least read the language, this go-to form of body art should be a no-go. Also, besides being rather cliché, putting a symbol on your skin that isn’t in the language you speak is asking for trouble. Who’s to say your tattoo artist really knows what the Chinese symbol for peace is? To avoid a regrettable decision, at least make sure that you are 100% certain of the symbol’s meaning and have it fact-checked by someone who knows Chinese well.

2. Misspelled phrases

picking tattoo colors

Make sure your artist has everything spelled right before they start. | Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Just like Chinese symbols that can stand for the wrong thing, you don’t want phrases that are rendered in plain English to have a typo. There is no “erase” or “undo” button for tattoos, after all. There is no better use for spellcheck and a Dictionary than before you go under the needle. Double- and triple-check whatever you’re spelling out on your skin to ensure you haven’t made an error — or that your tattoo artist hasn’t interchanged a few letters. Otherwise, you’ll have a permanent mistake that will always bother you.

3. Statements about your significant other

Young couple with matching tattoos kissing

A lot of risk comes with inking matching tattoos. |

Whether it’s the name of your boyfriend or girlfriend, your wedding date, or something that you and your significant other share in common, tattoos that reflect your relationship can be pretty regrettable. Even if you’re deeply in love and headed for happily ever after, our recommendation is to not brand it on your skin. Not to rain on your parade, but should you split with your sweetheart, that tattoo will only be a painful reminder. This might be one of the most common tattoo regrets that no one seems to be immune to, and even celebrities from Angelina Jolie to Kaley Cuoco have dealt with the effects of trying to cover up or remove such tattoos.

4. Cartoon characters

George W. Bush posing with a guy who has head tattoos

It’s OK to be childish at times, but don’t make it obvious to everyone. | Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Image

We know that cartoons conjure fond memories of childhood and mornings spent by the television with a bowl of cereal, but that doesn’t mean that you need Wile E. Coyote or SpongeBob SquarePants on your skin. You wouldn’t want to permanently wear a Mickey Mouse shirt, right? So why would you ever put it in permanent ink? It looks juvenile at best, and just plain silly at worst. We love that you’re a kid at heart, but channel that youthful energy into other endeavors.

5. Celebrity faces

Man at an event for Donald Trump with his face tattooed on his arm

Do we really need to explain this one? | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Celebrities are people just like you and me. To idolize them, especially by tattooing them on your body, is only asking for trouble. You may be the biggest Belieber out there, but even you may outgrow the obsession. So, just say no to putting his face (or any star-studded face) on your own anatomy. No one wants to look like a crazy fan girl or fan boy, anyway. Plus, it reads as just a bit creepy.

6. Face tattoos

Mike Tyson

Face tattoos can lead to a whole slew of problems in your future. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Speaking of faces, one of the most noticeably cringe-worthy and distracting tattoos you can get is one on your own face. It’s a surefire way to drum up a world of regret the next day, year, or whenever you wake up to the fact that you’ve virtually (and intentionally) defaced your face. Short of wearing a ski mask, you can never cover up face ink. This means you’re immediately asking for trouble on job interviews or any future professional endeavors. You want people to see you — not your ink-stained face. Just say no.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachellw and Instagram @rachellwatkins