Cover up Tattoos (?)

Reasons Why People Cover up Tattoos

“Cover up tattoos? Why would anyone ever want to do that??”

We hear all to often that people do not understand why anyone would want to cover up tattoos, but the fact of the matter is there are many different reasons for it. According to a 2010 Pew Research report, 15 percent of Baby Boomers, 32 percent of Generation X and 38 percent of Millennials have tattoos. With those types of numbers, more and more people are getting tattooed every generation – creating more and more reasons for tattoo cover up every day. It’s actually quite simple math when you break it down. And since we’re so obsessed with numbers at the moment here are 10 reasons why people want to cover up tattoos.

1. Do Not Like the Tattoo.

cover up tattoos - do not like tattoo - void tracy

Do Not Like Tattoo

Most often, people seek to cover up tattoos because they simply grow tired of the original tattoo or never liked it in the first place. It could be a tattoo they got in the spur of the moment and have always regretted, or perhaps it is a poorly done tattoo. Maybe it is a tattoo that had a cliché meaning during a certain time in that person’s life that the person would rather forget. This is most often the case with relationship related tattoos – name tattoos and/or gang-related tattoos carry the most regret. When the relationship is over, people often want to cover up tattoos that remind them of it.

In the case of Microsoft Zune’s biggest fan who had three Microsoft Zune tattoos on his body, he finally threw in the towel and opted for a new, much larger Dick Cheney Devil tattoo citing lack of product development on Microsoft’s part as reasoning for abandoning the fad. Replacing it with a much larger tattoo of a different fad was an interesting choice, though, and it makes you wonder how soon he will jump to cover up tattoos of the other Zune logos.

2. Family or Meeting New People.

Cover up Tattoos - Meeting Family - Tattooed Grandma

Meeting Family - Tattooed Grandma

Often a person is happy with their tattoos and does not really want to cover up tattoos, but will hide it anyways when they are visiting family members they love that discriminate against tattoos. Most often this is the case with grandparents who hold strong to past traditions and viewpoints. Children and even adults who get tattoos without their parent’s permission often need creative ways to cover up tattoos. A majority of the reasons parents do not want their children to have tattoos stems from religious beliefs (see item 8 below), fear of stereotypes in society or they simply think their child looks better without tattoos. Family is actually an interesting reason people choose to cover up tattoos because the exact same reason can be either fear-based (my mom will kill me if she ever found out I had a tattoo) or love-based (it will break my mom’s heart if she ever found out I had a tattoo). I guess it further goes to prove that the way you treat a person effects how their response toward you will be – will it be out of fear or out of love? It’s actually very interesting what your tattoos say about you, even when you choose to cover up tattoos and they are not there. 😉


3. Job Applicants and Employees.

Cover up Tattoos - Job Applicants and Employees with Tattoos

Employees with Tattoos

Tattoos are still not accepted in every workplace and options to cover up tattoos are necessary. With many employers including Disney, Starbucks and UPS, tattoos are frowned upon and employees are pressured to or required to cover up visible tattoos in order to work. Other employment industries such as certain restaurants, hospitals, theme parks and flight attendants also require employees to cover up their tattoos. According to a recent study by Careerbuilder, over 42 percent of managers said their opinion of someone would be lowered by that person’s visible body art. 3 out of 4 respondents believe that visible tattoos are unprofessional if they did not cover up tattoos. This often depends on the position the person with tattoos is working, as employees with more customer face-time are pressured to cover up tattoos more often than those working behind the scenes at a desk. As times are changing and tattoos are becoming more and more accepted, many employers (and their customers) are ok with tattoos being shown in the workplace.

It is hard to make discrimination claims against a company if they will not hire you because of visible tattoos when they have a defined tattoo policy on when you need to cover up tattoos. Several tattoo discrimination court cases won by companies prove that there is a strong legal basis for discriminating against the tattooed, especially if the company is afraid that having employees who do not cover up tattoos might hurt their company’s image.

4. Weddings and Formal Events.

Cover up Tattoos - Wedding Day

Wedding Day & Formal Events

Weddings and other formal events where pictures will be taken to remember the event are also popular reasons people wish to cover up tattoos. Sometimes it is to appease family members who will be in the audience, but often it is because the bride or groom do not want to showcase their tattoos at this event. Instead of having the audience focus on their tattoos, they want the focus be on them instead. Many people debate whether or not they should be choosing to cover up tattoos on themselves or on their wedding party since many people believe you should be free to express who you are and be proud of who you are. Often weddings also take place in a religious setting and reasons for wanting to cover up tattoos could stem from religious beliefs. (see below). Using a tattoo concealer is a popular way to cover up tattoos when the tattoo cannot be covered by clothing.

5. Religious Beliefs.

Cover up Tattoos - Religion - Cross Tattoo

Cross Tattoo

Although some religions celebrate tattoos and may use tattooing as a form of spiritual healing, not all religious faiths are permissible of tattoos. Often patrons of these religions who have tattoos but still wish to participate in a faith that does not allow them are pressured or forced to cover up their tattoos in order to remain part of the congregation.

Popular religions that do not allow tattoos include Mormonism, Islam, and Judaism. In modern times, the association of tattoos with Nazi concentration camps has given another level of discomfort toward tattoo acceptance with people of Jewish faith. There is no consistent Christian view on tattoos or tattooing. A passage in leviticus written in the Bible reads: ‘ye shall not make any cuttings on your flesh for the dead nor print any marks upon you’. (19:28). However, biblical scholar M.W. Thomson suggests that Moses favored tattoos, introducing them as a way to remember how GOD delivered the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.


6. Military.

Cover up Tattoos - Military - US Army Infantry Tattoo

Military - US Army Infantry Tattoo

The men and women in the armed forces continue to seek new ways to cover up tattoos as tattoo acceptance and policies continue to change. Although for centuries men and women in the armed forces have gotten tattoos to symbolize their loyalty to their country, to share a bond with fellow group members or to sneak secret messages across enemy lines, certain tattoos are still not accepted by the US government’s military and these people must find ways to cover up tattoos if they wish to still participate. The US Army, Navy, Marines and Air force and US Coast Guard each have different policies to cover up tattoos. One of the reasons the military has tattoo policies is because a soldier’s tattoo is an easy way for an enemy to spot, track and kidnap them. Another reason is because of the way civilians view tattoos. In 2006 the Army has revised their tattoo policy in hopes to boost recruitment numbers from individuals who otherwise would not be permitted to join. Tattoos are now permitted on the hands and back of the neck if they are not “extremist, indecent, sexist or racist.” Army Regulation 670-1, which was modified via a message released Jan. 25, also now specifies: “Any tattoo or brand anywhere on the head or face is prohibited except for permanent make-up.” Unfortunately sleeve tattoos are a permanent disqualification for recruiters and applicants must cover up tattoos on the forearms. If a soldier has a questionable case about a tattoo, they should seek the advice of the local commander through the chain of commands.

By the way (interesting fact), according to Wikipedia, the original meaning of a “military tattoo” is actually a military drum performance, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

7. Municipal.

Cover up Tattoos - Municipal - Police Officers with Tattoos

Municipal - Police Officers with Tattoos

Recent tattoo policy changes across the nation for police and firefighters require these men and women to also cover up tattoos on their face, hands or neck. These new tattoo restrictions are aimed to portray a more straight-laced image on the streets. In many hot areas such as Arizona, these tattoo restrictions that force officers to cover up tattoos are being called into question as impractical because of the intense heat. One tattooed officer said she thinks tattoos connect officers to the community. “It gives us a sense of humanity,” said the three year veteran officer who wished to remain anonymous. For the time being, however, most municipal jobs across the nation have adopted restrictions against certain visible ink and Municipal employees still must cover up tattoos.

8. Models, Actors and Actresses.

Cover up Tattoos - Megan Fox Marilyn Monroe Tattoo

Celebrity Marilyn Monroe Tattoo

Models, Actors and Actresses want to cover up tattoos when they are playing a role or character who does not typically have tattoos, especially word tattoos or tattoos of a certain time period. If an actor is playing a person who does not have tattoos or is playing a person who does not have those types of tattoos available to them in that era, the tattoos will not make sense to the audience and the portrayal will not be as effective as it would be if the performer chose to cover up tattoos. Professional actors and models have professional makeup artists to help them cover their tattoos on the set, but in the beginning up-and-coming amateurs need to be able to figure out how to cover up tattoos on their own.

9. Professional Makeup Artists.

Cover up Tattoos - Makeup Artist - Pro Makeup Artist Victoria Stiles

Pro Makeup Artist Victoria Stiles - Expert Tattoo Cover up Makeup Artist

Let’s face it, the only way you get better at anything is by practice so pro make up artists practicing tattoo cover up is essential. Repeatedly doing an action over and over again conditions the brain to store that action for quick use later. A baseball player practices throwing a baseball by playing “catch” and a professional makeup artist practices how to cover up tattoos by covering them over and over again. Why might a makeup artist want to learn more about tattoo makeup and/or do you think a professional makeup artist will ever need these types of skills? Check out the 8 previous reasons above people might want to cover up tattoos above, or a video featuring professional and celebrity makeup artist Victoria Stiles as she explains how easy it is to use Ferbs Cosmetics temporary tattoo cover up makeup.

10. ???

Cover up Tattoos - Unlimited Reasons

What Did We Miss?

Ok it’s not really a reason, you caught us. However, as tattoo history continues to evolve there are so many new and different reasons people wish to cover up tattoos every day we didn’t want anyone to feel left out. Another good reason worth a notable mention is if you are going to court and want the judge and jury to view your case unbiasedly. What are some of the reasons why you think people would want to cover up tattoos? Give us a break and share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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