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New Study Reveals Changing Views on Tattoos

Discover why tattoos are not always a lifelong love affair

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According to a new 2023 study from Advanced Dermatology, 1 in 4 Americans admits to regretting at least one of their tattoos. In fact, 23 percent reported plans to have their tattoos removed in the future, and 59 percent of those polled planned to have at least one removed. It appears permanent ink is getting a lot less permanent. This is despite the fact that 73 percent of Americans actually like tattoos.

The forearm, bicep, chest, and shoulder were considered the most regrettable parts of the body to be inked, and the top five tattoos people regretted were lettering/script (19 percent), a symbol (16 percent), a name (12 percent), an animal (10 percent), or something tribal (9 percent). The study also revealed the top reasons Americans regret their tattoos:

  1. Don’t like how it looks.
  2. Just don’t like it anymore.
  3. Tattoo artist did a bad job.
  4. Don’t relate to the meaning anymore.
  5. Negative impacts professionally.

For some (18 percent), regret came within a few days of getting the tattoo. For others, it took a little longer: 16 percent reported it took one week to three months, 15 percent said it took six months to one year, and 51 percent noted it took more than two years. It’s really no surprise when you consider the fact that 48 percent of Americans got their tattoos spontaneously.

Other highlights from the study:
  • 39 percent of Americans have tattoos
  • Americans spend an average of $745 on their tattoos
  • 68 percent believe the rise of tattooing is due to the ease of removal down the road.
  • 1 in 10 have gotten a tattoo for a significant other…and then broken up.
  • 1 in 5 have gotten a tattoo under the influence
  • 47 percent have been judged for their tattoos by family (1), strangers (2), and in a professional setting (3)
  • 1 in 10 have a tattoo based off a popular tv show or movie
  • 23 percent don’t think their tattoos will age well
  • 44 percent don’t put sunscreen on their tattoos
  • Among Americans without tattoos, 27 percent plan to get one in the future

Methodology

In June 2023, Advanced Dermatology conducted a survey of 1,002 people from around the U.S. Among respondents, 49 percent identified as male, 47 percent as female, and 4 percent as non-binary or transgender with an average age of 39.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.