Facts About Tattoos

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Tattoos are a cool thing to have, and they also require a lot of commitment from you, since they are forever. You have to know those inked drawings on your skin are meant to last, or at least you must have the money it takes to remove it with laser surgery (something that hurts a lot). But what do we know for sure about tattoos? How many parlors are there in America? How much money do they make per year? What is the meaning of certain designs? We made you a list of these facts and some others that are quite fun. We hope you like it!

America

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Within the United States, there are more women than men tattooed (23% vs. 19%). 36% of those ages 18-25 and 40% of those ages 26-40 have at least one tattoo

Money

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There are more 20,000 tattoo parlors in the United States only, they say that a new parlor opens every single that in the country. Americans spend more than $1.65 billion on tattoos per year

Etymology

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The word „tattoo“ comes from a Polynesian word that means „ta“ („to strike“), and it represents the sound of a tattooing spike being knocked on the skin. Tattoos used to be known as „prics“ or „marks“

Machine

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A tattoo machine normally has four different parts: the needle, the tube that is made to contain the ink, an electric motor, and a foot pedal to control the movement

Old tattoos

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Early tattoos were made from several types of methods such as using chisels, rakes, or picks. A Soot-covered thread was also used. It was literally sewn through the skin. It sounds even more painful than the current method

Strange facts

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Between all the weirdness within tattooing, two of them are the strangest: After the Lindbergh had their baby kidnapped in 1932, many parents had their children tattooed, and urine used to be an element used to mix different colors

Misspells

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Some of the funniest tattoo misspellings are: „Beautiful Tradgedy“, „Tradgey/Comedy“, „Chi-tonw“, „I’m Awsome“, „Sweet Pee“, „Tomarrow Never Knows“, „Leave a coment below“, „Your Next“, „Exreme“, and „Eat & Drink Today Fore We Die Tomorrow“

Skin

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If you have a tattoo you must know this, but not all skin on the body is the same, which is why the tattoo pigment won’t last the same everywhere

Spots

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The top 10 most popular spots for tattoos are: the lower back, wrist, foot (pich), ankle, armband, back-piece, arm, chest, breast (triple ouch, seriously, what is your problem?), and neck.

Gregory Paul McLaren

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The man that has the record of being the most tattooed man in the world is Gregory Paul McLaren (1971), also known as Lucky Diamond Rich. He is fully tattooed, including his foreskin, mouth, and ears

Rouslan Toumaniantz

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A few years ago, just a day right after tattoo artist Rouslan Toumaniantz met his girlfriend Lesya in Moscow, he had, with her consent, tattooed an alternate spelling of his name all over her face

Martin Hildebrandt

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The first professional tattoo artist within the United States was a German immigrant, a man called Martin Hildebrandt, who arrived in Boston back in 1846. So the idea of tattooing in America was from another country, not created by them

Location

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A tattoo is located and made inside the dermis, which is the second layer of your skin. The cells of the dermis are more stable than the cells in the epidermis

Soviet Union

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From the sixties right until the end of the eighties, the Soviet Union imprisoned more than 35 million people in prison camps. Of those people, nearly 20 million had tattoos while serving their time.

Ink

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Modern ink has sometimes pigments that come from ground plastics, like Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene for example, and it is able to create extremely vivid images with clearer, resistant, and longer-lasting lines

Number two

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The second most tattooed person in the world is Tom Leppard (1934) from the Isle of Sky, Scotland. He was also known commonly as the „Leopard Man“ his body is almost completely tattooed

Removal

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If you want to remove your tattoo, you can do it. Laser surgery is the most effective technique in order to remove a tattoo. The laser penetrates the skin and breaks up the tattoo pigments

Laser

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Some people that had gone through the experience to have a tattoo removed by laser surgery compared the experience little dots of hot grease being applied to the skin. Ouch.

Is it really worth it?

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If you want a full removal and you want it done correctly, keep in mind that some treatments cost thousands of dollars. Another popular technique of tattoo removal are dermabrasion (it consists in the sanding the skin)

Holocaust

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Some kids and grandkids of Holocaust survivors are getting a tattoo of the concentration camp numbers on their arms in order to commemorate their family history. It must be a really powerful act to make

Oldest tattoo ever

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The Iceman (3300-3200 B.C.), considered the oldest body existing, also has the oldest tattoos that have ever been preserved. It was a black cross tattooed on the inside of his left knee, amongst other designs

Archeology

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Several archeologists discovered tools in France, Portugal, and Scandinavia that they believe they were probably used for tattooing. They have more than 12,000 years old, so they belong to the Ice Age

Bes

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The earliest tattoo to ever exist that had some meaning other than just being some random pattern is of the god Bes, the Egyptian god of revelry. These tattoos have been found on female Nubian mummies

Greece

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The Greeks knew how to tattoo thanks to the Persians and used tattoos to mark slaves and criminals in order to be able to identify them if they tried to escape

China

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Several stones sculptures that date back to China from the 3rd century B.C. show many men wearing tattoos on their faces. Tons of years later, Confucius discouraged the art of tattooing

Technique

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The oldest tattoo technique known to date was a formula for tattoo ink that you can find it in Medicae artis principes (1567). The formula consisted of Egyptian pine wood (especially the bark), corroded bronze, gall, vitriol, vinegar, and leek juice

Older tattoo removal

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There were also many techniques regarding tattoo removal. Ancient methods for tattoo removal consisted of using scum on the bottom of chamber pot mixed with „very strong vinegar“ or pigeon feces. I’d rather still have my tattoo, thank you

Caligula

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The sadistic Roman Emperor Caligula used to entertain himself by telling members of his court to be tattooed. On the other hand, the former Greek emperor Theophilus took revenge on two monks by tattooing their foreheads

Pope

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The former Pope Hadrian I forbid any type of tattoo technique, even on criminals or gladiators. Later, several others religions such as Judaism and Islam also banned tattooing as well

Animals

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Animals are the most tattooed elements in many cultures since they are always associated with magic, totems, or even the desire of someone to identify themselves with the spirit of the animal

Egypt

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Although several designs that are apparently former tattoos are actually seen on images of both men and women in Egyptian art and statues, all the tattooed Egyptian mummies discovered to date are female.

FDA

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The FDA recently stated that temporary tattoos made with „black henna“ ink containing para-phenylenediamine (PPD), an element that is mostly used within hair dyes, can cause several damages, such as permanent scarring

Criminal

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The most famous tattoos that represent a group of criminals are the ones made by the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza. They wear several and traditional designs, and entire body suits that can be hidden completely.

Small

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All over the world, some of the smallest tattoos designs can even mean something to prisoners. For example, in the U.K. a single dot on the cheek indicates the person is a „borstal boy“

Samuel O’Reilly

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Samuel O’Reilly was the first person to invent tattoo machines back in the end of the 19th century. He based his design on the autographic printer, the machine that was invented by Thomas Edison.

Convicts

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Getting a tattoo in prison is, of course, forbidden. But prisoners somehow always end up managing to get a tattoo machine or make it from electric shavers, needles, and guitar strings

Ink

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What do they use as ink? Mostly they used the reservoirs from the barrels of ballpoint pens. The marijuana leaf, the number 13, skulls, or even roses are the most popular symbols that they get.

Flash

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If a person designs a tattoo and someone goes to a parlor and decides to get that existing design, it is mostly known as a „flash tattoo“. Those designs usually cost much less than a customized design

Irezumi

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In Japan, the act of tattooing is called irezumi, a word that means „to insert“. Japanese tattoo artists use as an inspiration several Western tattoo artists, for example, the British „King of the Tattooists“ George Burchett, Sailor Jerry Collins, and Don Ed Hardy

Pain

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People that got several tattoos made described the experience almost the same as getting stung by a bee or getting sunburn. This depends very much on the place that you are getting it, and how you endure pain

HIV

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They say that the virus of HIV could be spread by getting a tattoo, but there is not a single back up case that will prove this idea, it has never been transmitted via tattoo application.

Metal

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This is not common at all, but some types of tattoo ink can contain several types of metal. They can become quite painful during an MRI or even affect the MRI results.

Celtic

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Due to the fact that some white supremacists sometimes get themselves a Celtic tattoo design, people that had those designs out of taste will be connected unintentionally to prison life.

Popeye

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While Popeye and Betty Boop designs were quite popular in the early 20th century among sailors, a popular design within the military members is now the Warner Brothers cartoon character such as the Tasmanian Devil

Copycat

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Copying someone’s tattoo design it is not seen as an ethical act within the art world of designing a tattoo. Several artists won’t even copy the most common designs such as the heart with the „mummy“ word in it.

Painful areas

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Although the way that you endure the pain depends on the person, the most common painful areas to get a tattoo done are: over the bone locations such as the ankle, collarbone, chest, ribs, and spine

Churchill

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Believe it or not, Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, had a tattoo of a snake around her wrists, and later she used to cover it with a diamond bracelet at formal occasions.

Old School

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Within the tattoo world, the „Old school“ tattoos are those designs that were usually inspired by Sailor Jerry. They are mostly funny, made with bright colors, and with nautical themes.

Royalty

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Although it is something hard to believe, getting a tattoo was quite popular back in the 18th and 19th century amongst English and Russian royalties. This is because they were really expensive and normal people couldn’t afford them

First impression matters

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During a study that investigated first impressions, online avatars from online profiles that had several tattoos were more likely to be seen as adventure seekers, to be less inhibited, and more likely to be funny


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