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What to Do When Your Tattoo Needs an Update

Is your tattoo looking a little worn? Perhaps you got the ink decades ago, but you really don't want a cover-up tattoo because, let's face it,​ first tattoos are allowed to be sort of generic and they can hold a special meaning. Not everyone wants to erase all the traces of an old tattoo. But everyone deserves a second shot—and that includes you and your tattoo. If you're embarrassed of your design circa 1999, then follow these tips for modernizing it and bringing it back into the future.

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Add Color

woman with tattooed arms

Kal Visuals/Unsplash

Freshening up the color in an old tattoo with instantly make it look newer and more vibrant. Today, artists have a huge selection of bright and bold tattoo inks, so book an appointment with a trusted tattoo professional and allow him to enhance your old tattoo through new hues.

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Make it Larger

woman with back tattoo

 Artem Kryzhanivskyi/Unsplash

Perhaps you still love your classic rose tattoo, but it's looking a little small and dingy in comparison to today's larger body pieces.

To prevent fading, cover your tattoo with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above whenever you go outside.

You can keep your original tattoo design and ask your trusted tattoo artist to enlarge it, perhaps by adding some more petals to the bloom if it's a rose. If you're happy with the original design concept and placement of the tattoo, enlarging it is a simple process that will change the look of your tattoo slightly, but for the better.

03 of 04

Add Details

woman with tattoos drinking a milkshake

Mirko Krizan/Unsplash

Maybe snake tattoo curled up on your shoulder blade has lost a bit of its charm. But a talented tattoo artist knows the most important and attractive parts of a tattoo are always in the details! If it's not detailed, you could add shading, reshape the snake's eye, or even draw a scene around it. There are endless ways an old tattoo can benefit from a few well-placed design additions.

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Add Verses

word tattoo on forearm

Curology/Unsplash

Script tattoos are some of the most requested tattoo styles. Adding a simple verse or a quote to your existing tattoo will help update the look and even the style of your design. If you have a cross tattoo, you could consider a Biblical psalm? If you're wearing a heart tattoo, you might want to add a quote about love.

Whenever you opt for a script tattoo design, make sure you select an artists whose handwriting you actually like. There's almost nothing worse than an illegible or botched verse tattoo, which is why you always want to double, triple, and quadruple check the spelling too.

If you're going to take the time to update your tattoo and enhance its design, it's crucial you also find the right artist this time around. Look at portfolios, and see if they show off their new or cover-up work. Ask them questions about how they can change your old tattoo by making a few design enhancements.

While covering up an old tattoo is somewhat the more popular solution, there are many, many tattoos that can survive a lifetime just by giving them a little more attention. So freshen up all that faded ink, add a few intricate design details, and don't forget to double check all of the changes before inking them the second time around.

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