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December 1996

Motivation for Tattoo Removal

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology Bridgend General Hospital Quarella Road Bridgend Mid Glamorgan, Wales

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(12):1516. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890360110023

Motivations for removal of tattoos may be similar among different populations. Our data support the Boston, Mass, report1 that tattoos applied impulsively in youth are regretted in later years.

In a survey of 68 patients, 44 men and 24 women, requesting tattoo removal at the Bridgend Laser Clinic, Bridgend Mid Glamorgan, Wales,2 we found that 71% of patients had tattoos applied before 18 years of age. Forty-five percent of patients had applications because tattoos were perceived as fashionable, 22% because of peer pressure, 7% through "sheer stupidity," and 6% because they were in love. Only 13% were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time. Ten percent of patients regretted the tattoo immediately and 28% voiced remorse within the first month. The primary motive for removal of a tattoo was an overwhelming desire to improve self-esteem (48%), followed by removal of a socially stigmatizing and discrediting

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