It’s not a question that many teens ask themselves before
they get a tattoo. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some advice for teens who are considering getting tattoos—and for their parents.
Many teens get tattoos impulsively as a harmless
lark, with little consideration to the fact that they may regret the decision
Do not get tattooed with the names of
boyfriends, girlfriends, bands, movie stars, etc. When you break up or lose
interest in a particular band or star, that tattoo is still going to be there.
(That’s right: nothing is without risk)
reactions to the dyes (especially red, green, yellow, and blue) can cause
itching, redness, and swelling that may
last for years.
bumps/scars. Raised scar tissue can form around the area of the tattoo. If
you are someone whose old cuts or scrapes heal into thick, raised scars,
chances are this is how your body heals—and how tattoos will behave on your
such as tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS. If the tattoo
artist uses a contaminated needle, he or she can give you an illness. This risk
is compounded by the fact that teens are much more likely to go to an “economy”
tattoo parlor, where the sanitation and sterilization practices are substandard.
infection at the tattoo site. Teens are also more likely to try to tattoo
themselves by using supplies from home that are not sterile. With the rise of today’s
frighteningly aggressive bacteria and antibiotic resistance, such infections
can result in hospitalization.
change. Such transformations as wrinkles and the stretching of one’s skin can
change the appearance of that piece of artwork, and usually not for the better.
removal can be done by laser, but... it hurts, takes multiple treatments,
and costs thousands of dollars—dollars that no insurance company is going to
Talk with your teen. Repeatedly. It
shows that you care, even if you feel like you’re talking to a wall. They just
might hear you. They might even thank you one day.