I now think of my sleeve as a form of socially legitimised self-harm, done at a time when I was agonising about my career. A self-sabotaging former child prodigy and writer whose physical prowess is part of the package, and whose best days are behind them by their 20s? The sleeve had to be done. And since then more and more people have made the same decision, although probably for very different reasons. Fifa has just released photos of the England World Cup squad, revealing that four players have had the mental acuity to pick up on the sleeve trend just five years after it first peaked, inspired by David Beckham. Justin Bieber has, inevitably, completed a sleeve too.
The gold standard of tattoo removal treatment modality is considered to be laser tattoo removal using multiple separate Q-switched lasers (depending om the specific wavelengths needed for the dyes involved) over a number of repeat visits. There are several types of Q-switched lasers, and each is effective at removing a different range of the color spectrum. Lasers developed during or after 2006 provide multiple wavelengths and can successfully treat a much broader range of tattoo pigments than previous individual Q-switched lasers. Unfortunately the dye systems used to change the wavelength result in significant power reduction such that the use of multiple separate specific wavelength lasers remains the gold standard.
If you're harboring any fear of commitment, it's going to come to surface when the time comes to decide on a tattoo. This goes without saying but when you’re going to ink yourself permanently—whether it’s a micro tat or a full sleeve—you're gonna want to get it right. Maybe you know what you want, but don’t know the best execution—something that will look good in 5, 10, or 40 years.
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The answers to those questions will determine whether you’re looking for a design or a specific image. A lot of guys are going for floral, geometric, or tribal designs just for the artistry. They add some flair to your skin. Other men choose images of religious figures, verses of Scriptures, or popular quotes to remind themselves and others what they believe in. Others feature tattoos of tigers, warriors, and dragons to show their strength. Still others get tattoos of skulls, an hourglass, or death faces to say, “I know it’s coming and I’m not afraid.” Finally, many men get tattoos of their favorite superheroes, movie characters, video games, or sports team logos as a sign of where their interests lie.