Facts & Statistics

In 2003, just 16 percent of people in the United Kingdom had a tattoo. By 2015, that figure had increased to 29 percent. Below are some Facts & statistics to help you understand why regulation is integral to the safety of the public.

Tattoo Ink

Certain tattoo inks can be toxic, with some containing carcinogenic compounds, a 2012 Danish Environmental Protection Agency study found. In fact, one in five tattoo inks contained carcinogenic chemicals, and a vast majority of the inks tested did not comply with international health safety standards for ink composition, an Australian government-sponsored study found. Even more concerning, carcinogens were identified in 83 percent of black inks – by far the most popular color for tattoos.

The European Society of Tattoo and Pigment Research was established in 2013 with a mission of educating the public about the “fundamental facts about tattooing” which many in the younger generations ignore. That group found barium, copper, mercury and other unsafe components in tattoo inks. Their research also found a disheartening mismatch between the listed ink container contents and its actual chemical composition found on testing.
Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.
Food and Drug Administration
0 %
of Black Inks are found to contain Carcinogens
0 %
of Tattoos resulted in infection
0 %
of Tattoo resulted in persistent itching lasting over a month


The most common infections associated with tattooing involve staphylococcus aureus or pseudomonas bacteria arising from poor skin preparation or equipment sterilization. “Staph” skin infectionscan become serious and even life-threatening, as antibiotic-resistant strains become more prevalent. Three percent of tattoos get infected, and almost four percent of people who get tattoos recount pain lasting more than a month.
More serious tattoo-induced skin disorders like sarcoidosis, lichen planis, and lupus-like reactions are increasingly reported in current literature. These skin problems can be more long-lasting and leave permanent scarring.

A study reported in Hepatology found that “tattoo exposure is associated with HCV (hepatitis C virus) infection, even among those without traditional risk factors. All patients who have tattoos should be considered at higher risk for HCV infection and should be offered HCV counseling and testing.”

Hepatitis, which is 10 times more infectious than HIV, can be transmitted through needles used by tattoo artists. It is the reason the American Red Cross restricts blood donations from individuals with newer tattoos done outside of regulated tattoo facilities.

Unregistered & Backdoor Tattooists

A study from Tulane University added credence to these blood donation restrictions by showing that 17 percent of all participants had at least one tattoo done somewhere other than a tattoo parlor, and 21 percent admitted to being intoxicated while receiving at least one of their tattoos.
0 %
of Tattoos are done with Unregistered "Tattoists"
0 %
of customers intoxicated whilst tattoed