Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

The Demographics and Rates of Tattoo Complications, Regret, and Unsafe Tattooing Practices: A Cross-Sectional Study

Liszewski, Walter MD; Kream, Elizabeth BS; Helland, Sarah BA; Cavigli, Amy BS, MPH; Lavin, Bridget C. PhD; Murina, Andrea MD

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000500
Original Article

BACKGROUND Tattoos have become increasingly common in the United States; however, there are limited data on the rates of tattoo complications and tattoo regret.

OBJECTIVE To determine the rates of infectious and allergic complications after tattooing, rates of tattoo regret, the perception of dermatologists among people with tattoos, and the demographics of people with tattoos.

MATERIALS AND METHODS An 18-question cross-sectional survey was fielded in New Orleans in January 2015. Participants had to be at least 18 years old, have at least 1 tattoo, and reside within the United States.

RESULTS In total, 501 participants from 38 American states were enrolled. Of all participants, 3.2% had a history of an infected tattoo, 3.8% had a history of a painful tattoo, and 21.2% had a history of a pruritic tattoo; 16.2% of participants regret a current tattoo and 21.2% are interested in having 1 or more tattoos removed; 21.2% received a tattoo while intoxicated and 17.6% had a tattoo placed somewhere other than at a tattoo parlor; and 78.9% believe dermatologists are knowledgeable about the infectious and allergic complications of tattoos.

CONCLUSION Given the rates of pruritic tattoos and tattoo regret, there is an opportunity, and trust among people with tattoos, for dermatologists to manage these complications.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

*Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA;

Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA;

Department of Dermatology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Andrea Murina, MD, Department of Dermatology, Tulane University, 1430 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112, or e-mail:

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the full text and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

IRB status: approved through December 2017 by the Tulane University Biomedical IRB.

© 2015 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
You currently do not have access to this article

To access this article:

Note: If your society membership provides full-access, you may need to login on your society website