Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that tattoos have a fascinating history.
It is believed tattooing stemmed a form of healing similar to acupuncture, and evolved into the art form it is today.
When it was introduced into the Western world, it was mainly popular among sailors, but gained popularity in the 1970’s.
No longer a form of rebellion, the art of tattooing has become more widely accepted than ever.
Whether you have a tattoo or not, here are some facts about tattoos that you might not know!
- The oldest known tattooed human skin to date is found on the body of Ötzi the Iceman, who was estimated between 3370 and 3100 BC. His body was found in the Alps and had 61 tattoos of simple dots and lines using carbon ink.
- In 1891, the first electric tattoo machine was invented and patented by Samuel O’Reilly. The tattoo gun stemmed from Edison’s electric pen when O’Reilly added needles and an ink reservoir.
- Only 5% of Americans have had one tattoo covered up by another tattoo.
- A tattoo gun can puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute, penetrating the skin about one millimeter deep in the skin to the dermis.
- 58% of women have at least one tattoo, while only 41% of men have one. However, women are twice as likely to get their tattoos removed than men.
- One of the oldest recorded tattoo ink recipes consists of Egyptian pine bark, corroded bronze, vinegar, vitriol, leek juice and insect eggs.
- The word “tattoo” is one of the most misspelled words in the English language. It is commonly spelled as “tatoo.”
- Gregory Paul McLaren holds the Guinness World Record for being the most tattooed person. He is 99.9% covered, including the inside of his eyelids, mouth, and ears.
- When having a tattoo laser removed, black is the easiest color to remove because it absorbs more laser waves, while green and yellow are the most difficult to remove.
- A survey in 2012 revealed that 59% of people with tattoos are women, with the most popular images being hearts and angels.
- Tattooing was illegal in South Carolina until 2004. Until 2006, it was illegal to get a tattoo in Oklahoma.
- The world’s richest tattoo artist is Scott Campbell, who charges $1,000 for the first hour and only works on the weekends.
- In 2005, Kimberly Smith tattooed “GoldenPalace.com” on her forehead to pay for her son’s tuition, making her the first person to have a tattoo for advertisement.
- Musician Tommy Lee set a Guinness World Record when he became the first man to be tattooed mid-air (on a plane) in 2007.
- Tattooing is illegal in three countries: Iran, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
- The record for the longest tattoo session is 56 hours and 30 minutes. The artist, Krzysztof Barnas, finished 11 tattoos, and he was only allowed 5 minutes after every hour to rest.
- It only takes 3 days for inner lip tattoos to heal due to the rapid regeneration of the cells. Because of this, they will also fade and disappear in 1-5 years.
- 23% of people regret their tattoos, with the biggest regret being a tattooed name.
- When starting an apprenticeship, aspiring tattoo artist usually practice on fruit. Grapefruit, oranges, and lemons are the closest texture to human skin.
- Unsanitary tattooing practices can transmit diseases such as syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV; however, there has yet to be an actual case of HIV being transmitted via a tattoo application.
- Tattoo numbing cream helps with pain, however it may disturb the inking process on the skin and affect the visual result of the design because it can make the skin swell and deform.
- Government jobs have the most tolerant tattoo and piercing policies, but only 8% of government employees have ink or piercings.
- States with the highest percentage of tattoo discrimination are South Carolina, Oklahoma and Florida. States with the most tattoo friendly public opinion are Montana, Colorado and California.
- The U.S. spends $1,650,500,000 annually on tattoos, with 14% of all Americans having at least one tattoo.
- The part of the body tattooed the most among women, is the ankle area. Among men, the most common spot is the arm.
- In the United States, Miami has the most tattoo shops with about 24 shops for every 100,000 people. The city with the least is Salina, Kansas at 2 shops for every 100,000 people.
- The most expensive tattoo in the world costs $924,000. It is done with half a carat diamonds encrusted into the skin instead of ink. No one has ever had it done.
- The average cost of a small tattoo is $45, while the average cost of a large tattoo is $150 per hour.
- New Zealanders are the most tattooed people in the world. This is mostly due to the island’s Māori who still get traditional Polynesian tattoos.
- In Soviet Russia, some prisoners would get tattoos of Lenin and Stalin. This was not a form of support, but in case they were sentenced to death, guards would not shoot them because it was illegal to shoot at images of their national leaders.