Rethinking Ink: Does Your Marketing Reflect the Reality of ‘Tattoo Regret’?

Rethinking Ink: Does Your Marketing Reflect the Reality of ‘Tattoo Regret’?

982 1024 Rob Lovitt

Regrets…like the late Frank Sinatra, people with tattoos have had a few. They’re rethinking their body art, searching for tattoo removal options, and making decisions — about procedures and providers — based on the information they find online.

Tattoo removal is one of the most researched treatments on RealSelf, and has a Worth It Rating in the low 90s. If you want to reach those with tattoo remorse, you have to understand what this group is searching for, and engage with them online.

The numbers don’t lie:

  • 29% of Americans have at least one tattoo, up from 21% in 2012. (Harris Poll)
  • 23% of those with tattoos say they’ve regretted getting one, up from 14% in 2012. (Harris Poll)
  • Between 2014 and 2015, tattoo removals among ASAPS members jumped 39%. (ASAPS)

Who are these potential patients? The inked skew young, with 47% of Millennials claiming at least one tattoo vs. 36% of Gen Xers and 13% of Baby Boomers. They also tend to have more than one tat (69%) and are more likely to live in rural or urban areas (35% and 33%, respectively) rather than the ‘burbs (25%).

Here’s how to reach them:

Know your audience

According to Groupon data, tattoos were particularly popular in Baltimore, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Fla., and Seattle last year. Conversely, the top five cities for tattoo removal were clustered around the nation’s midsection: Austin, Texas, Lexington, Ky., Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Okla., and Louisville, Ky. Practices that serve any of the above should ensure their content highlights their local presence.

Answer tattoo-removal questions

Check out the questions RealSelf members ask about tattoo removal. You’ll see the usual inquiries about cost, pain, and recovery times, but you’ll also find more nuanced ones, including ones about the pros and cons of various technologies. Incorporating an FAQ or grid-comparison noting the differences among several options have high appeal, both to the major search engines and the people who use them.

Emphasize your expertise

As with so many aesthetic procedures, people pursuing tattoo removal can choose from an ever-broadening array of treatment options. Most people choose a medical provider — 82%, according to a recent survey by Syneron Candela — but that still leaves nearly one in five who go elsewhere.

Sharing content that honestly reflects the reality — number of treatments required, the roles of image color and skin type, etc. — is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from competitors who may lack the technical skills or appropriate certification.

Post tattoo-removal videos

Videos are a great way to show potential patients exactly how the process works. Short Q&A videos allow you to address viewers’ most common concerns, while patient-focused ones let viewers know they’re not alone. Highlighting new technology and explaining how it works helps show you have the goods and the expertise to back it up.

The reality of tattoo removal

Funny thing about “tattoo regret.” Many of those who get tattoos removed only regret the image at hand, not tattoos in general. In fact, according to the Syneron Candela survey, 83% of those who had a tattoo removed said they plan on getting a new one.

The takeaway? More tattoos will continue to fuel the interest in tattoo removals which, in turn, means more repeat business for medical practices that prove themselves worthy of it.

Have a half hour? Check out our schedule of quick online classes geared to boost your practice today.

Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including, and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

All stories by:Rob Lovitt