Good information isn’t a given when you go to a tattoo artist. This is why you see plenty of people walking around with tattoos that clearly demonstrate poor decisions and inadequate advice. They wouldn’t have their mistakes etched on their skin if they tried to understand the tattooing process before they went in.

If you’re planning a tattoo and want them to look better than what most other people have, here’s what you need to know.

Ask questions — gauge the artist

In some ways, getting a tattoo is like getting medical treatment — you need to entrust your body to another person. As with as any other professional that you would hire, it’s up to you to judge their attitude before you sign up.

One way to do it would be to ask a lot of questions. If an artist seems approachable and makes it easy for you to ask questions about safety and hygiene, you should consider going with them. If they seem to dismiss your questions, though, you should consider your options.

Stay away from tiny tattoos

The number one rule to getting a good tattoo is simple: make sure that no part of it is too small. Whether it’s lettering or pictures, small shapes are likely to lose their definition over time. While modern tattoo ink technology does minimize ink spread, it is still a problem. When you get letters and pictures that are less than an eighth of an inch, they are likely to smear into unrecognizable shapes within 10 years.

Unfortunately, busy tattoo styles with lots of fine script and intricate shapes are in vogue these days. These will be in trouble in a few years. There is a reason why tattoos have traditionally been big and bold. Anything small will not stand the test of time.

If your body shape is going to change, don’t get a tattoo

If you plan to gain weight, lose weight, build your body up or become pregnant, your tattoo will likely not survive the process in good shape. It can completely lose its shape and stop making sense. If you want a tattoo, you should wait until after your body gets to a stable shape.

A scar won’t hurt your tattoo, most of the time

People often worry about what is to become of their tattoo in the event of a cut or scrape or skin ailments like eczema or psoriasis. Most of the time, though, your skin completely recovers with the tattoo in place. Tattoos are far more enduring than people give them credit for.

A tattoo isn’t usually tough enough to last unchanged over decades

All tattoos fade over time — it’s in the nature of ink to fade. Many people simply resolve to pay their tattoo artist a visit once every five years to address fading issues. While getting tattoos touched up can work a couple of times, you can’t keep doing it. Skin doesn’t take well to repeated poking and scratching. Before long, your skin will scar up too much to hold ink. For most people, getting 2 touch-up jobs is their limit.

Keeping tattoos properly moisturized will help aid in the longevity of your tattoos full potential.

Finally, listen to your tattoo artist

Experienced tattoo artists will often refuse to go along with certain requests by customers. Their professional judgment tells them when a tattoo request will not work out well. If the design asked for is too intricate or is required in a place that wouldn’t be good for the skin there, the artist may not agree to take it up. While you may be able to find a tattoo artist who does whatever he’s asked without question, you need to take seriously the objections that you’ve heard from other artists. They could have a legitimate point.