Study: New Statistics Surrounding Tattoo Opinions, Regrets, and Removal
Survey reveals 1 in 4 Americans Regret At Least 1 Tattoo
Tattoos are a form of self-expression and creativity serving as canvases to tell stories, convey beliefs, and capture moments in time. Whether you’re thinking about getting their first tattoo or planning on adding another piece to your collection, we were curious to see if preferences have changed since our initial report on tattoo regret. Our new report dives into the opinions, habits, and potential regrets Americans are facing when it comes to tattoos.
Tattoo Regrets: Remorse and the Journey to Removal
Tattoos are not always a lifelong love affair: 1 in 4 Americans admit to regretting at least one of their tattoos. The types of tattoos people regret most include lettering/script tattoos, symbol tattoos, names, animal designs, and tribal tattoos.
The top reasons why Americans regret their tattoos are dissatisfaction with how it looks, simply not liking it anymore, disappointment in the tattoo artist’s work, loss of connection to the original meaning, and negative impacts on professional opportunities.
Location plays a significant role in tattoo regret, with certain areas of the body standing out as regrettable choices. The forearm ranked highest in terms of regrettable tattoo locations, closely followed by the bicep/tricep and the chest. Shoulder tattoos and thigh tattoos tied for the fourth spot, while the ankle rounded out the list.
Regret is a feeling that can settle in at various points in time after getting a tattoo. Interestingly, 51% of respondents reported their regret did not fully sink in until two or more years had passed since getting the tattoo. However, for others, regret was immediate, with 18% experiencing it just a few days after getting the tattoo, 16% felt regret within one week to three months, and 15% realized their regret within six months to one year. It may not come as a surprise that 48% say the tattoo they regret the most is one they got spontaneously.
With tattoo removal becoming an increasingly popular option for those looking to get rid of their ink, nearly 1 in 4 (23%) Americans plan to have tattoos removed in the future. In fact, 51% plan to have one tattoo removed.
Insights into Inked Culture
Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) Americans like tattoos and 39% proudly bear their own ink. For 28% of those with tattoos, they got their first one right when they became an adult at 18-years-old. It’s no secret tattoos can come at a cost. In fact, Americans with ink have spent an average of $745 on tattoos with 16% believing their most expensive tattoo was worth the money.
Despite the growing acceptance of tattoos, nearly half (47%) have been judged for their tattoos. Interestingly, the judgments come from a range of people, including family members, strangers, and within professional settings.
When it comes to the factors influencing tattoo decisions, our survey found that self-expression, aesthetics, empowerment, emotional healing, and remembrance were among the top motivations for getting inked. Additionally, 1 in 10 have a tattoo based off of a popular TV show or movie, and the same amount of people have gotten a tattoo for their significant other and then broken up. For some, the decision to get a tattoo wasn’t necessarily a clear thought as 1 in 5 have gotten a tattoo under the influence.
Tattoo care is very important not only for your skin, but for the tattoo itself. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) Americans don’t think their tattoos will age well, and 2 in 5 (42%) don’t put sunscreen on their tattoos.
Americans’ Opinions on Tattoos in 2023
Tattoos can be appealing for many as 28% of Americans think tattoos make people look more attractive. Surprisingly, 36% admitted to lying about liking someone’s tattoo.The top people Americans tell fibs to about their ink? Friends, acquaintances, coworkers, strangers, and cousins.
The professional impact of visible tattoos remains a concern for many with 3 in 4 people believing visible tattoos can negatively affect a person’s professional opportunities. Despite this, 98% believe tattoos are more socially accepted now than in years past. Among Americans without tattoos, 27% plan to get one in the future, and 2 in 3 think more people are getting tattoos now because of the accessibility and availability of tattoo removal technology.
Whether you get a tattoo and keep it for life, or only have a tattoo for a limited period of time before getting rid of it, many Americans are drawn to ink. If you’re getting one, take time before deciding what to put on your body, and know if you end up not liking it, you’re not stuck with it forever.
In June 2023, we conducted a survey of 1,002 people from around the U.S. Among respondents, 49% identified as male, 47% as female, and 4% as non-binary or transgender with an average age of 39.
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