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11 Interesting Facts About Tattoos That You Probably Didn't Know

Published April 3, 2024
By Celebrity Ink

Tattoos have come a long way from their ancient beginnings, turning into a powerful way for people to show off their individuality and creativity today. They range from detailed artwork that shares someone’s journey to simple icons marking key moments in life, giving us a sneak peek into different personal experiences. 

However, there’s more to tattoos than just the ink and the art. There’s a whole world of surprising stories and facts that many fans and even long-time collectors might not know.

This article dives into the unknown sites of tattooing. We discuss everything from its ancient roots and meaning in various cultures to the longest tattoo session and what you can do with your tattoos after you pass away.

Here are the 11 most interesting facts about tattoos.

1. What Is The Longest Tattoo Session?

You may think the longest tattoo session would be around 20 hours because who could sit still longer than that? Well, think again! 

An Indian tattoo artist broke a Guinness World Record when he spent 91 consecutive hours giving tattoos to 64 people. Ishan Rana broke the world in March 2023 after starting on the 3rd of March and finishing on the 7th. 

The previous world record for tattooing multiple people was 61 hours and 37 minutes, set by an Italian tattoo artist in August 2022.

Ishan Rana said he consulted with Guinness World Records before attempting to ensure he was following all of the record-keeping organisation’s rules. During the 91 hours he spent tattooing, he had a 20-minute break every four hours.

2. The Speed of a Tattoo Machine

Did you know that when you get tattooed, there is more than one needle in the tattoo machine? 

A tattoo machine is composed of a group of needles, which can be of various shapes and sizes, depending on the style of tattoo you want (lining, shading, etc.). The number of needles used together can vary, from a single needle for fine lines to multiple needs for colouring or shading. 

But do you know how fast those needles move to create your tattoo? When the tattoo machine is activated, it moves the needle bar up and down rapidly. This motion can range from 50 to 3,000 times per minute!

3. The Fastest Healing Part of the Body to Get Tattooed

The healing time of a tattoo can vary significantly depending on its location on the body, its size, the complexity of the design, and the individual’s healing process.

However, certain body parts are known to heal faster when tattooed due to factors like better blood circulation, less exposure to friction and the skin’s characteristics in those areas. 

Generally, areas with tighter, more resilient skin and good blood flow heal faster. So, if you want a tattoo in a place that’ll heal fast, it’s best to get one on your outer shoulders, upper arms, calves, or back.

4. The Most Tattooed Country in the World

You may think that since Australia's tattoo culture is so strong, we’d be the most tattooed country in the world, but we aren’t! 
Italy is actually the most tattooed country in the world, with 48% of the population having at least one tattoo. Sweden is in close second with 47%, and the United States is third with 46%. However, if you were to look at per capita, New Zealand is the most tattooed country in the world, with one in five people having a tattoo.

5. Particular Cultures Use Tattoos To Show Status

Particular cultures worldwide, including the Maori and Samoans, use tattoos to show status.

The indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori, used tattoos to represent a person’s status, rank, prestige, and power. The Ta Moko is a traditional face tattoo applied to the lips, chin and sometimes nostrils. Today, Maori still sport these tattoos, and many consider them part of their rite of passage to adulthood.

Like the New Zealand Maori, male Samoans wear the pe’a, a traditional tattoo from the waist to the knees and a malu for women. These tattoos represent respect, honour, community pride, rank and power.

6. What Is The Most Expensive Tattoo In The World?

One of the most interesting facts about tattoos is the price for the most expensive tattoo in the world. 

While most tattoos cost around a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, especially for big, detailed pieces, did you know that the most expensive tattoo in the world was $924,000?

However, while tattoos are usually drawn with ink, this tattoo was created with 612 Shimansky Ideal Cut diamonds, each weighing half a carat. The diamonds were applied to Shimansky brand ambassador and model Minki van der Westhuizen with a water-based adhesive over eight hours. 

7. People Have Tattooed Their Eyeballs

While you can get tattooed anywhere from your head to your toes, did you know some people have tattooed their eyeballs? 

Eyeball tattoos are done by injecting ink into the white of the eye (the sclera). However, unlike traditional tattoos, they don’t include a design. Instead, they dye the white of the eye to a different colour. Eyeball tattoos only require a few pokes to transfer the ink, as it starts to spread naturally. 

As one of the most extreme forms of body modification, eyeball tattoos are permanent.

8. The Oldest Person To Get Tattooed

The oldest person in the world to get tattooed was Jack Reynolds, who, in 2016, at the age of 104, got his first tattoo. Sadly, Reynolds passed away in 2020 but still holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to get tattooed.

9. The Origins of the Word ‘Tattoo’

The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Polynesian word ‘tatau’. It has been said that the word ‘tatau’ mimics the tapping sound of the tools used during the tattooing process and the cry of pain from the person being tattooed.

10. Tattooed Skin Can Be Donated After A Person Dies

Did you know you can donate your tattooed skin to a museum when you die? It’s true! 
Australian man Geoff Ostling is doing just that. With almost his entire body covered in floral tattoos, he will donate his skin to the National Museum of Australia upon his death.

11. Are Men or Women More Often Tattooed?

A study conducted by McCrindle found that more women than men have tattoos in Australia (31% of women compared to 19% of men).

Worldwide, nearly 60% of women have tattoos compared to 41% of men.

Book A Consultation For Your Next Ink 

From a $924,000 tattoo to people getting their eyeballs tattooed, there are so many unique and interesting facts about tattoos.

If you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo or adding to your collection, book a consultation at Celebrity Ink. Our experienced tattoo artists specialise in various styles and will sit down with you to discuss all the details of your desired tattoo, whether it be a small, intricate design or a big, bold piece.

We look forward to bringing your vision to life!

Get your next tattoo at Celebrity Ink

The team at Celebrity Ink can provide you with not only a tattoo that tells your story but also detailed aftercare information that goes beyond the question of how long does a tattoo take to heal.

Our team sets standards in tattoo design while working alongside you to bring your vision to life. Whether you’re seeking traditional tattoos, realistic designs, mandalas, or any other, we have artists specialising in a range of tattoo styles that can provide you with the tattoo you have envisioned.

Book a consultation to discuss your tattoo design, get in contact with the crew at Celebrity Ink, and we will lock you in for your next ink session.
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