About one in five US adults, or 21 percent, has at least one tattoo. This is up from 14 percent in 2008, according to a Harris poll.1Tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years. They were used in ancient Egypt as a way to identify peasants and slaves.2
They were discovered on a 5,000-year-old frozen mummy identified as the “Iceman,” and it’s thought his tattoos may have been placed as a therapeutic tool on areas prone to joint pain and degeneration.3
In Samoa, extensive tattoos were given as a show of courage, endurance, and dedication to cultural traditions,4 while around the world different cultures valued the designs as status symbols, signs of religious beliefs, declarations of love, beautifications, or as a form of punishment.5
In the US, tattoos, once thought of as more of a fringe or alternative practice, are becoming practically mainstream and are often used as a form of self-expression. There are still some stereotypes remaining, however.
While 73 percent of voters said they would hire someone with a visible tattoo,6 27 percent of respondents to a Harris poll believed people with tattoos are less intelligent and 50 percent believed they were more rebellious.7
Most people getting a tattoo are not doing so to appease the views of others, of course, but there is one consideration you might not have considered: your health. If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, or thought about it, chances are high that you weighed the artistic and social aspects of it far more than the health aspects.
But, unbeknownst to many, a significant number of people with tattoos have experienced lasting health issues as a result.