Is Tattoo Regret in Your Future?

min read
A tattoo artist doing a touch-up on a tattoo.
BetMGM Jan 27, 2023, 4:56 AM

Taking a brief break from your favorite online casino and thinking about getting your next tattoo? Or maybe even thinking about getting inked for the first time? Tattoos are more popular than ever, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Earthweb’s article “What Percentage of People Have Tattoos in 2023?” shows numerous countries where the practice is incredibly popular, including Italy, Sweden and the United States, where almost half of the population has a tattoo.

But how many of these people regret getting inked? That’s the question we’re going to look at in our blog below.

Tattoos in the past

There’s no doubt that people have been engaging in the practice of tattooing for many centuries, as mummified people have been found with inked skin as far back as 3000 BC. Different groups of people around the world, such as the Inuit people of North America, the Atayal people of Taiwan and the Māori people of New Zealand, all engaged in tattooing, allowing them to show their connection to a tribe and place, as well as their role in each individual society.

Tattooing for cultural reasons still remains today, but it is not as common as it once was.

Why do people get tattoos in the modern world?

While there has been a move away from tattoos for cultural reasons, there are many other reasons why people in modern societies get tattoos. These include: 

  • As a form of self-expression or to make a statement: Whether it’s to rebel against their upbringing or society in general, to share their views on something they strongly believe in or just to show off some great art on their skin, tattoos can be a form of self-expression.
  • As a way to record an important event or person in their lives: Whether it’s the celebration of a loved one or mentor or the passing of a beloved pet, tattoos are used by many to record important events or people in their lives.
  • For cosmetic reasons: Not everyone would consider a tattoo for purely cosmetic reasons, but they could be used to cover up something that someone doesn’t like about their body, such as a scar or unsightly discoloration of their skin.
  • It’s exciting: If you’re someone who stays far away from danger or pain, you probably won’t be getting a tattoo anytime soon. But for some people, the process and pain associated with tattoos are actually very exciting.

How many people get tattoos today?

It’s very difficult to say for sure how many people have tattoos, with numbers varying dramatically from region to region. For example, Statista’s “Share of tattooed people in selected countries worldwide in 2018” has some surprising findings. Approximately 9,000 people were surveyed, and the country with the most people reporting they had tattoos was Italy with 48%. This was followed by Sweden with 47% and the United States with 46%. The overall average was 38% of all respondents, which may not be that surprising, depending on where you live. After all, some countries are strongly anti-tattoo, such as Denmark, Turkey or Japan.

How many people regret their tattoos?

You may be wondering, do people regret tattoos? With the increasing popularity of tattoos, it does seem likely that some people may look back on some of their tattoos and think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Again, the numbers may vary from place to place, but here are some of the numbers in regard to tattoo regret from different places around the world:

  • United States – 12% (Statista, “Americans who regretted getting a tattoo 2021”)
  • Italy – 17% (ANSA, “17% of Italians regret tattoos 2015”)

Another study from Statista avoids percentages but instead focuses on the number of tattoo removal procedures. They recorded these numbers for the top 10 countries in 2016:

  • India – 22,860
  • Japan – 20,159
  • United States – 14,124
  • Italy – 11,356
  • Taiwan – 5,759
  • Mexico – 4,739
  • Brazil – 4,290
  • Turkey – 3,912
  • Egypt – 3,640
  • Columbia – 2,715

Why do people regret their tattoos?

Maybe they got an ex-lover’s name, thinking the relationship would last forever, or the tattoo artist didn’t deliver on what they were expecting, but people regret getting their tattoos for different reasons. Here are some more reasons why people may not love their tattoos anymore, even if they aren’t the most regrettable tattoos ever:

  • They were young when they got their tattoo and their tastes have changed
  • It was an impulsive decision
  • The tattoo no longer has any importance to them
  • They got an infection after they got the tattoo
  • They thought it would improve their image or make them look cool
  • It has impacted their employment opportunities

What are some of the designs most people have changed their minds about?

In a survey by and Dr. Stephen Crabbe of the University of Portsmouth titled “What Are the Odds Of You Regretting Your Next Tattoo?” they found that men and women had different regrets when it came to their tattoos. Here are the different types of tattoos that men and women changed their minds about.

For men, these were the most regrettable tattoo choices:

  • Someone’s name – 31.34%
  • Tribal theme – 12.81%
  • Asian characters – 12.53%
  • Nature theme – 10.90%
  • Animal theme – 9.54%
  • Star/constellation – 9.26% 
  • Religious theme – 7.08%
  • Other – 6.54%

For women, these were the most regrettable tattoo choices:

  • Someone’s name – 24.33%
  • Star/constellation – 15.96%
  • Other – 13.59%
  • Asian characters – 12.64%
  • Nature theme – 12.32%
  • Animal theme – 11.37%
  • Tribal theme – 6.95%
  • Religious theme – 2.84%

How to avoid getting a tattoo you’ll regret later

If you don’t have a tattoo yet but are thinking about getting one, there are some steps you can take before a tattoo machine comes anywhere near your skin:

  • Take the time to think over why you want a tattoo
  • Decide what part of your body would be best
  • Do your research on tattoo artists, review their portfolios and speak to them about what you would like done
  • Don’t try to cut corners by saving on a cheaper tattoo artist who may not be up to the task
  • Remember that a tattoo needs care and maintenance

What can you do if you do have tattoo regret?

If you do change your mind about a tattoo that you’ve gotten, don’t worry, there are solutions to help you deal with tattoo regret. 

Laser removal

If you’re no longer happy with a tattoo and want it gone, you could try laser tattoo removal. This method works by destroying the ink in your skin using a special laser beam. This isn’t a quick fix and will require multiple treatments to get rid of the tattoo. You should also be aware the process itself can be painful, may leave scarring and isn’t cheap. Your skin will also need some extra TLC after each session to reduce the possible side effects of this tattoo removal option.


Not happy with your current ink? Why not get another tattoo to cover it up? This method works by either laying a new design over an old one or by integrating the old tattoo into a new tattoo. Cover-ups don’t always work as the new ink doesn’t replace the old ink but rather merges with it. This means colors will change, and it’s possible that the old tattoo may even bleed through if you decide to get a new tattoo over your old one.


If a tattoo doesn’t come out exactly the way you were expecting, a tattoo artist can do a touch-up to improve it. This may mean adding new elements to the design or redoing the existing ink.

Enjoy playing at BetMGM from the comfort of your own home

Whether you fall into the group of tattoo regret statistics, are happy with your tattoos or have never even imagined getting inked, you can have a great time at BetMGM playing from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy all the exciting online casino games, such as online poker, slots, live dealer games and more from your desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. You can even try your hand at sports betting or online poker with our all-inclusive BetMGM account!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.