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The Perils of Vacation Body Art
Vacations are exciting! You get to go to different places and do different things. They almost always are all about fun, and of course, why wouldn't you want to do something to either bring that fun home with you or remember it long past when the vacation ends?
That's all well and good, but when it comes to souvenirs of a vacation it's really a better idea to skip doing something with body art as part of your trip. Decisions made while on vacation tend to be more spur of the moment and the lack of planning or forethought can too easily come back to haunt people once they've returned home.
Tattooing, Sun and Sea Don't Mix
There are all sorts of island cultures that had tattooing as part of their traditions but when you are on a tropical vacation is exactly when NOT to get tattooed. Waterborne bacterial infections are one of the biggest risks when you go swimming in rivers and the ocean. Even hot tubs and pools carry this risk, especially if they are used by a lot of people. Add to that the fact that getting new tattoos wet can make them scab poorly and heal unevenly. Overall, if you want to go swimming, you need to pass on the tattooing.
Everyone's Doing It
Most often the really impulsive tattoo decision is fueled by peer pressure and lubricated with some alcohol. Quite often this sets up a scenario where anything can happen from poor design choices to questionable placement and the use of tattoo artists who clearly just wanted to make a buck off the tourist who didn't really care what they were getting tattooed as long as it seemed fun. The exchange rate might have made it cheap to get tattooed, but laser removal runs into the thousands of dollars and it's going to hurt a lot more than you remember from the initial tattooing.
Know What You Are Doing
The biggest culprit for unhappy holiday body art these days seems to be body painting with henna. People are told it's just a "temporary tattoo." Henna isn't tattooing, and it's a lot less temporary than people are led to believe. One interesting instance of this occurred when Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles of England, was visiting Tanzania and decided to get a small henna design done on her hand. Apparently she was told the design would last only a day or two. In actuality, henna can stain the skin for up to six weeks (depending on your skin and how long the henna was left on before washing off). The design will finally disappear once all the stained skin has exfoliated and worn off. You can't speed up the scrubbing when something stains the skin that deeply. Body artists who work in and around tourists know they are selling a memory to someone who is going to leave and there's almost no chance of anyone coming back to complain if something goes wrong.
Hopefully, Camilla's henna design wasn't done with chemically-created "black henna" and the design should eventually wear off... over the next two to four weeks.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rae Schwarz. All rights reserved.
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