More than a fashion choice: the everyday aesthetics of tattooing

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2015) More than a fashion choice: the everyday aesthetics of tattooing. The Conversation, 2 June 2015. pp. 1-5.

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[Extract] According to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, 22% of Australian men and 29% of women aged 20 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

In a 2013 survey conducted by Sydney-based McCrindle Research, a third of people with tattoos regretted them to some extent, and 14% had looked into or started the removal process. Laser removal has become cheaper and more readily available, but there are serious safety concerns around cheap lasers, poorly-trained operators and the risk of serious burns and scars to clients.

Currently, guidelines on who can operate lasers and IPL machines vary widely by state. The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that national guidelines drawn up by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency are due to go out for public consultation later this month.

But there's a bigger picture here. If 14% of people have looked into tattoo removal, and a third of those inked regret the decision to some extent, a clear majority seem happy with their choice. And in this, they form part of a rich and meaningful history.

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