If 2022 felt like your year to remove a tattoo, you weren’t alone. It looks like tattoo removal is on the rise, with more and more people choosing to get rid of designs that were once considered trendy. At NAAMA we saw hundreds of clients come through our doors keen to remove ink in the last 365 days. The reasons were vast, including things like outgrown designs, regret and wanting to replace the tattoo with something new.
Let’s take a look at the most commonly removed tattoos we saw this year.
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What is the most removed tattoo?
The results are in. Here are the top 5 tattoos we removed this year at NAAMA:
1. Writing and Quotes
Tattoos with writing or quotes are a popular design choice, but they can also be the most regretted. This is because people's interests and beliefs can change over time, and a tattoo that once held significant meaning may no longer be relevant as time goes on. One client is having “I’m feeling bold enough” removed on her foot because she no longer relates to the motivational quote.
We’ve also helped remove:
This is a big one that renders the tattoo almost an immediate regret. Since it’s hard to correct with more ink, oftentimes the best course of action is removal as soon as the skin’s healed.
One of our clients had a Hebrew word written backwards by mistake on her foot. “I got it done and I loved it, but it wasn’t until the next day that I realised it had been done backwards,” she said. She’s currently getting it removed so she can get it tattooed again in the right direction.
If they’ve become an ex-anything (friend, lover, etc), chances are you won’t want their name, initials or any sort of reminder of them permanently on your body.
We’ve had a couple names removed for that very reason, and see clients feel much more liberated once it’s gone.
Poor placement and size.
Quotes and writing can feel very intimate and personal, and sometimes they end up in more public places that are on display more than some would like.
We see people wanting to remove writing from more prominent places like wrists, feet, arms and back. In the same vein, sometimes the size is too big, leading people to feel their tattoo is way too noticeable for their liking.
This can come down to the artist’s experience or perhaps the font style chosen doesn’t match the meaning of the tattoo (Comic Sans might not be everyone’s cup of tea). Either way, it can make a tattoo quickly feel unappealing.
One of our clients had a Hebrew word written backwards by mistake on her foot.
Another client removed a Buddah to replace with a cover-up tattoo.
Symbolic tattoos, such as religious or cultural symbols, are also commonly removed at NAAMA. Like writing and quotes, these tattoos can hold significant meaning at the time they are gotten, but people's beliefs and interests can change over time.
This year, we've seen several:
Gang-related and inappropriate symbols. Some symbolic tattoos can be perceived as offensive or inappropriate in certain situations, leading to the decision to have them removed. Ilario came to NAAMA to remove a swastika on his wrist from being in the army, a tattoo he’s regretted ever since.
Our SECOND CHANCES programme gives access to our safe, fast and effective tattoo removal services to those looking to remove tattoos with gang and hate symbols, radiotherapy or from relationships that belong in the past.
If you or someone you know has tattoos that are triggering or that take away confidence instead of inspiring it, we’re here to help.
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Results after just 4 sessions.
Flower tattoos, particularly roses, are a popular choice, but they can also be among the most commonly removed. This is because they often have delicate line work that tends to bleed out or blur over time, making the design look different to what it once did. Flowers are also incredibly symbolic and different types can have different meanings in a variety of cultures.
Here are some of our top removed flower tattoos:
- Roses. Our number one flower tattoo removal is the rose, a symbol often linked to love, romance and heartbreak. For Nicola , it became a trigger reminding her of her pain.
- Lotus flowers. Our in-house photographer and content creator Britt is removing a lotus flower on their foot because it no longer resonates with their evolved identity today which is much more fluid. “I was 18 and I saw the design on Tumblr. Now that I’m older, I look at it and don’t think it’s me. It needs to go.”
Coming in fourth place is tribal tattoos. While once popular in the 90s, tribal tattoos are now often seen as dated and can be too bold of a statement for many with their thick, dark lines. They’re also quite big tattoo designs. Often you’ll see tribal tattoos as sleeves covering a full arm, leg or even back, which can feel quite limiting to those who want more subtle, hidden ink as they’ve gotten older.
In fifth place is heart tattoos. Once a common tattoo choice, this symbol of love is equally as commonly removed. This is because heart tattoos can be seen as cheesy or overly romantic, and people's relationships and feelings can change over time—especially if they were done in honour of someone.
Many people who got tattoos with these designs in previous years have since grown tired of them and decided to get them removed. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as changing personal tastes or the desire to remove outdated or potentially offensive designs. Whatever your removal reason is, know that it’s a valid one.
What is the best way to remove a tattoo? Using the LightSense™ laser system, a tattoo removal device that is kind to your skin, and tough on your tattoos. It safely breaks down the ink into small particles without over-blasting the skin and damaging it. The body does the rest, clearing the pigments out through the lymphatic system over a series of sessions. Clients often see results in mere months, instead of waiting years with older technologies.
Eyebrow and microblading removal saw a significant increase
With a return back to natural makeup, we’ve seen many clients opt to reverse the clock on their microblading and eyebrow tattoos. The trend suggests that natural beauty is returning to the mainstream as no-makeup makeup looks are in and on the rise thanks to YouTube and TikTok.
The LightSense™ tattoo removal laser we use at NAAMA is the best device on the market to date for treating permanent makeup and cosmetic tattoos. The ultra precise beam size is ideal for treating intricate line work. And the laser’s low energy is effective at breaking down the ink without harming the skin or compromising removal results. It's the only laser you’ll want to treat delicate areas of the face like the brows or even lips.
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Arms were the top spot for tattoo removal
Likely given to the highly displayed area on the body, it comes as no surprise that arms are one of the top places we see removals. We’ve had clients say they want to remove tattoos because “they don’t feel comfortable wearing a T-shirt” or even a bathing suit at the beach with their ink exposed. It’s likely we’ll see much more subtle tattoos rise in popularity as people feel more empowered in the choice to show their ink or conceal it.
The majority of tattoos removed were in black ink
Black ink is the most commonly used colour in tattooing, which means there are simply more black tattoos out there. As a result, a higher percentage of black tattoos are removed compared to tattoos of other colours.
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Age of people getting removal is younger than ever
Compared to last year, the age for tattoo removal has decreased. This implies that as tattoo acceptance increases and identities evolve, the appetite for choice to change your mind about tattoos is also growing.
We see 3 key factors playing a part in this:
- An increase in the social acceptance of tattoos is leading more people to get tattoos around the world. It’s no longer as taboo as it once was to get inked. Over 90% of managers say their companies are less strict regarding tattoos than 10 years ago.
- Improved technology for tattoo removal, making it safer and more effective for people of all ages. People choose NAAMA because it’s safer, faster and far kinder to the skin than any other laser removal device in the world.
- An increase in the number of people getting tattoos at a younger age, leading to a younger population seeking tattoo removal. In fact, approximately 40% of people in the US between the ages 18-34 have tattoos.
What will 2023 bring?
One thing is clear: tattoo trends are constantly changing. With improved technology and a greater social acceptance of tattoos, more and more people are feeling empowered to make the choice to remove their tattoos.
So what will 2023 bring? Read our top 2023 tattoo trend predictions here .