Tattoos are forms of body modifications where a design is made by inserting inks, dyes, and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment and it is an ancient art. They have been around for a very long time and can date back to 3370 B.C. and 3100 B.C. There are various types of tattoo styles but the major ones include: Traditional, Realism, Watercolor, Tribal, New School, Neo Traditional, Japanese, Blackwork, Illustrative and Chicano Style (Rebecca).The popularity and the percentages have increased over the years with 29% of people in the U.S. have at least one which is getting more common nowadays and most likely will in the future.


The perceptions are a mix of both good and bad usually if someone has tattoos they are looked down upon and maybe they’re apart of the wrong crowd or are just living in the moment and will probably regret it while others like tattoos which becomes self expressive of oneself, new beginnings and individuality. Health researchers have also claimed that the perceptions toward a person with a tattoo is more negative than the perceptions toward non tattooed persons.  Specially the type of design you or someone else is getting will make more of a negative or more positive outlook depending on who views it and how they feel about tattoos. (Resenhoeft, Annette).

Types of tattoos

Traditional tattoos are known for bold lines, bright colors, and iconic designs like roses, anchors and lady heads. Realism tattoos are black and grey portraits of faces, nature and anything else imaginable. Watercolor tattoos are described as whimsical and aesthetic. Tribal tattoos are indigenous body art this style is usually in all black with elaborate patterns. New School tattoos are highly animated, cartoonish and wacky. Neo-Traditional is an evolution of the traditional style, line work, color, has an illustrative quality to it, and decorative details. Japanese style tattoos are dramatic smoke and wave filled appearances. Black work tattoos are solely black ink, ornamental designs to extremely detailed illustrative pieces. Illustrative tattoos are fine line calligraphy and extremely versatile. Chicano Style has a lot of culture influence to them and is usually fine line, black and grey.  (Rebecca).


What to consider

There is a lot of consideration and thought put into before getting a tattoo like finding an artist that you trust and does similar work to the design or designs that you are interested in getting, the cost is going to be very expensive, can take hours or sessions, it will most likely hurt and the aftercare you will have to follow up on. There are several stereotypes like tattoos aren’t professional, the person is rebellious, irresponsible, they don’t have an education, they’re mean to others and won’t be able to get a job which shows how they are viewed on a regular basis.


A researcher by the name of Naomi Joy Tabassum used a semi-structure protocol to interview seven individuals that included five men and two women of the same age range around 25-38 years old. The data she collected had three major themes: “identity project,” “cultural context” and “tattoo timeline”. The findings suggest stigmas related to tattoos remain embedded in the cultural context, more significantly within career and counseling. Some people would describe themselves outside of all of the negative remarks and stereotypes thrown out at them and they have a sense of community within the tattoo subculture. ( Tabassum, Naomi Joy).

An article explaining “What Is Hidden In Tattoos” had three different groups of a person with no tattoos,those tattooed with nonnegative messages and persons tattooed with negative messages are all significant in age of death and biochemical, toxic, and immunologic aspects of the different compounds in tattoos should be further studied because there could be unsafe things inside. Current practices of tattooing have for health and disease is much to little known but the development of this knowledge field will benefit from the work  by clinics and researchers from different areas. The article displays the potential risks so some people considering tattoos might reconsider based on the facts that were shown. (Jonsson, Bo H et al).

In “You Need to Cover Your Tattoo!” D.J. Williams, Jeremy Thomas and Candace Christensen want to acknowledge the values on body modification practices to call attention to the need to rethink common standards of professional appearance specifically with the respect to workers who may have visible tattoos because it is important that attitudes and policies among social workers keep up with such changes. This such change and rethinking is very positive and will give others new perspectives because in the end they are just tattoos. (Williams, D.J. et al).

Reading about a photographer by the name of Chris Rainier who travels the globe in search of tattoos and other examples of the urge to embellish our skin showed me that tattoos indicated many different stories like a woman with swirl face tattoos that symbolize her family’s lineage or the dark scrawls on a Cambodian monks chest to reflect his religious beliefs and that blank skin is merely a canvas for a story. (Tucker, Abigail).

Works Cited

Bo H.Jonsson et al. “What is Hidden in Tattoos?”.American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Volume 143, Issue 6, 1 June 2015, Pages 908-910, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/143.6.908a.

Rebecca, “A Beginners Guide: Popular Tattoo Style Briefly Explained.” Tattoodo, 2016, https://www.tattoodo.com/a/2016/02/a-beginner-s-guide-10-tattoo-styles-explained/.

Resenhoft, Anette et al. “Tattoos Can Harm Perceptions: A study and Suggestions.” Journal of American College Health, vol. 56, no. 5, Mar. 2008, pp. 593-596. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3200/JACH.56.5.593-596.

Tabassum, Naomi Joy. “Tattoo Subculture: Creating Personal Identity in the Context of Social Stigma”. NDSU Repository, https://hdl.handle.net/10365/26888.

Tucker, Abigail. “Looking at the World’s Tattoos.” Smithsonian.com, 2010, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/looking-at-the-worlds-tattoos-60545660/.

D.J WIlliams et al. “You Need to Cover Your Tattoos!”: Reconsidering Standards of Professional Appearance in Social Work, Social work, Vol 59, Issue 4, 1 Oct 2014, pp. 373-375, http://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swu025.