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Women More Likely to Have Second Thoughts on Tattoos
Date:7/21/2008

They're much more inclined to have one removed than men, study shows

MONDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- While most Americans who get tattoos are happy with their decision, women are much more likely than men to decide to get their markings removed, new research reveals.

The study authors noted that the gender difference might be attributable to the fact that women appear to face more social stigma and negative comments as a result of having a tattoo.

"We saw that for women there is still some negative societal fallout to having tattoos", said study author Myrna L. Armstrong, a professor in the school of nursing at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas. "This isn't a problem for men. Society supports men, because tattoos are related to a macho image, so we don't question it. But for women, having a tattoo seems to be a transgression of gender boundaries."

Armstrong and her colleagues outlined their observations in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

The authors pointed out that about one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 have a tattoo, and women constitute between 45 percent and 65 percent of the tattoo market.

Prior studies show that more than 80 percent of the inked crowd are pleased with their decision to get a tattoo. Among the fifth that are not, about 6 percent ultimately remove their marking.

To assess who is seeking removal and why, Armstrong and her team surveyed 196 patients -- with an average age of 30 -- who visited four dermatology clinics for tattoo removal in 2006.

More than half said they had gotten their tattoos between the ages of 16 and 23. Asked about their initial impulse to do so, 44 percent said it was to feel unique, while 33 percent said it made them feel independent, and 28 percent said it made their life experiences stand out.

When asked why they finally chose to remove their t
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