Texas ranks high in states with high tattoo regret. The Lone Star State placed at number #9 with a "regret score" of 60.5 out of 100. The methodology used to come to that ranking was based on surveys of people with tattoos:

We asked everything from how many tattoos they have and regret to how much money they have spent on their tattoos as well as whether they have ever been pressured into getting a tattoo.

Oof. You should never ever feel pressured into a tattoo.

At least Texas can take solace in the fact that our score is much lower than the state with the #1 tattoo ranking- Alabama at 75.5, with residents regretting "four or five" of their tattoos.

Why do people come to regret their tattoos? What can be done to avoid regretting your tattoo, and what can you do once the damage is done? We'll take a look.

Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash
Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash

But first- full disclosure. I am heavily tattooed. I think I have 30 tattoos, I'm not even sure anymore. I do have some tattoos I would change, and I even have a tattoo that I got rid of completely. I'll explain my reasons, which coincide with some of the reasons given for tattoo regret in the survey.

1. Placement. I actually don't have any placement regrets myself. But many people think their tattoo is not best suited for the body part it landed on. My advice for this is to listen to your artist carefully. They should be experts on placement. Give the stencil a good, long look before you approve the placement. It's literally just a soap swipe and a new stencil print to move it. If your artist doesn't want to work with you on this- walk away.

2. You cheaped out. The artist you really wanted quoted you $800, but you found someone else that would do it for $200. I love a bargain as much as anyone, but this is NOT the time or place to go with the cheapest option. Many tattoo artists price based on experience and experience counts. I have tattoos I regret because I let an apprentice tattoo me when I should have spent the cash on something better.

3. You got a name. I love the name tattoos I have- because they are the names of my daughter and my departed sister. Neither of them can ever do anything to make me not love them. I have never gotten the name of a romantic partner and I never will. It's cursed.

4. You got something trendy or cliche. Did that infinity symbol age like milk for you? I actually worked at a tattoo counter and tried to steer people away from it- because every other woman who walked in wanted it. I don't mean to yuck anyone's yum- but if everyone is doing it, you're likely going to hate it in a few years.

5. You didn't say no. The artist drew something and you weren't exactly in love with it. Now it's on you forever. This is my primary source of regret. I should have been more picky and stood up for myself instead of just accepting my fate. I'm not saying be obnoxious or impossible to please, but I am saying that a professional artist should strive to give you what you actually want.

Now what do you do when you have a tattoo you hate? If the tattoo is fairly small or fairly light, talk to an artist who specializes in cover-ups, as this will likely be the least expensive and less painful option. If a cover-up isn't possible, or you want no tattoo there at all, you are pretty much stuck with laser treatment. I can tell you from experience that it can get pricey, especially with multiple sessions. And I really hate to tell you this, but it hurts about a million times worse than the tattoo did. But it is less painful than having to look at a tattoo you hate.

Hindsight is 20/20 and regret is a poison, so I really hope you love and accept yourself- questionable tattoos and all.

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