A rapidly growing industry caters to people who may not have thought about the permanent implications of getting a tattoo before doing so. Two thought-provoking questions on this topic are, “How many out there have experienced tattoo regret?” and “How many would like them removed?” There are two sides of the coin, and I think both should be explored. One analogy is that tattoos are like beets, you either love them or you hate them.
The Positives of Tattoos
Tattoos can be seen as beautiful and creative works of art which are very unique and personal to the individual. They are expressive and symbolic. Some feel they make one’s appearance more sexy and appealing. An example of a tattoo I saw recently was on someone at church. They had a medium-size cross tattooed on their forearm with the words, “I am the truth” inscribed below it. It was obvious what the tattoo symbolized, and the person seemed to wear it quite proudly. It usually means something when someone gets a tattoo, and the meaning can be quite deep. You rarely hear of anyone getting a tattoo for no reason at all.
The Negatives of Tattoos
Tattoos are permanent. Although there are new ways of having them removed, they are painful and expensive. Over time, one may find they regret having it done, either for physical or emotional reasons, or both. A common belief is that tattoos do not necessarily look as attractive on older folks as they do on younger ones. As you age, your skin naturally loosens and wrinkles. Tattoos can also lose emotional meaning over time. As an example, many have their partner’s name tattooed on their body, only to eventually break up and meet someone else. Some believe placing permanent ink on your skin is defiling your body.
Statistics on Tattoo Regret and Removal
The most common reasons for tattoo removal seem to be to remove an ex-fiancé’s name, a bride to be does not want her wedding gown to reveal it, and to look more professional and employable.
A 2003 Harris Poll revealed that 83% of the respondents to the survey had no regrets about their choice to get a tattoo, while 17% said they did regret having chosen to get a tattoo. Of those who regretted getting a tattoo, 16% said it was because of a person’s name being the tattoo, or being included within the tattoo.
Interestingly, Discovery Health reports that a busy physician who specializes in tattoo removal – he’s removed tattoos from some of the most famous tattoo artists – estimates that about 50 percent of those who get tattoos later regret them. Similarly, The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery also estimates that roughly 50 percent of people who get tattoos want them removed.
Tattoos have always been controversial and always will be. They are a matter of preference and opinion. Whether you like tattoos or not is not the issue. The fact is that tattoos are forever. Since there are permanent implications, they should not be done on a whim but should instead be considered carefully. This will avoid tattoo regret and having to later consider removal.