In a survey-based study published in the International Journal of Dermatology in January 2019, having tattoos was not significantly related to overall health status, but individuals with tattoos were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue and to report sleep problems.

People who had tattoos were also more likely to be smokers, to have spent time in jail, and to have a higher number of sex partners in the past year.

The survey was conducted in July of 2016 and resulted in a sample of 2,008 adults residing in the United States.

“Previous research has established an association between having a tattoo and engaging in risky behaviors. In an era of increasing popularity of tattoos, even among women and working professionals, we find these relationships persist but are not associated with lower health status,” said lead author Prof. Karoline Mortensen, of the University of Miami.

A YouGov research released in May 2019 said having a tattoo could harm your chances of getting hired in Singapore.

Although one in ten (10%) of Singaporeans have a tattoo, approaching half (47%) say they would be less likely to hire someone with a tattoo, even if they were qualified for the position. Older Singaporeans are more likely than younger ones to hold this view. While almost six in ten (59%) of those aged 55 and over say they would be less likely to take someone on if they had a tattoo, this figure falls to one in there (33%) among 18-24 year-olds.

YouGov’s research finds that around half (48%) of those asked say a candidate’s tattoo would have no effect on their decision to hire, while another 5% say it would make them more likely to give them a job.

Face tattoos are the type of inking that is most likely to affect a qualified candidate’s chances of being hired (87%). This is followed by neck (73%), hand (61%) and arm (59%) tattoos. Back tattoos are the least likely to affect one’s chances of being hired (11%) – probably because they are often not visible.


The research finds that in general Singaporeans have quite a conservative view of tattoos in the workplace. Six in ten (58%) think they should be covered at the workplace while seven in ten (70%) believe that certain professions are unsuitable for people with tattoos. However, half (50%) also reckon that tattoos should not impact a person’s employability.

Overall, nearing two in five (38%) have a negative impression of people with tattoos. Again, this is particularly true in the case of those over the age of 55, where over half (53%) have a bad impression of tattooed people, compared to a quarter (26%) of those aged 18 to 24. Over half (55%) have neither a positive nor negative impression of tattoos, and 6% have a positive impression.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “Though tattoos are becoming more mainstream, they appear to be largely unwelcome in the workplace. Not only do tattooed people leave a bad impression on a significant proportion of Singaporeans, they also affect employability.”

***Results based on 1,075 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus

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