Serotonin Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Serotonin Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Just like art on a canvas, skin art is full of surprises, and some tattoos can be quite creative indeed. One example that you don’t see every day is serotonin tattoos. So, what do they mean?

As it turns out, that chemical representation can mean quite a lot of things, so let’s take a closer look at the symbolism, meanings, and more behind this clever skin art option!


What is the History of Serotonin Tattoos?

Serotonin is a chemical which is responsible for quite a lot of useful things in your body, acting as a sort of messenger between your brain, your news, and various locales in your body’s landscape. As a result, serotonin imbalances can affect things such as digestion, sleep, bone and wound healing, moods, sleep, and even your sex drive.

The chemical was actually discovered in Rome in 1935 by a man named Vittorio Erspamer, though confirmation of his discovery wouldn’t occur until the 1940s. After that, it wouldn’t be until 1948 when the chemical could be isolated. This was done through the concerted efforts of Irvine Page, Maurice Rapport, and Arda Green.

While it can affect a lot of things, a lot of our focus on this chemical has to do with how it affects moods. Certain conditions, such as bipolar disorder, are directly associated with this chemical or more specifically, having insufficient amounts of it. This results in moods swings that are ‘manic’ one moment, and slow and ‘depressive’ the next.

Since it also relates to anxiety, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and more, it’s an important chemical, and it was only a matter of time before someone who knows their mind and what serotonin means to it would express their sentiments on the canvas of their skin – and the serotonin tattoo was born!


What Do Serotonin Tattoos Symbolize?

Serotonin tattoos can symbolize a number of things.

As it contributes to a good mood and feeling of well-being, some refer to it as ‘the happy chemical’ and a serotonin tattoo in this case represents the molecular equivalent of ‘don’t worry – be happy’.

For others, who suffer from conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar, or even epilepsy, then the Serotonin tattoo might be symbolic of these conditions and warn as both a warning and an affirmation of acceptance of these conditions by the tattoo’s owner.

In cases where it defines a condition, then you will often see other symbols incorporated, for instance a bipolar disorder might be represented with the symbol for Gemini accompanying the serotonin or even the Jekyll and Hyde, if the mood swings of the individual warrant this.

As such, the symbolism is ultimately quite fluid.

It can represent a condition, a call for people to be happier, and a third option would be that the tattoo could be put there to remind the owner to take their meds or to eat foods that stimulate serotonin levels, such as whole grain breads.

It all depends on whether the chemical profile is depicted alone or with something else, and even the colors chosen (or the lack thereof) can make subtle or strong changes to the meaning. Give it a little thought and you’ll be surprised exactly how much you can say with this simple chemical profile.


What Do Serotonin Tattoos Mean?

Serotonin tattoos are a deeply personal choice. While we mentioned that they can be a simple ‘be happy’ type statement, more often than not a tattoo of this chemical represents that the owner knows very well what it does and that its presence on their skin is an affirmation of this knowledge.

It can be there on the skin as a warning, if the owner doesn’t like to talk about a serotonin imbalance that they might have, but wants to put a clear message out there for those ‘in the know’ who will see and understand it.

For others, the meaning is a reminder that they need to pay attention to this chemical for personal reasons and would do well not to forget it. This is a very useful trait of these tattoos.

That’s because it’s quite easy to decide that you don’t need medication or even have a problem once you’ve made a little progress – which can quickly become a choice that one might regret. Other symbols may also be added in, but this is almost always a very personal tattoo, which makes it quite the powerful expression.  


Where Do Serotonin Tattoos Usually Go?

You can put serotonin tattoos anywhere you like, though for privacy reasons many will choose a place where they can hide it. This means that quite a few are placed in intimate spots, not easily viewed without the owner’s permission, with the hip being a popular placement.

Others may put one on the shoulder, so that it might be easily covered at work, but displayed in public as a sort of statement to the self and to the world that this chemical is very important to them.

As it can tell people quite a lot about you, you’ll want to consider placement carefully, so think on it a bit and the right spot will come to you.


Characteristics and Styles of Serotonin Tattoos

Serotonin tattoos tend to show the molecular arrangement of chemicals and as such, you can have a lot of fun with the styles and coloration. As serotonin is a ‘happy chemical’, you might use watercolor tattoo stylings to make the chemicals look bright and happy.

If the tattoo is a warning for yourself or others, then you might use black and white or simply add little skulls or other embellishments to add a bit of gravitas to the depiction. New School tattooing style can even inject a little humor into it.

Brainstorm it and check on some styles your artist can do by viewing their portfolio again after you’ve settled on a basic design. You might just find something perfect that you didn’t know your artist could do!


Some final words on Serotonin Tattoos

Serotonin tattoos are quite creative and are very personal choice – making them absolutely perfect for skin art. Some of the best, if not THE best tattoo choices are deeply personal and tell the world about you, so a serotonin tattoo can be quite the powerful choice if you are bold enough to wear one.

It can serve as a reminder to yourself to watch this chemicals levels or even serve as a statement to the world that you are well aware of the complexities at play in your mind and body. It’s also not a tattoo that you see every day, which is a nice little ‘cherry on top’ when you think about it.

It’s an interesting skin art option, just don’t forget to spend time on the design and make it your own!

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