Needle Know-How

The Business of Tattoos

LA MOSTRA DOLTREMARE, NAPOLI, ITALY - 2016/05/22: La Mostra dOltremare of Naples has turned into a living art gallery with the International Tattoo Fest 2016. Over 300 tattoo artists, of national and international fame, will be showcasing their art by playing their machines in unison. Designed by Costattoo (Constantine Sasso) the festival will be dedicated to new artistic expressions related to the world of body art and body modification. The artists are ready to battle in the many daily contests. (Photo by Paola Visone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
While every tattoo is individual, those working in the tattoo business in Germany believe rules about hygiene and professionalism should be standardised.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Representatives of the tattoo industry estimate that thousands of artists in Germany work either without a standard set of rules on hygiene or outside of registered studios. With tattoos so popular, this has led to concerns about the danger to public health.

  • Facts


    • German authorities launched the “Safer Tattoo” initiative to educate consumers about the risks associated with tattoos.
    • About a quarter of all Germans under the age of 30 have at least one tattoo.
    • The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) has joined with tattoo industry group BVT to develop safer guidelines on hygiene and working practices.
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German soccer stars Mesut Özil and Jérôme Boateng are known for their skills on the pitch, but anyone who watched this year’s European Football Championship would also have noticed something else: their tattoos.

Much like their sports heroes, a growing number of Germans are opting for ink – particularly young people. Among the under-30 crowd, one in four has a tattoo. But the growing interest in permanent body art hasn’t resulted in tougher hygiene rules for the industry.

Many of the general guidelines that apply to tattoo studios in Germany are voluntary or apply on a state-by-state basis. This is especially true for the machines that artists use on their clients – and how hygienic those devices are.

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