21 Interesting Tattoo Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind | Freehand

21 Interesting Tattoo Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind

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Self-expression, creativity, imagination, and status - tattoos have been a successful medium to reflect all of that throughout human history. Such body art crosses cultural boundaries and unifies people across the whole world. Interestingly, the past couple of centuries have produced mind-boggling tattoo-related statistics and facts that you should know, especially if you are about to get a tattoo yourself. Thankfully, they have been well documented for the future generation to learn. We have amassed some of these exciting statistics, stories, and facts to make you want to know more about the history of body art. So, let’s get started!


  • The first electric tattoo pen was designed by Samuel O’Reilly in 1891! He was inspired by Thomas Edison’s electric stencil pen or autographic printer. (Source: Spark Museum)


  • Who was the first tattoo artist? The first reported tattoo artist was a man named Sutherland Macdonald from the United Kingdom. The Post Office Directory in 1894 listed him as a tattoo artist! (Source: Ladbible)


  • Did you know that women are more interested in getting a tattoo than men? Fifty-nine percent of women in research had at least one tattoo, 18 percent more than men! (Source: Reuters)


  • Women are more likely to regret getting a tattoo than men! (Source: Webmd)


  • Greeks were the first people to recognize the art of tattooing in Europe. However, they used it more to smuggle secret messages during warfare. A 5th century BC Greek historian, Herodotus, documented this practice through the story of Histiaeus of Miletus. This Greek Ruler made his slaves shave their heads, tattoo their bald heads with secret messages, and send them to warfare once they had a full head of hair. The recipient would then shave the slaves’ heads again and retrieve the message. (Source: Teaching London Computing)


  • The tattoo pen needle pierces the skin between 50 and 3000 times per minute! (Source: Washington Post)


  • Let’s talk about the most tattooed man in the world. With 99.9 percent of the body covered in tattoos, Lucky Diamond Rich is the most tattooed person. He’s from New Zealand and got his first tattoo when he was 16. (Source: Guinness World Records)


  • From the streets of Berlin comes the oldest man in the world to have 98 percent of his body covered in tattoos! Wolfgang Kirsch is a retired post office worker who is 72 years of age. (Source: Republic World)


  • Another historical fact - the earliest tattoo methods didn’t use tattoo pens. Since tattoo pens weren’t invented yet, people used picks, rakes, combs, and chisels to cut the skin. The pigment was added when the skin was cut open.


  • The market size of the tattoo industry stands at $1.4 billion in 2021 and is increasing faster than the economy overall. (Source: Ibisworld)


  • Which tattoo placements reduce an employee’s chance of getting hired the most?
  • Face (61 percent)
  • Neck (40 percent)
  • Hands (32 percent)
  • One/both arms (25 percent)
  • Forearms (17 percent)
  • Upper arms (11 percent)
  • Lower back (7 percent)

(Source: YouGov)


  • The oldest evidence of a human tattoo? Well, it is believed that humans started tattooing between 3370 BC and 3100 BC. But, how do we know that? In 1991, we discovered the world’s oldest human mummy in the Otzal Alps, somewhere between Italy and Austria. Otzi the Iceman, as the mummy is called today, had over 60 tattoos. Scientists have claimed that such tattoo-covered human remains can be found in 49 locations across the world. (Source: Iceman)


  • Did you know the FDA doesn’t regulate tattoo ink? Some inks contain harmful chemicals like Benzopyrene, Phthalates, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium, Nickel, Titanium, Soot, Phenol, and more. (Source: Medermis Laser Clinic)


  • At the time of writing, there were an estimated 21,000 tattoo studios in the United States alone! And a new tattoo shop opens - every single day! (Source: Medermis Laser Clinic)


  • How do tattoo artists sanitize the non-disposable tattoo equipment? They use an autoclave! Also, they use standard combinations of temperature and pressure to sterilize the equipment.
  • 250 degree Fahrenheit under 10 psi for 30 minutes
  • 270 degree Fahrenheit under 15 psi for 15 minutes

(Source: Medermis Laser Clinic)


  • Which countries have the most tattoos? A survey conducted on tattoos in 18 countries around the world shows that Italy has the higher percentage of tattooed people at 48 percent. It is followed by Sweden (47 percent) and the US (46 percent). (Source: Dalia Research)


  • Recent research on tattoo removals shows that the tattoo removal industry is expected to reach almost $4.8 billion by 2023! (Source: Market Research Future)


  • Okay. Let’s rank the type of tattoos people regret getting the most!
  1. Tribal
  2. Heart
  3. Roses
  4. Stars
  5. Inspirational words
  6. Crosses
  7. Skulls
  8. Butterflies
  9. Flowers
  10. Dragons
  11. Wings/Angels
  12. Chinese/Japanese characters
  13. Birthdates
  14. Birds
  15. Sun
  16. Mythical scene
  17. Greek letters
  18. Moon
  19. Celtic symbols
  20. Roman numerals

(Source: Advance Dermatology)


  • Afraid of catching a disease through transmission during a tattoo session? The CDC claimed that there had been no known cases involving the transmission of AIDS/HIV linked to tattooing in the US since 1985! There have been only 12 cases of hepatitis related to tattoo studios, though. (Source: Medermis Laser Clinic)


  • According to a 2019 research, these were the most tattooed body parts.
  • Forearms (40 percent)
  • Back (39 percent)
  • Hand/wrist (34 percent)
  • Upper arms (33 percent)
  • Shoulder (28 percent)
  • Chest (28 percent)
  • Lower leg (23 percent)
  • Foot/ankle (22 percent)

(Source: Statista)


  • World’s most expensive tattoo? As a marketing gimmick by a jewelry retail store in South Africa, a tattoo artist charged a whopping $924,000 for a design! Luckily, you can hire a designer on our website to create your design for much cheaper! (Source: Cord Magazine)


Fascinating, isn’t it? These famous tattoo statistics are worth knowing as they show how eventful the tattoo industry has been over centuries. Which tattoo statistic was your favorite? Also, don’t forget to check out other informative tattoo-related posts on the blog!

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