Tattoos and those who bear them continue to struggle for mainstream acceptance and legitimacy in Western societies. While the practice has been an integral part of cultures all over the globe, here in the U.S. it's only been over the past few decades that we've opened our hearts and minds to the practice. Formerly strictly considered a mark of criminals, sailors or other undesirables, the public perception of tattooing has come a long way, as evidenced by the meteoric rise enjoyed by the tattoo industry in recent years. 

Here are a few insights into how different groups within modern society view tattoos today.

Ink and the eye of the beholder
Many who embrace tattooing do so purely out of aesthetic preference. Tattoo enthusiasts often equate getting inked with dying one's hair or wearing a certain type of makeup. There's no question that tattooing has been tied into personal and cultural beauty standards for centuries, but here in the U.S., we may still be a bit more conventional in our tastes as a whole. 

A 2014 report from Valley Land Alliance analyzed surveys designed to determine the impact tattoos and other body art have on perception of attractiveness. Several such reports analyzed by the source confirmed that those with tattoos or piercings were generally viewed as less attractive and less intelligent by the general public than those with no visible body art. In fact, the source noted that even one visible tattoo was enough to skew perception, though the results were compounded even further if two or more tattoos were visible in subjects. 

The report even sought to determine if it was tattoos that were making people seem less attractive, or simply if less-attractive people were the ones more drawn to tattoos. By digitally adding "tattoos" to images of non-tattooed people, the survey found that even previously attractive people displaying visible ink were deemed less attractive.

Tattooing in the professional world
While general beauty standards seem fairly cut-and-dried on the topic of tattooing, in the professional world, the results are less clear-cut. The Valley Land Alliance report indicated that employers may be especially hard on those with tattoos, with the perception of inked applicants being they are less competent or trustworthy than those with virgin skin. In fact, the report even cited a result claiming that 87 percent of human resources professionals claimed a visible tattoo may be enough to disqualify a candidate from a job or a promotion.

However, other data indicates that in recent years, business owners may be warming up to tattooing. A report from Michigan State University publication The State News revealed that some professions are softening on their tattoo policies. One area artist even indicated that he saw government workers, lawyers and other professionals as clients just as frequently as he performed tattoos on students.

Certain industries seem to be more accepting of visible body art. The restaurant industry, for example, seems to be adopting an overall more lax view on tattoo enforcement. Certain small businesses even view their employees' tattoos as a means of building a company voice and establishing an identity as a youth-friendly and progressive establishment. However, the general consensus still seems to be that more white-collar professions remain less than thrilled about the prospect of employees showing ink at the office.

The overall perception of tattoos as inherently unprofessional may be leaving some inksters with a lingering case of tattoo regret. Fortunately, as the tattoo industry has grown, so too has the tattoo removal industry – laser tattoo removal is more accessible and effective today than it's ever been. 

PicoSure® is the latest technology for laser tattoo removal and offers faster and better removal in fewer treatments. PicoSure shatters ink into smaller, dust-like particles which are more efficiently absorbed by the body's natural processes. It is the first and only aesthetic picosecond laser that is FDA-cleared for the removal of tattoos. Visit to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you.