Tattoos and piercings have gone from the fringe to the forefront in one generation.
If your teenager is begging for one, you’re not alone. A 2010 Pew survey found that 40 percent of teenagers and twenty-somethings have tattoos. Of those with tattoos, almost 50 percent have two to five. In addition, nearly 25 percent of teenagers have a piercing somewhere other than an earlobe.
While almost all states prohibit the tattooing and piercing of minors, most will make an exception if a parent accompanies the minor. And many teens hope to take advantage of that fact.
Teens, Piercings, And Tattoo Warnings
If your teenager seems interested in getting one, then it’s time for a talk. It’s important to help teenagers appreciate the permanence of tattoos and piercings. Discuss potential stereotyping of body modifications and make sure your teenager is not feeling peer pressure.
Teens frequently have trouble envisioning the long term. As for tattoos, teenagers’ bodies and their skin aren’t necessarily done growing by age 18. That perfect tattoo at 18 could be stretched out, faded and lopsided by age 24. Removing a tattoo is expensive and painful. Closing ear gauges usually requires plastic surgery. Some piercings never close up, and some scars never go away. Cartilage is particularly tricky.
Most of all, help teenagers understand the health risks of piercings and tattoos. If the needle and equipment aren’t sterilized, your teenager can pick up staph infections, hepatitis B or C, tetanus or even HIV/AIDS. Best advice? If your teenager is going to get a tattoo, piercing or gauge, be sure to choose a licensed, well-reputed salon.
And, don’t forget to help teenagers follow the after-care instructions carefully.