Tattoo blues: What happens to your skin art as you age?

Sep 23, 2011 (The Oakland Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- So there you are, getting a tattoo. The needle's buzzing, you've chosen a meaningful image. You've made peace with the permanence, and it's all well and good.

Just keep in mind: No matter how young you are, you are painting on a deteriorating canvas.

"The sun turns grapes into raisins, and plums into prunes, so you can bet it does the same to your skin. Have you ever looked at a farmer's neck?" asks legendary inking icon Lyle Tuttle, who opened his first tattoo shop in San Francisco in 1960 and has placed enduring images on the likes of Janis Joplin, Cher and Peter Fonda. "Tattoos become part of your skin, and your skin is deteriorating from the get-go, so get ready for that," he says.