Top Five Reasons For Tattoo Regret

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

Regretting a tattoo can be a difficult experience to live through. No matter how big or small the tattoo is, or where it’s located, simply knowing you have a poorly designed or faded tattoo there can be difficult.

In the UK, approximately 18% of the population has a tattoo. This figure rises to 30% for those aged between 25 and 39, so it’s no surprise that many of us are regretting a tattoo.

Why do we get tattoos?

Tattoos can have many meanings or emotional connections behind them, and as we journey through life these connections can become lost or less important to us. Tattoos chosen on a whim or without thorough consideration can lose their appeal within days or weeks and lead to you looking in the mirror and thinking… I regret my tattoo.

It is never easy to live with regret, especially when your regret is inked on your body. You are not alone in wondering what to do with an unwanted tattoo, and there are options available to help you feel more confident about the tattoos you wish you hadn’t had. Here are 5 reasons we end up regretting a tattoo and what you can do about it.

1) Youthful Tattoos

The tattoos we have when we are young are the ones we may come to regret the most, with 38% confirming that they got an unwanted tattoo when they were between 18 and 21 years of age. Another 20% said they were between 22-25 years of age when they had got a now unwanted tattoo.

We can associate youth with impulsiveness and excitement, and a tattoo that had seemed ideal when we hit adulthood may have less appeal in our late twenties and beyond. Our tastes grow and transform with us as we mature and experience more of life.

Tattoos that we have done from our mid-thirties onwards are the ones we are least likely to regret; perhaps because we know ourselves and our tastes better by this age.

However, there is no shame in admitting that a tattoo that you once loved, or perhaps never truly felt happy with, is one that you now wish wasn’t a feature of your body. And if you have ended up with a faded tattoo because of the sheer age of it, it might be a sign that you’ve outgrown the ink you loved at 18 and need a fresh start.

2) Holidays and Alcohol

A survey of young travellers aged 18-25 found that 19% had had a tattoo on holiday, with almost two-thirds of them later regretting it. Common holiday tattoos included stars, mottos, and hearts. Getting away on holiday can make you feel like a different person, and you may have felt the urge to reinvent yourself by getting a tattoo that you may not have been bold enough to choose at home. On returning to reality, it is easy for regret to set in when the motto you have brought back on your skin no longer rings true.

Similarly, alcohol can give us a false sense of self, either by lowering our inhibitions or giving us more confidence. We may feel emboldened to have tattoos in more visible places, including a neck tattoo or lower back tattoo, which may cause difficulties professionally or socially.

Tattoos done under the influence of alcohol may not seem like such a good idea in the following days or weeks, especially if the tattoo in question is provocative or likely to draw negative attention. These tattoos are also more likely to run due to alcohol being a blood thinner, meaning you could end up with a faded tattoo pretty quickly.

3) Tattoos with Emotional Significance

A common reason for choosing a tattoo is to make a permanent feature of something, or someone, with emotional significance for you.

Sadly, these are perhaps the hardest tattoos to live with once you no longer love the ink or its meaning and it can be even harder if there are no tattoo cover-up options. There are many reasons a tattoo might have an emotional connection that you no longer wish to be reminded of, including tattoos that hold significance to a former partner or a marriage that has broken down.

Tattoos that honour a family member or friend can cause upset if relationships later become strained as can a symbol or motto that was chosen to represent a certain period in your life.

In difficult periods, we might turn to a tattoo artist and request new ink to help us heal emotionally, only to come through the trauma and no longer want a permanent reminder of such a difficult time. Although these unwanted tattoos can be very upsetting, laser tattoo removal can be a very effective way to remove the tattoo and allow you to move on with your life.

A benefit of going for laser removal is that you won’t need to go through the additional stress of a tattoo cover-up, and instead can start over entirely from the experience you’re trying to forget.

4) Fashionable Tattoos

Since the millennium, tattoos have been showcased by celebrities internationally. From Britney Spears’ lower back tattoo to Cheryl Cole’s hand tattoo and Professor Green’s neck tattoo, it is easy to get swept along with fashionable tattoos.

We live in a digital era and are bombarded constantly with images of celebrities and influencers, and it is no wonder that many of us have had a fashionable tattoo that seemed cool at the time, but quickly lost its charm. If you have an unwanted neck tattoo or an unwanted lower back tattoo, you have options and need not live with this forever.

5) Lack of Consideration

We’ve all done things on the spur of the moment and getting a tattoo is no different. In the UK, over a fifth of people said they took “no time at all” to decide on their later unwanted tattoo. Impulsivity can lead to an exciting and diverse life, but it can also lead to a tattoo you wish you could cover or remove.

From poor artwork to silly slogans and from unfortunate physical location to poor taste, your impulsivity may have left you with more than just memories. Fortunately, effective removal of your spontaneous artwork is an option. NAAMA is reinventing tattoo removal with the launch of game-changing tattoo removal technology.

Bottom Line

Regardless of your reason for feeling disappointed with your unwanted tattoo, you are not alone in your regret. Almost 30% of people in the UK have considered getting a tattoo removed, and 24% have already had the procedure. Living with regret is never easy but laser tattoo removal could be an effective solution for you, allowing you to leave your regrets behind and move on with your life.



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NAAMA Studios Ltd. is a limited company registered in England and Wales under company number 11953457.

Claims based on (1) a clinical study in which more than 1,000 treatments were conducted across 58 study participants, (2) 150+ samples of treated tattoos and skin as reviewed by independent dermatologists.

Individual results may vary.