If you have a lot of visible tattoos, they can prove to be something of an issue in some lines of work, with many employers requiring them to be hidden at all times.
Police forces in particular have traditionally been very strict on their policies about visible tattoos, but last year saw the Metropolitan Police relax their rules in a bid to attract more recruits.
Previously officers were not allowed any visible tattoos, resulting in the rejection of around 13,000 applicants who applied in the last financial year.
The new rules now allow recruits with visible tattoos to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, rather than being automatically rejected, although, facial tattoos still remain banned.
But what are the rules in Scotland?
Some tattoos are not allowed
According to Police Scotland's uniform and appearance standards, some tattoos are not acceptable.
The guidance states that officers are not permitted to have tattoos on their face.
In the instance a facial tattoos is for religious, medical or cultural reasons, the matter should be raised with the Divisional Commander or Head of Department.
Tattoos, whether they are visible or otherwise, should not:
- undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable
- cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and / or invite provocation
- indicate unacceptable attitudes towards any individual or section of the community
- indicate alignment alignment with a particular group which could give offence to members of the public or colleagues
- be considered inflammatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating
Officers are also not permitted to wear earrings, visible body or facial piercings or ornamentation while on duty.
Policies on tattoo restrictions are not limited to police in Scotland, with budding Army recruits facing similar policies.
If you have a tattoo which is offensive, obscene or racist, it will prevent you from joining the Army.
Small tattoos that are not offensive in any way are generally not a problem, although this does depend on where they are on your body and how visible they are.
The Army has the following rules regarding tattoos:
- If your tattoo is visible on a passport photo it will be deemed unacceptable
- Tattoos that are offensive or obscene, i.e. those that depict sex acts, violence or illegal drugs, for example, are not allowed
- Tattoos on the hand and the back of the neck are now acceptable. However, most soldiers keep their saluting hand clean out of respect
- Tattoos on the head and face are unacceptable
The Army also has some restrictions on body piercings that could prevent you from joining, such as those which change the way you look, like a 4mm flesh tunnel or larger.
Similarly, nurses and firefighters may can also be faced with such restrictions, with some being required to cover visible tattoos, such as those on the forearms. However, this can vary by employer.