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These Photos Show What Happens To Tattoos As You Age

Photo: Donald Teel on Unsplash
old man with face tattoos

You wouldn't know it by looking at the number of people with tattoos today, but it used to be that only outlaws of a sort were inked. If you had tattoos, especially if you were a woman, society thought of you as hard, weird and strange.

Older people who have tattoos got them long before they became popular. They didn't get inked because it was trendy — they did it as a way of expressing themselves in a radical way.

With so much tailored to the young, older people are often invisible and are thought of as irrelevant, but when a senior citizen is heavily inked, you can't help but notice them.

What happens to tattoos when you get old?

There's no denying that tattoos change as you age. Factors such as loss of skin elasticity, sun exposure, weight gain or loss, and natural skin cell renewal may cause tattoos to fade, stretch, grow blurry. The extent of any such "damage" depends on your nutrition, hydration, the quality of the ink used, and the location on your body, among other things.

Some arguments against tattoos therefore revolve around the thinking that they will look "awful" on wrinkled and aging skin, when actually, older people with tattoos look fabulous. Their tattoos tell the stories of their lives and will continue to last as their memories start to fade.

RELATED: 7 People Who Turned Tattoos Of Their Ex Into Creative Genius

If you're still on the fence about whether or not to get a tattoo because you're worried about what they'll look like when you get old, here are 13 photos of inked senior citizens who show that they're still as vibrant and colorful as the tattoos they so proudly wear.

11 pictures of old people with tattoos

1. An inked older couple

Photo by Jack Frog on Shutterstock

He's completely inked and completely still in love.

2. Older woman with an arm tattoo

Photo by Sabrina Bracher on Shutterstock

If you think she regrets it, just look at that smile.

RELATED: What Your Tattoo Placement Says About Your Personality

3. Man with a face full of tats

Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash

Anybody who's met this man will never forget him.

4. Tattooed old boxer

Photo by farinsia on Shutterstock

We're sure his tough exterior is covering up his heart of gold.

5. Older man with arm tattoos

Photo by ltummy on Shutterstock

If those tats could talk, I wonder what stories they'd tell.

6. Beautiful older woman with arm and chest tattoos

Photo by Krakenimages on Shutterstock

This woman is proof that a woman of a certain age can still be hot.

RELATED: 50 Simple & Elegant Tattoo Ideas For Women

7. Fading hand tattoo on an older man

Photo by MariaNikiforova on Shutterstock

Tattoos do fade over time, but in many ways, that just makes them more beautiful.

8. Tattooed senior surfer

Photo by DisobeyArt on Shutterstock

Could this man get any hotter?

RELATED: 15 God-Awful Tattoos People Got In The Name Of "Love"

9. Grandpa with a "Mum" tattoo

Mom tattoos are forever.

10. Tattooed old rocker.

Photo by Hatim Belyamani on Unsplash

We're pretty sure he's still the life of every party.

11. Arm tattoo on an older man with his loving wife

Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

Another couple proving that even though your tattoos may fade, your love doesn't have to.

RELATED: 8 Celeb Tattoo Artists To Follow On Instagram For Your Next Tattoo Inspiration

Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day.

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