Huge rise in number of tattoo parlours across Wales

A tattoo is inked onto a person's arm Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The number of tattoo parlours in Wales has increased substantially during the last 20 years

There has been a huge rise in the number of tattoo parlours across Wales, official figures show.

There are now more than 330 licensed parlours in the country - more than one for every 10,000 residents.

Figures compiled by BBC Wales show the total has soared in the past 20 years.

A new Experian report for Britain as a whole has found the number of parlours across the UK leapt by 173% in the past decade.

BBC Wales statistics, gathered through Freedom of Information requests, show Cardiff had only three parlours in 1994, compared to 48 now - the highest of any area in Wales.

Parlour peak

While the statistics confirm an increase in parlours on Welsh high streets, they also suggest growth has peaked.

Cardiff had more tattoo studios a year ago - a total of 56 - than it does in 2014, and the rise appears to have stalled in other areas.

Last year's figures for 18 of 22 Welsh areas reveal there are fewer parlours now than 12 months ago.

Image caption More high streets have tattoo parlours like this one in Treforest

Areas such as Conwy, Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot and Vale of Glamorgan, had no tattoo parlours 20 years ago but each has between 12 and 15 now.

As recently as 2004, there were just 61 parlours in the 13 Welsh districts where figures are available. Now, there are 218 in those same areas.

Meeting demand

Sion Smith, editor of Skin Deep magazine, said tattooing had become more attractive and popular in recent years, and parlours had sprung up to meet the demand.

"But there are only ever a certain number of people available who want to be tattooed," he said.

"Once you get into the more rural areas of Wales, that pool would shrink very quickly."

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