Tattoos can be gorgeous and meaningful works of art, but not everyone loves their ink for life. In fact, there are plenty of common tattoos that people tend to regret. Whether it's the tattoo's design, poor quality, or even its placement on the body, some tattoos simply wear out their welcome over time.
To learn more about the most-regretted tattoos, Romper spoke with Dr. David Zweiback, an internist and aesthetic physician who specializes in tattoo removal. Dr. Zweiback provided some excellent insight into the trends and placement areas that simply do not stand the test of time for everybody. For the most part, putting a lot of thought and time into the decision will result in a tattoo you're more likely to love later on. Considering its placement, design, and meaning is pretty crucial.
That said, none of this is meant to shame people with tattoos, or make fun of anyone who happens to have these designs. Tattoo your body however you like, regardless of whether it's currently in style or not. (It's a little weird that something as permanent as tattoos have trends anyway.) But for people who are more risk-averse when it comes to ink, here are the types of tattoos you're most likely to regret.
1. Lower Back Tattoos
It looks like this area on the body is no longer such prime real estate for tattoo placement. Lower back tattoos are "very unpopular these days," says Dr. Zweiback. Plenty of people have gotten these once-trendy tattoos removed.
2. Tribal Style Designs
Although my inner '90s kid will always have a soft spot for tribal tattoo designs, it looks like plenty of people have begun to dislike this style over time. Tribal style tats ranked as the most regrettable content choice overall, according to a survey of 600 people by Advanced Dermatology. There's also the potential for issues with cultural appropriation around this type of design. "It's generally not wise practice to permanently inscribe something on your body from another culture just because you think it looks cool," said tattoo historian Anna Felicity Friedman in i-D Vice. This is pretty solid advice for anyone who is considering a new tattoo.
3. People's Names
What are the most-regretted tattoos in general? "I would say people’s names," explains Dr. Zweiback. Research backs up this idea as well. Names were listed as the top tattoo that people wish they'd never gotten, according to a 2018 survey from the University of Portsmouth. Getting your significant other's name tattooed is even considered bad luck for the relationship, according to Bustle. Think very carefully before committing to a tattoo of anybody's name.
4. Lower Arm Tattoos
Areas of the body that aren't always easy to cover are also potentially risky choices for tattoo placement. For instance, the lower arms tend to be a big choice for tattoo removal, explains Dr. Zweiback. Although tattoo acceptance has come a long way in recent years, it's still a potentially risky choice for certain professions.
5. Poor Quality Tattoos
Quality is also another crucial consideration. Whenever you get a tattoo, choose professional artists who use the best ink possible, as Dr. Zweiback explains. You're more likely to be happy with the end result, and if you do come to regret the tattoo, higher quality ink is actually easier to remove later on.
6. Impulse Tattoos
Whatever you get, taking some time to really think about your tattoo decision is key. "Be careful with selection," says Dr. Zweiback. As it turns out, people who got a tattoo on impulse (a few hours or days after wanting it) tended to regret the choice much more than those who waited months or even years to get ink, according to the Advanced Dermatology survey. For the most part, taking your time with the decision, working with a quality professional artist, and avoiding your SO's name will likely result in a tattoo you'll love forever.