Careers and Tattoos May Not Mix

More body art fans are getting their ink removed for the sake of their jobs.

Aug. 21, 2007 — -- Tattoos may be more popular than ever, but the colorful body art is still not welcome in all workplaces, sending some wearers to the removal department.

Approximately 36 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have tattoos, according to a Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology study.

"We are seeing people who are corporate attorneys, or neurosurgeons, or biotechnicians. I actually worked on … a woman who was a rocket scientist not too long ago," said tattoo artist Hannah Aitchison of the new TLC series "LA Ink."

But, while tattoos may be considered mainstream, some companies who employ people with skin designs are adding some ink to their employee handbooks to deter body art.

"Ninety-five percent of the companies I worked with over the past year have asked me to write covering tattoos into their workplace policy," said human resources consultant Lucille Mavrekafolas.

Cover Them Up

Starbucks and Harrah's casino are among the companies that now ask employees to cover their tattoos while at work. But some may not even find work if they have a tattoo.

A recent survey by found that 85 percent of employers say having a tattoo will hurt an applicant's chances of getting a job.

That's exactly why accountant Scott Gilmore, 26, is getting his removed.

"It could be either from a superior, a co-worker, or even a client … I get the feeling that they might find it unprofessional. They might question your work ethic," Gilmore said.

That's also what led Tonia Tremblay to undergo a tattoo removal procedure. She had her tattoo added at age 13 in her friend's garage, and said there is a greater stigma against women who wear body art in her retail workplace.

"They've said stuff like, 'Shame on you.' I work with a little bit more mature crowd, so it's not so accepted in their day, I guess," Tremblay said.

Her dermatologist, Dr. Will Kirby, said about 30 percent of the tattoos he removes are from people hoping to be taken more seriously in the workplace. The other 70 percent are removing ex-lovers' names.