Women are more likely than men to visit a dermatology clinic for tattoo removal, apparently motivated by the social stigma associated with tattoos and negative comments by others, according to a report in the Archives of Dermatology.
About one-quarter of adults aged 18 to 30 have a tattoo, and their prevalence means that dermatologists are increasingly hearing stories of regrets and requests for tattoo removal, say the researchers. About 20 percent of tattoo wearers are estimated to be dissatisfied with their tattoo, although only about 6 percent seek removal.
Participants in the study reported they had originally gotten a tattoo to feel unique (44 percent), independent (33 percent) or to make life experiences stand out (28 percent).
The main reasons listed for seeking tattoo removal included just deciding to remove it (58 percent), suffering embarrassment (57 percent), lowering of body image (38 percent), getting a new job or career (38 percent), having problems with clothes (37 percent) or experiencing stigma (25 percent).
Interestingly, the survey also found that those seeking removal were more likely to be women (69 percent vs. 31 percent men) who were white, single, college-educated and between the ages of 24 and 39. They reported being risk takers, having stable families and were moderately to strongly religious. "While men also reported some of these same tattoo problems leading to removal, there seemed to be more societal fallout for women with tattoos, as the tattoos began to cause embarrassment, negative comments and clothes problems and no longer satisfied the need for uniqueness," the researchers wrote.
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Source: Archives of Dermatology