In today’s image-driven world, a tattoo can really make a comment on your personality before you even say a word. All is well to show a tattoo you admire, however, the reality is that people grow and change.

Old tattoos may no longer be desired, and many are turning to laser tattoo removal to feel happier in their own skin again. Whether it is an ex’s name, eyebrow mishap or an old stick and poke, tattoo removal is increasing in popularity. Here is a collation of updated statistics on tattoos and their removal in Australia.

Who Has a Tattoo?

As a general trend, more Australians are getting tattoos, and more often women than men. There is no general target market for tattoos or their removal; people from all different ages get tattoos. However, the area may change depending on whether they would like to hide it for their professional work. Many younger individuals receive tattoos, and this may be the cause for the increase in removals as they naturally grow out of old designs.

  • One in five (4.2 million) Australians have at least one tattoo (The Sydney Morning Herald).
  • This statistic is up from 19% in 2016 (McCrindle)
  • 51 per cent of Australians were between 18 and 25 years old when they got their first tattoo (The Sydney Morning Herald).
  • 10 per cent of those people with tattoos got their first tattoo in their mid 40’s and over (No Ink).
  • More Australian women have tattoos at 21 per cent than men at 19 per cent. (The Sydney Morning Herald).
  • Over $94 Million (AUD) was spent on tattoo application in 2018, which is set to increase (No Ink).
  • Australian men are most likely to get tattooed on their biceps and backs (No Ink).
  • Australian females most commonly tattoo their facial area (cosmetic tattoo such as eyebrows, eyeliner, lips), neck, arm, ribcage and feet (No Ink).
  • 72 per cent of tattooed Australians most recently got a picture or symbol, and 19%) got a phrase or a word. (McCrindle)

Tattoo Regret

Evidently, with an increase in tattoos, especially of a younger age, there is a peak in removals. Asides from misspellings or poor tattoo artists, less drastic reasons for tattoos being removed is that you generally grow out of the tattoo. Other reasons for change include a career change where the professional work environment discourages tattoos or a name and symbol loses its initial meaning. Tattoos can also be for cosmetic reasons, and when trends for eyebrow shapes change, removals increase in order to tattoo a new shape over. A major tattoo regret stems from having an ex-partner’s name tattooed on the individual.

  • Three in ten Australians with a tattoo claim that they regret one or more of their tattoos (The Sydney Morning Herald).
  • Despite many facing tattoo regret, only 15% seek treatment to alter or remove one or all their tattoos (No Ink).
  • Tattoo removal demand has surged over 440% in the last ten years (No Ink).
  • The most commonly removed tattoos include misspelled words, names and butterflies (Inked Mag).
  • An average Australian price of tattoo removal session is $250-300 for a business card size area (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • 76 per cent of employees feel tattoos and piercings hurt your job interview chances (Stapaw).
  • In terms of countries with the most tattoos, Australia ranks fourth at 43 per cent (iHeart Radio).

Tattoo Removal Worldwide

The tattoo removal trend extends worldwide, particularly with the increase in laser removal technologies. In the last five years particularly, tattoos have become increasingly popular. This is likely due to their presence on social media worldwide, and many tattoo artists have their own pages with high followings.

  • The global tattoo removal market is expected to reach USD 4,794.9 million by 2023 at a CAGR of 15.6% during the forecasted period (Market Watch).
  • Italy (48%), Sweden (47%) and the United States (46%) are the top countries with the most tattoos (iHeart Radio).
  • The laser therapy accounts for the largest market share of 66%, of the global tattoo removal market (Market Research Future)
  • In the US, 76% of study participants believed that visible tattoo reduces the hiring chances of a candidate during an interview (Grand View Research)
  • In the U.S. alone, over 50,000 laser tattoo removals were performed in 2016 (PR Newswire)
  • Most patients require between 5 and 10 treatments to achieve complete removal. The laser procedure itself only takes between 30 seconds and 15 minutes to complete, depending on the size (Astanza Laser)
  • Adults between the ages of 20 and 64 typically drive demand for tattoos. This demographic, particularly before age 50, is by far the most likely to obtain a tattoo (IBISWorld)
  • 30% of all college graduates in the United States have tattoos (History of Tattoos).
  • 35% of those between 30 and 39 years in the United Kingdom have tattoos (History of Tattoos).
  • In the US, 43 per cent of the respondents said that one of the reasons to get a tattoo would be to honour loved ones (Statista).
  • For most other countries, the median number of tattoos per person is near 3, but in the USA and Sweden, it’s around 4 (Medium and Dalia).

Overall, the tattoo industry and specifically the tattoo removal industry is prosperous. In Australia, it is clear that more individuals are getting tattoos, however, their permanency is in question especially as many got their tattoos when they were younger. This is similar to worldwide statistics, where almost half the population has at least one tattoo.


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