The internet’s favorite American neuroscientist is tatted like a gangbanger. But you would never know about it from looking at him. Or listening to him. Or doing anything, really. You’ll have to wait for him to tell you, which is what he does in this interview with Chris Williamson where they discuss Andrew Huberman’s tattoos.
Picture by Blabacphoto, Instagram
Being who he is, Andrew Huberman never shows off his tattoos. It took me, a superfan veering dangerously into groupie territory, upwards of a year to even hear of his tats. Huberman is tattooed from neck to wrist. His hands, chest, and back are all inked up. Huberman’s abdomen and lower body are the only parts that remain plain.
How many tattoos does Andrew Huberman have?
The exact number of Andrew Huberman’s tattoos is unknown. He doesn’t show them off and even when he talks about them, he’s cagey about certain details because the tattoos are deeply personal to him. The only pictures on the internet show his forearms but not much else.
Why doesn’t Andrew Huberman show his tattoos?
- Huberman’s tattoos are extremely personal to him. He likes keeping them that way.
- As a professor and a podcaster, Huberman prefers that his audience focus on the message instead of on him.
- In his own words, Huberman has said that his tattoos are not that interesting. His back features images of his dogs while his sleeve tattoos feature birds like the red-tailed hawk. Given that Huberman doesn’t view his ink marks as particularly interesting, he doesn’t see the point of showing them off.
What kind of tattoos does Andrew Huberman have?
- His pet dog, Costello.
- Costello’s paw.
- Another (unnamed) dog that he used to own.
- “Some other personal things” as he put it. We don’t know what those personal things are.
- Red-tailed hawks
Chest and shoulder tattoos
Huberman’s chest and shoulder tattoos are unknown. He has mentioned that he has them but hasn’t disclosed what they are.
How old was Andrew Huberman when he got his first tattoo?
Huberman got his first tattoo at an early age of merely fourteen years old. We have all been fourteen. That age is often accompanied by a debilitating disease: the overwhelming desire to fit in and be seen as cool by your friends.
Fourteen-year-old Andrew Huberman had as much immunity to that disease as the rest of us: zero. Fresh off his parents’ divorce, Huberman got into the Bay Area’s skateboarding scene. In addition to bad haircuts and questionable life choices, ink marks have always been a big part of that community.
But since responsible tattoo artists rarely ink up fourteen-year-olds, Huberman and his friends took matters into their own hands, tattooing themselves with India Ink and a needle.
47-year-old Huberman doesn’t recommend doing what 14-year-old Huberman did. Self-tattooing is very risky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Young Huberman caught horrible infections and so will you if you choose the DIY route.
Why is Andrew Huberman against throat and face tattoos?
Huberman approaches the issue from a neurological perspective. The fusiform gyrus is a region of the brain dedicated to processing faces. This is what allows us to detect faces everywhere. From dots on a piece of paper to clouds and even oddly shaped tree trunks.
Having a tattoo on your throat or face completely changes how other people perceive your actual face. Tattoos above the neckline compete with the normal processing of your face in people’s brains. This can be very disorienting to anybody looking at you.
Since you cannot control how other people will respond to your tattoos, Dr. Huberman advises that you put your ink on a part of your body that you can easily cover up whenever necessary.
While he does have full sleeves, Anfew practices what he preaches and doesn’t have any ink on his neck, face, stomach, ribs, or legs. He also doesn’t have any tattoos of dragons.
Why is Andrew Huberman in favor of covering up your tattoos?
People will make judgments about the kind of person you are within seconds of meeting you. While tattoos have become less stigmatized, many people still find them unacceptable in certain scenarios. While most people don’t mind extensive tattoos on a UFC fighter or a rapper, that opinion shifts dramatically when it comes to surgeons or preschool teachers.
That’s why Andrew Huberman advises covering up your tattoos if people in the environment you are in are inclined to take you less seriously when you’re inked up. You could try to shift other people’s biases but it’s just so much easier to avoid those biases altogether by covering up your body art.
What is Stanford’s policy on tattoos for professors?
Huberman is a tenured associate professor of neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. He researches and teaches ophthalmology and his laboratory focuses on neuroplasticity, neural regeneration, as well as different states of the brain like fear, stress, and focus. Stanford requires all university employees to cover up their tattoos when on duty or representing the school in any official capacity.
To quote the grooming code verbatim: “Sworn and uniform personnel are allowed to conceal tattoos which are seen when wearing short sleeve uniform shirt or shorts by wearing skin colored sleeves over the tattoo.”
Huberman Lab Podcast
Andrew is the host of the Huberman Lab Podcast, which has over 100 episodes covering neuroscience, biohacking, performance enhancement, longevity, sleep, psychiatry, and many other health and neurobiology-related topics. As of August 2023, his podcast is ranked #9 of all podcasts in the United States and #1 of all health and fitness podcasts in the US. He has been interviewed on the Tim Ferriss podcast and, like Tim, has Athletic Greens as a sponsor on his podcast. He releases new episodes weekly.
According to reports, Andrew is not married and never has been. Like his ink, he keeps his romantic life very personal and doesn’t speak of having a girlfriend or wife. Andrew was born in 1975 in Palo Alto, California. He is 6’1″ tall with brown hair, green eyes, and went to university at UC Santa Barbara. He grew up skateboarding in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area and has discussed his love of skating at a young age.
Final thoughts on Andrew Huberman’s tattoos
Though inked out the wazoo, Andrew Huberman’s tattoos are deeply personal and he doesn’t flaunt his body art. This is partly generational (he was born in 1975), partly professional, and partly personal. He suggests you take a similar approach. Get inked up if you want to but cover up around people who will perceive you differently because you have barbed wire ringing your biceps.
- Chris Williamson. Andrew Huberman reveals why he doesn’t show his tattoos.
- Time Magazine. How Andrew Huberman got America to care about science
- Stanford University. Grooming and appearance standards.