Tattoo Sleeves

An authentic tattoo sleeve is essentially any tattoo that completely covers the skin of a whole extremity. Typically tattoo sleeves are done on the arms and they can come in a variety of lengths. A full sleeve tattoo starts from the shoulder blade all the way down to the wrist. A half sleeve is from the shoulder to the elbow, and a quarter sleeve is from the elbow to the wrist.

It is not uncommon to find tattoo sleeves that began from a single tattoo in the extremity and eventually grew into a full sleeve through accumulation of other tattoos. Tattoo sleeves can either be a single design, typically something elongated such as a snake, a dragon or a long tribal design, or they can be an amalgamation of individual tattoos covering the extremity.

Real tattoos generally are invasive. This means that in order for someone to have a tattoo, they need to go through the needle process where a needle is superficially "inserted" to the skin to apply ink and design the tattoo. There has been some concern recently regarding transmittable diseases (particularly Hepatitis-B and AIDS [HIV]) and tattoo shops. Just as in a dentist’s office, as long as the area is strictly sanitized, your chances for infection will be greatly reduced. Immunization against Hepatitis-B also reduces the risk particularly for those who intend to have more body art done to them. Hep-B is a much more serious concern than HIV as the virus is much more virulent and easier to catch.

Tattoo removal is as equally tedious a process as the original tattoo was to put on. Though it is uncommon for people who get tattoos to want them removed, lives change and there are still many who grow to regret a tattoo because of what it symbolizes, because of inferior or old art, or simply because they grew tired of it. Varying reasons are credited to removal of tattoos, from a simple aesthetic appeal to health problems. Some also acknowledge maturity as a reason to remove their tattoos, since they are commonly attributed to rash youth, short-term involvements (when you're young you think everything is forever... then you grow older, things change, and YIKES - you still have the 'permanent reminder' you now don't want!), and risky or bohemian lifestyles. Smaller tattoos are of course easier to remove, but whole sleeves are a serious matter, involve a lot of time and pain, and show the scars of removal that might look worse than the tattoo did.

Tattoo sleeves can look beautiful, but they are visible and extreme body art and you'll want to be absolutely sure you'll still like them when you're 70, before committing to them when you're 25.


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