The number of tattooed people has substantially increased in the past years. Surveys in different countries reveal this to be up to 24% of the population. The number of reported adverse reactions after tattooing has also increased including infections, granulomatous and allergic reactions and tumors. However, the case reports do not reflect the frequency of adverse reactions. This review compares the medically documented adverse reactions published in 1991-2011 with the findings of a nation-wide survey that recently revealed the features and health problems associated with tattoos. To compare the data with the survey, the sex of patients was reported and the location and color of tattoos were evaluated. The results show clearly that colored tattoo inks are mainly responsible for adverse skin reactions and that tattoos on the extremities are involved most.