WITH nearly a third of women in their 20s now sporting a tattoo, a James Cook University researcher says the growth of the 'ink' industry shows no sign of slowing down.
Dr Eduardo de la Fuente said a quarter of people aged 18 to 30 were now tattooed, with that figure approaching 33 percent for women in their 20s.
He said what was used to show membership of a group had morphed into the mark of an outsider and then come back full-circle.
"Sailors were the first to discover tattooed cultures," he said.
"In those traditional societies it identified you as part of the society you belonged to.
"Then sailors, prisoners, gang members - that is, groups who were not very respectable - adopted it to show they were outside the mainstream."
He said it wasn't until the 1990s that tattoos became more mainstream.
"The body became the focus of more attention. Fashion and haircuts used to be the concern of women.
"But with the emergence of the metrosexual, men became obliged to work on their body.
"Celebrities and pop-stars were, in some cases, first-adopters and they made tattooing glamourous."
A recent study that surveyed 500 Australians found 12% had one or more tattoos.
The McCrindle Social Forecasting study found that the majority of those people were going under the needle younger, with 40% getting their first tattoo aged 26 or older, and one in 10 Australians got their first tattoo aged mid 40s or older.
Some of the findings
- Three in four Australians would discourage or strongly discourage their adult children from getting a tattoo.
- One third of Australians with tattoos said they regretted, to some extent, getting a tattoo.
One in seven have looked into tattoo removal.