27 of the Most Interesting Tattoo Facts

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

Tattoos have become an increasingly popular way to express yourself using body art and are currently incredibly fashionable. However, the art of tattooing has been around for many, hundreds, or even, thousands of years.

It’s a great way of showing off your personality, values, or beliefs, but all said and done, it’s a permanent piece of art that’ll be on your body forever. 

Love them or hate them, tattoos are here to stay. The art of tattooing has an amazing and fascinating history, with lots of interesting elements that you’d never guess.

We’ll share with you some of the incredible facts of tattoos, their history, and their quirkiness. Some of these you would never believe.

Interesting Tattoo Facts

Looking at the tattoos of today no one would ever think that tattoos have such a long and varied history. We have some weird and wacky facts for you about tattoos that’ll make you stop and think.

Where Did It Begin?

The oldest tattooed human is thought to be Ötzi the Iceman. He was estimated to have lived between 3370 and 3100 and his body was found underneath a glacier in the Alps. When they found his body his skin had 61 simple dots and lines drawn on it, which were made using carbon ink.

The majority of Egyptian mummies discovered that are female have tattoos. These are believed to represent fertility, rejuvenation and life, through symbols located on their body.

The ink in ancient Rome was found to include a mixture of Egyptian pine bark, corroded bronze, vinegar, vitriol, leek juice, and insect eggs.

When Captain Cook sailed to Polynesia in 1769, he and his mariners were intrigued by the tattoos displayed on the natives. Many of the sailors returned home to the West with tattoos, igniting the interest of their countrymen and introducing tattoos to the West, as a symbol of exploration.

Greek and Roman Empires used tattooing as punishment. The Greek philosopher Plato believed that anyone who committed a crime of unforgivable offense should be tattooed to mark their bad character.

Men vs Women

More women are getting inked than men with 59 percent of women having at least one tattoo, while only 41 percent of men have one.

However, more women choose to get their tattoos removed than men. When asked the reasons why, many women said it was down to social stigma, social pressure, or embarrassment. Some women also got their tattoos removed due to a new career choice. 

The most common place for a woman to have a tattoo is her ankle, with 27 percent of women having this type of tattoo. The most common place for men is their upper back or shoulder, with 34 percent having a tattoo here.

Women don’t like to do things alone. Over 40 percent of women asked, took a friend along with them to their tattoo appointment. 

All Around the World

New Zealanders are the most tattooed people on the earth. This is mainly due to the Maori population who still have many traditional Polynesian tattoos.

Tattoos on sailors continue to have significant meanings, and getting a certain tattoo will indicate where you have sailed. A compass rose or nautical star tattoo means that you will always find your way back to port. A turtle tattoo signifies crossing the equator, and an anchor tattoo means that they have crossed the Atlantic ocean.

The most common language searched for as a tattoo inspiration is Japanese, this is closely followed by Chinese.

The most tattooed man in the world is Lucky Diamond Rich from New Zealand. His body is 99.9 percent covered in tattoos and he holds the Guinness World record. 

Religions such as Islam and Judaism don’t allow tattooing as it’s seen to be sinful and disrespectful of God’s creation.

The practice of tattooing and tattoos is illegal in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.

Needle Facts

When getting a tattoo your skin is punctured by multiple needles at one time, not just one. This means that your skin is pierced between 50 to 3000 times by the tattoo machine.

Tattoo ink is inserted into your dermis, which is the second layer of skin. It’s inserted at a depth of around one millimeter. This makes it last longer as your top layer of skin, the epidermis acts as a sheer veil to protect the tattooed skin.

The first electric tattoo machine was invented in 1891and got its inspiration from Thomas Edison’s electric pen. It was Samuel O’Reilly, who added needles and an ink reservoir to give you the first tattoo machine.

It has been known to find blood, urine, animal bones, metal rust, ash, soot and even melted boot polish in DIY homemade tattoo inks. 

What’s the Favorite

The most favorite design of tattoos is said to be that of angels and hearts. This is believed to be due to expressing emotions and spirituality. It’s also linked to passions, strength and beauty, and a desire for spiritual protection.

Cartoon characters are also a big favorite for tattoos, with the top choices being Popeye, Winnie the Pooh, Batman, Betty Boop and Taz the Tasmanian Devil.

Only In the United States

The first tattoo artist in the United States was Martin Hildebrandt. He arrived in Boston and started tattooing in 1846.

There is a whopping 1.6 billion dollars spent annually on tattoos in the United States. 

It’s believed that 14 percent of Americans have at least one tattoo. However, 36 percent of Americans aged between 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.

Miami has the most tattoo shops in the United States with 24 shops for every 100,000 people. Salina in Kansas has the fewest tattoo shops in the United States with only 2 shops for every 100,000 people. 

Tattoo Removal

The easiest tattoo color to remove by laser treatment is black. You wouldn’t think so but black absorbs the most laser waves and this allows it to be removed more easily than other colors.

The most difficult colors to remove by laser treatment are green and yellow.

Would you believe that 17 percent of all tattooed people regret their tattoos? The majority of regrets come from having someone’s name tattooed. Think long and hard before getting tattooed with your current partner’s name.


Tattoos have been around for thousands of years and come in all kinds of weird and wonderful styles, and designs. As you can see, in the history of tattoos, there is lots of meaning behind them. Hopefully, this will continue into the future with the expression of people’s personalities and beliefs within their body art.

Tattoos are more popular today than ever before and this looks to continue with different types and styles of tattoos being created. It’s important that you understand the process and the meaning behind any tattoos before going ahead, this could change your life. 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading the interesting and fascinating facts about tattoos and their history. Long may the trend continue with lots more amazing facts in the years ahead.