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Can You Go To The Army With Tattoos

Popeye The Sailor Man

The Army’s Tattoo Policy

While Popeye is a Sailor Man, and therefore a card-carrying member of the good ol U.S. Navy, hes a go-to for Coast Guardsmen who are looking for a great tattoo.

Dont be too surprised if you come across loads of Popeye-themed tattoos on Coasties young and old.

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When Can You Go To The Gym After Getting A Tattoo

March 4, 2016 by Roc

For people who are consistent with their workouts, diet, and fitness goals. Its hard to take a break from it, its an addiction that getting a tattoo can interfere with. If you find yourself checking the clock and asking yourself, can you go to the gym after getting a tattoo look no further.

Im right there with you, I hate missing a day after a workout, I literally get destroyed by the feelings of guilt and laziness washing over me. Alright, maybe Im exaggerating a bit

The tattoo healing process is something that should be taken seriously and with that, entering an environment of dust, sweat, and testosterone may or may not have its place.

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Till next time,

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What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Air Force

Along with creating a more liberal tattoo policy the Air Force also introduced defined locations that are not permitted in the military branch under the 2017 changes.

The Air Force does not allow tattoos on the face, head, scalp, neck, tongue, lips, or eyelids.

Hands are also limited to one ring tattoo on one of the two hands unless grandfathered through an existing policy.

Outside of the seven body parts that are a major no-no, the Air Force essentially allows tattoo placement elsewhere.

The second aspect of military tattoos that the Air Force assesses is the content of body art.

The Air Force, like every other branch, prohibits tattoos with content:

  • Considered obscene under USAF guidelines.
  • Associated with gang activity.
  • Extremist or supremacist in nature.
  • Sexist or racist tattoos.
  • Ethnic or religious discriminatory tattoos.

Inappropriate tattoos listed above are not authorized on any part of the body, even if the soldier can cover up the offensive content in uniform.

It is difficult for the Air Force to list every type of obscene or offensive tattoo.

Therefore, commanding officers are assigned the privilege of determining which tattoos violate the Air Force tattoo policy.

If you are unsure if your tattoo constitutes a violation you should bring the subject up when speaking to a recruiter.

Waivers are sometimes granted to military personnel that would otherwise violate the USAF tattoo policy.

Air Force Tattoo Policy 2022

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Tattoos in the U.S. Air Force are allowed on the chest and back below the open-collar uniform as well as on the arms, legs, and as a ring tattoo on one finger on one hand, according to the official policy sent to FOX Television Stations.

“Ring tattoos are limited to a single band of no more than 3/8 of an inch in width, below the knuckle and above the finger joint ,” the policy states.

It adds that there are no size or placement limitations on tattoos as long as they are in accordance with its official rules.

Tattoos are not allowed on the head and neck in the area above the open collar uniform, as well as on the lips and tongue. Any tattoos that are “obscene, commonly associated with gangs, extremist, and/or supremacist organizations, or that advocate sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination are prohibited in and out of uniform.”

“Indecent tattoos/brands/body markings are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, or propriety, or shocks the moral sense, because of its vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature, or its tendency to incite lustful thought. It is indecent if it tends reasonably to corrupt morals or incite libidinous thoughts,” the U.S. Air Force tattoo policy states.

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Air Force Tattoo Policy

The United States Air Force tattoo policy is almost as lenient as the Navy policy, except it prohibits tattoos on the hands. Those serving in the Air Force can have full sleeves as well as large pieces on their backs and legs and are allowed one single-band ring tattoo on their hand. The Air Force tattoo policy, which was updated in 2017, is the same for enlisted members and officers.

Adapting To The New Army Tattoo Policy For 2021

The Army tattoo policy is a constant revolving door.

Therefore, soldiers with tattoos that were previously compliant to military policies yet have since been deemed inappropriate can get grandfathered in.

Regardless, it is impossible to have a tattoo on the face or head grandfathered because these locations on the body were never authorized in the military.

Army soldiers are inspected routinely for new body art as well as other regulations of its grooming standards.

Attempting to hide or cover up tattoos in violation of the policy is a bad idea and will inevitably end up with disciplinary action.

Before obtaining a tattoo it is recommended that soldiers , speak to a unit leader/recruiting coordinator to ensure the ink falls within acceptable standards.

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Tattoos Growing In Popularity Among Young Recruits

The U.S. Army first began allowing soldiers to have tattoos in 2015. It noted how tattoos have grown in popularity among younger people, citing research by the Armys Training and Doctrine Command showing that 41% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 have at least one or more.

The Navy and Marines have less restrictive tattoo policies, and Army recruiting officials recommended the new changes to senior leaders in an effort to keep potential recruits.

Army recruiters filed more than 650 waivers in 2022 as of May for active duty and reserve recruits, according to TRADOC Enlisted Chief David Andrews. The waivers can take up to two weeks and can impact the recruiting process “because potential recruits who previously had tattoos in restricted areas could have decided to enlist in another military branch.”

” gives us the opportunity to put people in right away that have these types of tattoos,” Andrews said. “We dont want people walking away from opportunities in the Army who are otherwise qualified.”

Sgt. Maj. Ashleigh Sykes, uniform policy sergeant major, said that a soldier may choose to get tattoos for a variety of reasons, including some as a form of creativity and others for religious reasons. While facial tattoos remain banned, Sykes said soldiers may file for an exception if theyd like to receive a facial tattoo for religious reasons.

Previously, the service only allowed ring tattoos on hands.

What Is Not Allowed

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Despite the fact that the armys tattoo policy has been slightly relaxed in order to provide room for new recruits, there are still certain rules guiding soldiers in getting a tattoo.

Although soldiers are permitted to have tattoos, below are some things that are not allowed by the army as far as getting tattoos is concerned.

It is important to note that the prohibition of certain types of tattoo is not without cause.

The army is an organization and it is important for the unity of the Force to be reflected in the appearance of the soldiers.

Even though the unique personality of each Soldier is respected, drawing unnecessary attention to oneself in the army is not tolerated.

This is because the soldiers despite being individuals are considered to be a part of something bigger and the interest of the army must be put ahead of personal preferences.

Its on this basis that the army has a policy guiding getting tattooed while in active service.

Certain types of tattoo are not allowed in the army. Below is a list of the types of tattoos that are not allowed.

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What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The Army

There are two things to consider when gauging if a tattoo is allowed/appropriate in the U.S. Army:

A) Placement

B) Message of the tattoo

As far as placement we recommend using the t-shirt test.

Put on a t-shirt and stand in front of a mirror.

The Army does not allow any visible tattoos that show above the t-shirt collar line.

The same rule applies to the neck, face, ears, and scalp .

Hand tattoos are prohibited in the Army aside from the allowance of one ring tattoo per hand.

Otherwise, you will want to avoid placing tattoos on or below the wrist.

Secondly, the Army will analyze the appearance of the tattoo and its message.

The U.S. Army prohibits any tattoos that are racist, derogatory, sexist, extremist, or indecent.

These types of tattoos are not allowed regardless of where you place them on the body .

The Army grants commanding officers the responsibility to determine what types of tattoos are appropriate and which ones may be deemed offensive.

Coast Guard Tattoo Regulations

In the Coast Guard, you can have full sleeve and half-sleeve tattoos, full back and chest tattoos, and tattoos elsewhere on your body, including your legs.

Members of the Coast Guard arent restricted at all when it comes to tattoo size or percentage of coverage. However, any branding cant be larger than a 4-inch by 4-inch area.


  • No tattoo can be visible above the Coast Guard crew neck t-shirt.
  • You can have one single band ring tattoo on each hand.
  • You can also have a finger tattoo that can run the length between the first and second knuckle. You can also have one small hand tattoo, per hand, between the wrist and first knuckle, but it cannot extend one inch in any dimension.
  • The Coast Guard also allows Ultraviolet or black light tattoos. The restrictions on these are the same as for regular tattoos.

As far as donts, the Coast Guard also prohibits the tattoos listed above. Other than that, you have free rein to use your body as a canvas.

For more details on the Coast Guards policy on tattoos, review its memo on uniform regulations and visit its website.

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Amid Recruiting Crunch Army Approves Small Hand Ear And Neck Tattoos For Soldiers

WACO, Texas – U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on Thursday issued a new policy allowing soldiers to have small tattoos on their hands, ears and necks.

The Army Times reports the U.S. military is struggling to find recruits right now. With three months remaining in fiscal 2022, the U.S. Army has only attained 40 percent of its enlisted recruiting goal.

The following tattoos are now authorized for Army soldiers:

  • One visible tattoo on each hand smaller than one inch in measurement. This tattoo cannot be on the fingers, though one ring tattoo per hand is okay, as are an unlimited number of tattoos between the fingers, as long as they are not visible when the fingers are closed.
  • One tattoo on the back of a soldiers neck, less than two inches in measurement.
  • One tattoo behind each ear, no larger than one inch in measurement and not extending beyond the ear lobe.


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What Other Grooming Standards Does The Air Force Have

US Marine Corps Army Tattoo On Left Half Sleeve

The Air Force has several grooming standards that military personnel are expected to observe.

Haircut lengths and styles are heavily regulated both for male and female personnel.

Additionally, mustaches and sideburns are permitted with several restrictions.

The Air Force expects military personnel to have mustaches which are conservative, moderate, being within reasonable limits, not excessive or extreme, and will not extend downward beyond the lip line of the upper lip.

Beards and other types of facial hair are not authorized in the USAF unless a medical waiver is obtained.

Females are allowed to have earrings while males are not granted the same privilege.

Females are also allowed to have makeup and lipstick so long as it is applied conservatively and in good taste.

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Commanders Can Issue Additional Guidance

There may be situations where the commander can restrict the wear of non-visible body ornaments. Those situations would include any body ornamentation that interferes with the performance of the members military duties.

The factors to be evaluated in making this determination include, but are not limited to: impairs the safe and effective operation of weapons, military equipment, or machinery poses a health or safety hazard to the wearer or others or interferes with the proper wear of special or protective clothing or equipment .

Installation or higher commanders may impose more restrictive standards for tattoos and body ornaments, on or off duty, in those locations where the Air Force-wide standards may not be adequate to address cultural sensitivities or mission requirements .

The Air Force has implemented a policy which prohibits body mutilation, such as split tongues.

Tattoos That Are Allowed Under Army Rules

Generally, the Army’s tattoo policy allows most tattoos but forbids most of those that would be visible in uniform.

The Army regulations do, however, allow one ring tattoo on each hand, although it must not extend beyond where a ring naturally would rest on your finger .

As a result of these placement and visibility rules, tattoos and brands are not allowed on:

  • Your head
  • Your neck above the t-shirt line
  • Inside your eyelids, mouth or ears
  • Your wrists
  • Your hands

So-called “permanent makeup,” which includes tattoos used as permanent eyebrows or eyeliner, is allowed as long as it follows the Army’s rules on makeup. Those rules, covered in the same Army regulation, allow makeup only for women, and require the makeup to be “applied modestly and conservatively.”

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Army Policy On Tattoos Has Changed For The Better

Posted by Lark Tattoo,

SMA explains Armys new tattoo policy

Under the Armys new tattoo policy, soldiers will be able to have ink on their arms and legs as long as it isnt visible in the Army Service Uniform.

This means sleeves are once again authorized as long as they dont extend past the wrist, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Army Times.

As long as its not visible in the Army uniform thats the spirit of what we went after, he said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced the upcoming policy change Wednesday afternoon at the Association of the United States Army conference in Huntsville, Alabama.

The more lenient tattoo rules are based on input from soldiers, Odierno said.

Society is changing its view of tattoos, and we have to change along with that, Odierno said. It makes sense. Soldiers have grown up in an era when tattoos are much more acceptable and we have to change along with that.

After many Army Times readers questioned the validity of the news because it was announced on April Fools Day Dailey stressed on Wednesday evening that the policy change is real.

We didnt pick April Fools Day. Its real, he said. I have a copy of the AR 670-1 update here.

Soldiers are still not allowed to have tattoos on their neck, head, face, wrists or hands. The exception is a ring tattoo on each hand, Dailey said.

Also banned are tattoos that are sexist, racist, extremist and derogatory, he said.

April 2 comes quick, Dailey said.

Coast Guard Tattoo Policy 2022

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The U.S. Coast Guard says its tattoo policy “strikes a balance between personal expression and maintaining our sharp military appearance” as it aims to continue recruiting and keeping its next generation of Coast Guardsman.

Tattoos that represent “racism, discrimination, indecency, extremist/supremacist ideals, lawlessness, violence, or are sexually explicit” are banned.

Theres also no limit on the number of tattoos one can have, but there are restrictions on where they can be on the body. Chest tattoos that are visible above the Coast Guard crew neck T-shirt are not allowed.

Service members can have one, 1-inch tattoo on each hand, but it cant go past “the first knuckle closest to the wrist.”

One finger tattoo per hand is also allowed “within the length of the finger from the first to the second knuckle,” according to the Coast Guard tattoo policy.

Additionally, one ring tattoo per hand is allowed on the wearer’s finger but not the thumb.

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Us Army Tattoo Ideas And Meanings

Unlike the more cryptic and subdued tattoos popularized by Navy Sailors, Army Soldiers traditionally get tattoos that are bold, bloody, and rich with images of wartime battle.

For instance, you might see a soldier with a tattoo depicting a bomb dropping, or two soldiers fighting for their lives in a foxhole.

Tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets are the norm as are machine guns spitting bullets down a leg or an arm.

Here are a few of the more popularized Army tattoo designs

How Does The Usaf Define A Tattoo

The Air Force defines a tattoo as a picture, design, or marking made on the skin or other areas of the body by staining it with an indelible dye.

It can also include other methods of body altercation that are only detectable or visible under certain conditions .

Tattoos also include brands and body markings under USAF standards.

Brands are pictures, designs, or other markings burned into the skin or other areas of the body.

Meanwhile, body markings are pictures, designs, or other markings as a result of using means other than burning to permanently scar or mark the skin.

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