Worlds most tattooed man shows how he looked before 200% of body was inked

The most tattooed man on Earth has revealed what he actually looked like before he started covering '200%' of his body with ink.

New Zealand's Lucky Diamond Rich set out on his long and painful path of extreme body modification when he joined a travelling circus at the tender age of 16.

And now, decades later, the 51-year-old's officially the most inked person in history, according to the Guinness World Record.

He sports "the biggest tattoo on the planet" which covers him from head to foot, including his gums and penis.

In fact, having run out of body space way back, some of his designs have been tattooed over several times, meaning that the ink is "three of four layers deep in some places".

It has led to claims he has more than "200%" of his body inked.

But, like all journeys, he also had to start somewhere and that moment has been documented by a rare photograph of him looking fresh-faced and unmarked.

The tattoo fanatic looks completely unrecognisable from what he does now, with his natural skin fully visible.

"The first one (tattoo) was when I was 16 and travelling with the circus – a small juggling club on my hip," said Rich, who has Australian Aboriginal heritage and whose real name is Gregory Paul McLaren.

"I got it on my hip 'cos I didn't want my mum to see it. And I just went one tattoo at a time from there."

Sharing the early image with fans, he explained that he's since been tattooed by artists all over the world, adding that he just offers up a section of his body and tells them to "go for it".

With his last sitting having been six years ago, Rich now finds his "buzz" tattooing others and described being a Guinness World Records holder as "an honour and a privilege" he'd dreamt about ever since he was a young lad.

Earlier this month he also admitted that people tend to react differently upon meeting him.

"Everyone's different with how they react. It's like the weather, you can't predict it, you can't control it – you just deal with it as it comes," he said.

"I'm no different to anyone else, I'm just heavily tattooed."

In addition, Rich admitted to not regretting a single tatt and added that getting inked was cheaper than therapy and had helped a lot with his self-esteem.

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