Approximately 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo,

making tattooing an increasingly prevalent form of identification and expression. There are over 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States, and Americans spend over $1.1 billion yearly on tattoos.


However, for some, the initial attraction to a tattoo might wane over time. We questioned over 360 individuals to determine their greatest tattoo regrets. We learnt which tattoos are most commonly regretted, where they were done, how old respondents were when they got them, and how much time they spent contemplating them prior to getting them. If you’re considering getting a tattoo but want to avoid these frequent problems, read on to see what we uncovered.


While women and men did not agree on the location of their most regrettable tattoos, they did agree on the sorts of tattoos they wished they had never had. While other types of tattoos made men and women the most sorry (21 percent and over 18 percent, respectively), tribal tattoos and name tattoos were among the most regretted decisions of male and female survey participants (21 percent and more than 14 percent, respectively). Women also regret animal-themed tattoos (almost 13 percent), whereas males regret tattoos depicting a person’s face or body (nearly 16 percent).

More than 11 percent of the 350 persons questioned were likely to mourn upper back tattoos. The tattoos on their chests and feet were also the ones that women regretted the most. However, more than 24 percent of males hated tattoos on their biceps the most, followed by calves (12 percent) and shoulders (12 percent).

Men and women also reported that the tattoos they regretted the most were typically impulsive choices (28.6 percent and 29.7 percent, respectively). While women were, on average, significantly younger than males when they received their first regrettable tattoo, neither gender spent much time considering the design before committing to it.




57% of women who decided to get another person’s name tattooed on their bodies afterwards expressed remorse.



Fewer guys expressed remorse for getting their partner’s name tattooed on them. Less than half, or 43%, accept that it was an error.



Some individuals believe that tattoos might be addicting. Once one is obtained, it is difficult to stop there. Our analysis indicates that there may be more to the mystery.



Nearly 32% of our 360 survey participants with tattoos have a high school diploma (or equivalent). While people with greater education tended to have fewer tattoos, survey respondents with master’s degrees had, on average, more tattoos than those with no high school diploma (almost nine percent compared to seven). Those with a PhD were the least likely to have tattoos, with less than three percent confessing to having any.


Having tattoos is one thing, but getting a regrettable tattoo is quite another. According to our answers, individuals without a high school diploma were at least three times more likely to get a regrettable tattoo than those with higher levels of education. 2% of individuals with a professional degree regretted their tattoos, while those with a high school certificate to a Ph.D. were happier with their body art than those with no degree.



Nearly 38 percent of individuals polled were between the ages of 18 and 21 when they made their first poor ink decision. Considering that the legal age for a tattoo in the United States is 18 (unless they have formal permission from a parent or guardian), people who were inked during the first four years of being allowed to do so legally not only matured, but also came to regret their tattoo over time.

Those who received their tattoos before the age of 18 were actually less likely to lose their commitment than those who waited until between the ages of 18 and 25. Perhaps since a (legal) tattoo under the age of 18 requires parental consent, respondents who were inked at a younger age were more devoted over time than those who waited longer.




Even while many people told us they got their tattoos on a whim, picking what to get done was (somewhat) a different story.



Over 42% of survey respondents reported that the tattoo idea they eventually regretted was something they just enjoyed. From lotus blossoms to tribal art, it is difficult to explain why we are drawn to particular designs and artworks. And what you enjoy at the age of 18 may change as you get older. Just over 11 percent regretted a tattoo they chose from a tattoo parlor’s wall or book, and almost 11 percent regretted an idea they received from a friend.


Less individuals regretted tattoo ideas derived from books or films, their significant other, or the internet.


They were most likely to have regrettable ink the size of a dollar note or less, which was fortunate for them. Slightly more than 19 percent of people regret tattoos smaller than a quarter. Thankfully, the cost of laser tattoo removal has decreased over the past many years, so you no longer have to stare at that tribal wrap tattoo if you don’t want to.




Unless it’s a tattoo, what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas… unless it’s a tattoo.



Nevada was home to those who regretted their tattoos the most. As the location of Sin City, it is not surprising that fast decisions, such as getting a tattoo, occur more frequently in Nevada than anyplace else. Fortunately, if you find yourself in Las Vegas and in need of a place to get some work done, there are a number of fantastic locations to choose from, so your selection will not be filed under “regrets.”


Other states, including Illinois, Arizona, and Nebraska, also had a greater proportion of persons who regretted getting tattoos once the ink dried.



From “Mom”-emblazoned hearts and butterflies to compasses and birds, feeling linked to a sign as a child may not continue forever, or even as long as it takes to recover, before you outgrow it.

Another common reason people fell out of love with their ink was its craftsmanship. The second most common reason individuals hated their tattoos was poor linework. Before entering a tattoo parlor, conduct research on the artists if you wish to prevent regrettable tattoos, regardless of the subject matter. The cliché “you get what you pay for” may be particularly applicable to permanent body art.



Other common reasons for tattoo regret were growing weary of seeing it and getting a tattoo tied to a former partner.


If you’re considering getting a tattoo, we’ve identified several common mistakes you may avoid to avoid falling victim to trends that result in regrettable tattoos. Most of these tattoos have not stood the test of time, ranging from tribal designs to tattoos of other people’s names to inkings done before legal drinking age. Unconsidered tattoos were certain to be regretted, regardless of the tattoo’s subject matter or placement.


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We examined 360 individuals who had tattoo regrets.


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