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HEALTH NEWS: Almost half of all adults have at least one tattoo

Updated: Thursday, February 27 2014, 06:57 PM CST
Forty percent of all adults in this country between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo.

That's 45 million Americans.
But how does that ink hold up over time?
It turns out,  as your body changes with age, your tattoos do, too.

"Everyone in the nursing home is going to have one."
That's Tattoo Artist Kara Kniffen having a laugh about the body ink she painstakingly places on people like Meredith, who's no novice at this - -this is her fifth time getting one.
"I have one on my thigh, one on my back."
Meredith got her first tattoo at 18 -- she's in her mid 30s now and she's here at Lark Tattoo having a small tattoo on her upper arm covered by a larger tattoo -- and it wasn't just about size.

"There were no sharp lines anymore a mess."
Go to a dermatologist and you learn the medical reason for that.

Liz Bishop: What does happen to the skin as we age?
Dr. Jean Buhac/Dermatologist: "Well, we get some breakdown and sagging."
Not the first thought do I like it now? Does it look good now?
Kara says many clients just have them redone or simply add to the collection.
And she says women with plans of starting a family or who are realistic about the aging process might consider placing it on the ribcage, which along with the wrist is a top spot today for a woman's body ink.

Kara Kniffen/Tattoo Artist: "I don't get many women in here who want a tattoo on their stomach. They put them on their side so they're organic and can grow and stretch with them.

Liz Bishop: "And people like Meredith may not have to worry what they look like when they're old and gray because by then, they may have an escape clause.

"They're trying  to create microbeads to encapsulate the ink that the laser breaks up and the body eats the pigmentation more readily."
But for now, since laser removal has trouble eliminating some of the colors, tattoos remain pretty much a lifetime commitment.  And Kara says that's a good thing .

"There's always something left to it it, marking times and places in their lives. They made the most of it, literally."
There is some regret out there, though. 
Five percent of Americans covered a tattoo with another tattoo.
And more than one in ten either will or have had a tat removed.
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HEALTH NEWS: Almost half of all adults have at least one tattoo

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