The generation is a work of art. Nearly half of American millennials have at least one tattoo, reports WSJ’s Jo Craven McGinty, and more than a third have two, and 15% have five or more. And frankly, inked skin is the quickest way to get me to trust someone.
People who tattoo their skin are not afraid of accepting pain, if it means achieving something they believe in. They’re sure enough of their choices to make a long-lasting and visible one. And, they’re immortalizing their interests and passions on their skin, meaning they have self-reflected and felt deeply about something in their life enough to have a passion at all. Not that people without ink can’t have all these qualities—it’s just tattoos are, in most cases, tangible proof. Below are seven psychologically researched and scientifically studied reasons girls with tattoos are living their best, untamed lives:
They have a high level of self-esteem.
Confidence is sexy, and tattoos have been proven to increase people’s satisfaction of their own bodies. In a present study, 82 men and women were asked to evaluate their own appearance before getting a tattoo, and then re-evaluate themselves after getting it. The study showed both women and men significantly lowered their appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction, had greater body appreciation, self-esteem, distinctive appearance investment, and self-ascribed uniqueness immediately after obtaining their new mark.
Especially in the case of multiple ones, tattoos add lasting strength to your immune system. This is because your body produces a stress response when it gets a tattoo, and then returns to equilibrium after healing. If you continue this cycle over and over for new ink, your body will adjust to a newer, “tougher” equilibrium of health.
Additionally, tattoos have been proven by the same study to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone and an immune response suppressant. This not only reduces stress, but can also seriously boost your fitness. Lowering your cortisol allows your muscles to repair faster after working out, growing more muscle and requiring less time off from the gym.
They’re more likely to be social, unique and adventurous.
In a study conducted of 540 people from the southern German-speaking areas of Central Europe, titled “Personality Differences Between Tattooed and Non-Tattooed Individuals,” it was noted that those tattooed had significantly higher scores than non-tattooed individuals on “Extraversion, Need for Uniqueness, and the Experience Seeking subscale of the SSS–V.” That means if you have a tattoo, you’re more likely to enjoy being around others and comfortable with attention, have a need to be visibly, uniquely, yourself, and enjoy the thrills of life to the fullest.
They appear more approachable.
In a 2013 study, a recording was made of how many men approached a woman lying on a beach with no tattoos, then how many approached her when a temporary tattoo was applied. More men approached the tattooed test case, and approached faster. Tattoos represent an openness to life and other people, and if anything, can be amazing conversation starters.
They’re at the forefront of evolution.
In a 2017 psychological evaluation of how tattoos represent our psyche, the authors produced two possible hypotheses on how tattooing is favored in evolution. The first was called the “human canvas” theory, which postulates that tattoos express our culture, illustrate one’s personal story, and document history (having moved from cave walls to the skin over time). The second theory, called “upping the ante,” suggests that tattoos evolved as a fitness indicator, enhancing one’s appearance to find love, similar to a peacock’s tail.
The authors also administered a survey to 458 U.S. college students, including 43% with at least one tattoo. The survey first confirmed most tattooed respondents took months to decide on their design, researched a reputable tattoo parlor, spent a significant amount of money on it, and were over 18 at the time of their first tattoo. Respondents also reported very high levels of satisfaction with their first tattoo, but those with multiple tattoos tended to rate their second or third tattoos, typically obtained a few years after their first, as favorites. This suggests that the process of obtaining multiple tattoos reflects a self-concept that continually evolves with time.
The bottom-line: tattoos have long been used as a tool of documenting personal history, as indicators of fitness and beauty, and now, as a means of displaying personal growth carefully selected and added to over time. Be it any, or all of, these reasons—the tattooed are always evolving.
They live fearlessly in the present.
Best described by Kirby Farrell, P.h. D. in his contribution to Psychology today, tattooing one’s body implies you live in the moment. You’re willing to change your body and embrace what you find beautiful today, you’re not held back by a worry your choice will eventually become cliche or affected by aging. As he states: “In the process they counter anxiety about aging and death.”
They’re more likely to be sexual beings.
According to a study of young adults, ages between 20 and 35, those with tattoos were more likely to have active, liberal sexual lives—while reporting no increase whatsoever in unprotected practices compared to non-tattooed participants. Try telling me with a straight face that’s not the best reason of all.