It looms like a shadow over the head of every person who takes a seat in a tattoo artist's chair – tattoo regret. The feeling that you'll wake up one day next month, next year or even next decade and realize that the koi fish you have adorning your arm or the name of your favorite band across your back or, for the really unlucky, the name of an ex-partner over your heart is causing you more stress than it's worth.

As tattooing increases in popularity, so too do instances of tattoo regret. While some go under the needle without really thinking about it, there are definitely some examples of tattoos that are likely to be especially cringe-worthy.

The rise of tattoo regret
Unfortunately for artists and enthusiasts alike, there is an increasing number of people finding themselves with a serious and permanent case of buyer's remorse when it comes to their body art. According to The Huffington Post, a recent U.K. survey revealed that almost one-third of tattooed adults regretted one or more of their designs. Some of these cases can be severe, as LiveScience reported that 17 percent of tattooed adults actually go through with tattoo removal to help assuage their nagging regret.

But which designs are driving people to second-guess their skin art?

Pop culture references
The millennial generation is perhaps more than any other defined by its close relationship with media and pop-culture icons. People from this demographic wear T-shirts emblazoned with band names and catchphrases, adorn their cars with stickers singing the praises of their favorite musicians and, yes, even etch their love of a film or fictional character indelibly into their skin. 

While viewed by many as the sign of ultimate devotion to a particular piece of media, the fluid and ever-changing nature of the pop-culture landscape makes this a surefire way to end up with some tattoo regret down the road. Sure you may love a band now, but how will you feel in 20 years when you've got the name of a music act that's long since dissolved and you can't even remember inked onto your arm?

Dare tattoos
Tattooing's checkered past and fading but still-present association with fringe elements of society makes it a great match for extreme-minded individuals – some of whom decide to show off their wild side by capriciously getting a tattoo just because a comrade dared them to. 

If ever there were an example of a practical joke gone too far, this is it. Sure you've earned some street cred with your friends, but you're also out a couple hundred dollars and a few hours of your time – not to mention, you're left with a tattoo that can range from absolutely meaningless to maliciously insulting.

Romantic tattoos
We grow up with the idea that love is eternal, and that once we find our soulmates, we're destined to spend the rest of our lives together. Unfortunately, the reality tends to be somewhat different from the fantasy. That's a lesson those who decide to immortalize their love for each other by going under the needle learn the hard way. You may be tempted to score points with a grand romantic gesture, but try explaining away that name on your arm when you're back in the dating pool after a breakup.

Gang tattoos
Unfortunately, some people end up getting tattooed for all the wrong reasons. It's not uncommon for people involved in gangs and organized crime to show their allegiance by tattooing symbols or ranks onto themselves. Those who decide to leave the lifestyle, however, find themselves with a huge obstacle in the way of the development of a future career, and more often than not consider laser tattoo removal.

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