Published online Sep 22, 2017. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.148
Peer-review started: February 12, 2017
First decision: May 10, 2017
Revised: May 18, 2017
Accepted: July 7, 2017
Article in press: July 9, 2017
Published online: September 22, 2017
Core tip: Although traditionally associated with deviance and psychopathology in modern Western culture, tattoos have evolved into a mainstream phenomenon, especially among younger adults. While there are myriad motivations for obtaining a tattoo, most individuals seek tattoos as a means of personal expression that provides a potential window into the psyche that can be used to facilitate psychiatric treatment. By reviewing the literature on psychological and psychiatric aspects of tattooing, we suggest that tattoos should be viewed not as signs of pathology, but as opportunities to explore core aspects of self-identity that can be valuable in clinical work.