Tattoos are a form of self-expression and creativity, but they aren’t always a lifelong love affair: 1 in 4 Americans admit to regretting at least one of their tattoos, according to a new report on tattoo regrets in 2023 by Advanced Dermatology. 

Regret is a feeling that can settle in at various points in time after getting a tattoo. Interestingly, nearly half (49%) say regret set in less than a year after getting it! 

The top 5 tattoos people regret most include:

  1. Lettering/script tattoos
  2. Symbols
  3. Names
  4. Animal designs
  5. Tribal tattoos 

Not to mention, 1 in 10 have gotten a tattoo for a significant other… and then broken up. Luckily, tattoo removal has become an increasingly popular option with 51% planning to have at least one tattoo removed.

Despite the ink remorse, nearly 3 in 4 Americans say they like tattoos! And, 39% of Americans proudly bear their own ink, spending an average of $745 on their tattoos. 

Now a new study:

also suggests almost half of all tattoo inks used in the United States could contain cancer-causing chemicals. 

Researchers from State University of New York at Binghamton analyzed 56 popular inks often used by American tattoo artists, uncovering that 23 of them have potentially hazardous azo-compounds. 

While azo-compounds are not a cause for concern while chemically intact, bacteria or ultraviolet light can degrade them into another compound that is carcinogenic. 

“Very little is actually known about the composition of tattoo inks, so we started analyzing popular brands,” the study’s lead author John Swierk said in a statement after Wednesday’s fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Surprisingly, no dye shop makes pigment specific for tattoo ink,” Swierk further stated. “Big companies manufacture pigments for everything, such as paint and textiles. These same pigments are used in tattoo inks.”

The news is sure to alarm the more than 100 million Americans who have at least one tattoo.

In response to this a popular millennial influencer is urging Gen Zers to consider waiting to get any body art. 

Leah Beth, who boasts nearly 30,000 followers on TikTok, revealed her regret in a viral clip, which scored more than 888,000 views.

“You know when you’re a teenager and you were like, ‘This is not a phase mom, this is the real me’?” she began. “It was a phase.”

Leah is heavily tattooed and now admits she has different feelings about her tattoos now. She “cringes” at ones that don’t bring her “joy” nor “have meaning.”

Think before you ink.