Johan Meier
6 min read

I Hate My Tattoo - Now What?

"I hate my new tattoo!". This is a thought nobody wishes to have. A tattoo is something you should be ready to show for the rest of your life. If you are not happy, it is a huge concern. At least marriages can end in divorce.

Having a bad tattoo is not the end of the world. In fact, below are the
 best 4 ways of dealing with the situation.

Make a Cover Up Tattoo

A new design in the place of your current ink

We call this ‘covering up'. If you just made a full colored back, it probably won't work, but if you got a small tattoo, lettering or just want to substitute an old piece, there's hope. Some artists even specialize on cover ups. 

Here are some guidelines that will give you a better concept:

  • When you create a cover-up tattoo, you generally don’t draw on top of your current one. The concept is actually about mixing new colors on the one you already have. Thus, it is easier to cover up lighter shades than darker hues, and you can turn former into the latter. For example, your artist can change blue into purple, pink into magenta, and so on.
  • Black is the hardest color to cover up. Also, most artists predominantly use the black to create a cover-up.
  • Most of the tattoo experts recommend a cover-up tattoo be at least 30%-40% larger than the previous tattoo. This is to ensure that the bad parts are concealed effectively.
  • Older tattoos are easier to cover up.
  • Let us be straightforward. Your skin will be worked out after two sessions; so, it will need better care. A cover-up tattoo will take more time to heal than a fresh on. It will be itchy at first, but if you follow proper hygiene, it will be worth it given that you get a good design. If you needs tips on how to help your tattoo, check it here.
  • Don’t forget: a cover-up tattoo can go wrong as well. So choose the best artist you can afford.

Warrior cover up sleeve tattoo

Tribal Tiger turned into full sleeve black & gray Samurai 

Portrait cover up sleeve tattoo - trash polka

Tattoo on the left turned into a Trash Polka stylish piece

Tattoo Laser Removal

For those who had enough with ink

“I don't like my new tattoo, and I don’t want to draw anything else!”. Fair enough. For such cases, the answer is laser removal.

Here is the mechanism; some light laser is fired into your skin. The laser turns your colors into lighter particles, and then your skin itself shades the picture off with an immune reaction. Seems simple, right? Well, not really. Here are some things you ought to know about laser removal:

  • Laser tattoo removal is more of a treatment process done by a dermatologist (skin doctor).
  • The entire process might take up to 12 weeks.
  • It is not guaranteed that the laser process completely removes your tattoo. It depends on various factors such as the color, depth at which you apply the tattoo, size, etc.
  • Laser removal can take tattoo off but may leave you with permanent scars.
  • It hurts more than doing a tattoo. So more often than not, the doctor will numb the skin with an injection or give you a local anesthetic.
  • Light colors are comparatively harder to remove — for example, green and yellow and different wave lengths might have to be used.
  • It is not a cheap process.

Here is an example of something that would be painful and take many sessions:

Wolverine tattoo fail

Turn it into something bigger

Looking at the forest, most won't notice the trees

Maybe you really are into tattoos. Maybe you have several other pieces and just don't like one of them in specific. If that's the case, you can "minimise the impact of the tree by growing a full forest". That would be continuing to get more tattoos. if you turn the piece into a sleeve or a full back, the undesirable piece will play a small, insignificant role.

However, this time, you need to be more careful - either by choosing the right tattoo artist or by not taking decisions in haste.

tattoo cover up dragonfly floral theme

The dragonfly became part of full upper arm with a floral theme

owl tattoo as example for coverup

A cover-up using the same base, but improving the main element

A new perspective

Meaning changes with time

If it's not the artist's work, but your design choice that you're mad about, give yourself some time...who knows, after a month or so you might start liking your tattoo again. If not, you can always try to attribute it a new meaning. Go back to the state of mind you had when you first made it and extract the meaning that once compelled you to get the ink done. 

Also, the mind changes. Maybe someday you'll be able to laugh about it.  

awful tattoo of watch in wrist

Keep in mind that jokes, just as people, grow old

bart simpson bad tattoo

If a tattoo of Bart Simpsons seems like a great idea, it probably isn't

If none of this work, at least be happy you probably aren't as bad as the folks bellow:

mr brightside tattoo - fail

worst tattoos - africa

inappropriate Michael Jackson tattoo

Franklin tattoo in neck

noledge is power tattoo went wrong

If none of this works for you, at least you can keep it as an example of poor choices you've made.

Or to prove your grandkids you were once young and wild and free.