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15+ Facts About Tattoos to Celebrate National Tattoo Day on July 17

It’s officially summer, which means National Tattoo Day is here! Let’s celebrate this July 17 national day with some fun facts about tattoos!

You might be surprised to learn that tattooing has been around for thousands of years! The oldest known tattoos date back to 3300 B.C.E.

In 1991, a mummy named Ötzi the Iceman was discovered in the Ötztal Alps located on the border of Italy and Austria. He was found with 61 tattoos on his body.

Unlike modern tattoos which are made with ink and needles, these tattoos were created by cutting lines into the skin and filling them with charcoal. The tattoos consisted mostly of short, straight lines.

The basic designs of Ötzi’s tattoos left archeologists to assume that instead of being decorative, these tattoos might have instead been an early form of acupuncture.

A neon tattoo sign of a sword through a heart with roses under it and a text overlay beside it that reads "celebrate National Tattoo Day with 15+ facts about tattoos".

Keep reading for more fascinating tattoo facts, and ways to celebrate National Tattoo Day, this July 17th!

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate fascinating foods, animals and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out this national days guide for more information about the history of national days and why we celebrate them.

Facts about tattoos for National Tattoo Day

Brush up on your knowledge of this July 17 national day with these facts about tattoos. 

  • A tattoo artist named Samuel O’Reilly patented the first electric tattoo machine on December 8, 1891.
  • Mattel released a tattooed Barbie designed by Tokidoki in 2011. This Barbie doll was a limited edition doll (only 7,400 made) targeted at adult collectors.
  • Tattooing became illegal in New York in 1961, when it was blamed for a hepatitis B outbreak. It wasn’t legal again until 1997 (36 years later). 
  • During the Holocaust, the forearms of Jewish prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp were forcibly tattooed with identification numbers.
  • Some cultures consider tattoos sacred, like the Māori people (the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand).
  • After having mastectomies, some women opt for mastectomy tattoos, which can range from decorative designs to cover scars, or tattoos to recreate the nipples and areolas. 
  • Some people choose to get tattoos to help with the grief of losing a loved one. An example of a tattoo like this would be getting a message written in the departed loved one’s handwriting.

How to celebrate National Tattoo Day

Would you like to celebrate National Tattoo Day in a special way? Try one of these ideas!

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A brunette woman touching her hair with her left hand, showing off a full sleeve of tattoos on her left arm consisting of roses and a Buddha design.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo, today is a good day to get one! Or maybe you already have a tattoo that needs to be touched up. Either way, National Tattoo Day is a great day to visit the tattoo parlor. 

Not sure sure you want to commit to getting a tattoo? You can try sporting some temporary tattoos. There are even websites that let you design your own temporary tattoos.

Take a trip to Italy to visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige) to see the preserved body of Ötzi the Iceman, the first person known to have tattoos.

If you love tattoos, use National Tattoo Day as the reason to pick up a coffee table book about tattoos. This way you can have tattoo art in your home as decor!

Tattoo facts on National Tattoo Day

Celebrate National Tattoo Day by learning more with these tattoo facts. 

A bunch of tattoo designs all overlapping each other in autumnal tones with a text overlay above it them that read "15 tattoo facts for National Tattoo Day".

  • If you are vegan, make sure to ask your tattoo artist about the ink they’re using. Most tattoo ink is not vegan.
  • Jack Reynolds got his first tattoo at 104 years of age, making him the oldest person to get a first tattoo.
  • Lucky Diamond Rich has held the title of “most tattooed person” since 2006. 100% of his body is covered in tattoos.
  • Tattoos are meant to be permanent, but can be removed through various methods – lasers, dermabrasion, and surgery. 
  • Black is the easiest color of tattoo ink to remove. Lighter colors of tattoos like yellow are the hardest to remove.
  • Cosmetic tattoos (also known as permanent makeup) have been gaining popularity in recent years.

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If you enjoyed learning about National Tattoo Day don’t forget to share these facts about tattoos with your friends. Here’s a tweet to get you started:

Celebrate National Tattoo Day this July 17th with some fun facts about tattoos on Always the Holidays!🖤 #TattooFacts #NationalTattooDay Click To Tweet

More July 17 national days

Did you enjoy learning about National Tattoo Day? Well you’re in luck, July 17 is host to more than just one national day! 

A calendar with July 17th circled in black ink to mark the July 17 national days.

Here is a complete list of all the July 17 national days:

  • National Tattoo Day
  • National Peach Ice Cream Day
  • National Yellow Pigs Day
  • Wrong Way Corrigan Day
  • World Emoji Day
  • World Day for International Justice

More national days in July

There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in July. To see them all, have a look at this post to discover more about the national days in July 

If you enjoy puzzles, be sure to also check out our July-themed word puzzles: July word search printable of national days, 4th of July word search puzzle, and 4th of July printable word scramble.

Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the July food holidays here.

A July calendar against a plain blue background.

If you enjoyed learning about National Tattoo Day, be sure to also check out these national days this month:

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A red rose tattoo design with a text overlay above it that reads "celebrate National Tattoo Day with 15 facts about tattoos".

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."