The New Army Tattoo Policy was announced by Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III  on Saturday September 21st 2013. There will be strict new governing standards for Army soldiers for Army Regulation 670-1. The regulation covers several things including uniforms, grooming, and tattoos. New recruits will be affected by the Army’s visible tattoo ban.

What is Army Regulation 670-1?

Army regulations 670-1 explicitly states the personal appearance policy for the United States Army. The regulation discusses soldier hair, cosmetics, religious headgear, fingernails, wearing of jewerly, and the tattoo policy. The policy was last revised in 2005.

Related: Considering Tattoo Removal? Ask yourself these 12 questions!

New Army Tattoo Policy

[pullquote]The incoming policy will prevent new soldiers who have tattoos that reach below their elbow or their knee or above their neckline from enlisting.[/pullquote]

The incoming policy will prevent new soldiers who have tattoos that reach below their elbow or their knee or above their neckline from enlisting.

Upon the adoption of the new system, all soldiers would be required to self-identify tattoos to their unit leaders. Those whose tattoos violate the policy under which they were recruited would be required to pay for tattoo removal themselves, Chandler said.

Army Tattoo Removal PolicyServing soldiers who were recruited under the current policy would be grandfathered and allowed to keep their tattoos as long as they do not contain any racist, sexist, or extremist words or symbolism.

Related: Does tattoo removal hurt? It doesn’t have to!

Chandler said tightening the grooming code was an effort to promote recognition of soldiers’ individual achievements rather than having them stand out for their appearance.

Speaking to troops at bases in eastern Afghanistan, Chandler said Secretary John McHugh has approved but not yet officially put his name to the changes to Army Regulation 670-1. The policy changes are expected to be approved by Secretary of the Army John McHugh within the next couple months, Chandler said.

Related: 7 Secrets to lowering the cost of laser tattoo removal

Current Army Tattoo Policy – Summary

1. Must not have any lewd or offensive indelible marks or figures (tattoos) visible on any exposed part of the body while wearing the prescribed duty uniform, to include the physical training uniform.

2. Army policy prohibits any tattoos or brands on the face, head or neck above the class-A shirt collar.

3. Tattoos or brands that are extremist, indecent, sexist or racist are prohibited, regardless of location on the body, as they are prejudicial to good order and discipline within the Army.

Source: Read the entire Army Tattoo Policy at Army website

Related: [Answered] How long does it take to remove a tattoo?

Reasoning Behind the New Army Tattoo Policy

The new Army tattoo removal revised regulation comes with great controversy. Why would the Army changes the rules? Simply put, because they Army doesn’t need as many soldiers as it has needed in the past.

In 2006, the Army loosened their stance on tattoos so they can recruit more soldiers. Now the military is pulling out of countries and downsizing troops, the new Army tattoo policy can be more strict.

Is Tattoo Removal Required Before Joining the Army?

1. Have your recruiter review the tattoo. You may be in the clear and nothing needs to be done.

2. Read our tattoo removal blog to research more about removing your tattoo.

3. Ask your tattoo removal provider (DermBids can do this for you) if they have a military discount.

Army Tattoo Removal Policy


Written by: Eric Zabinski
[Image Source] Wak Tattoos
[Image Source] Flickr