Teens with Tattoos

Casey Hurlburt, a senior, has multiple tattoos on her body, including this one on her ribs.

By Alexis Cunningham

To older generations, tattoos might be considered rebellious and repulsive. Our parents and grandparents might not understand why teens mark their bodies up with ink, but there are a number of reasons. Teenagers use body art to give an everyday reminder to hard times, to honor loved ones and to express their identities. Tattoos are more accepted in modern times and many believe that ink is art.

The consequences that our guardians consider when we ask for parental consent can vary. One consequence is that a tattoo can be painful and irritate the skin on certain areas of the body, and if for some reason the tattoo needs to be removed, laser removal can be very painful. However, for most adults, their main concern is that some employers will not hire a person with visible tattoos. And what happens if the tattoo is later regretted?

According to Kidshealth.org, safety is the main concern on doctors’ minds when tattoos are mentioned. Kidshealth.org encourages teens to contact their doctors before they get tattoos. Educating oneself about the risks of tattooing is vital.

The most common health hazard faced when getting a tattoo is infection. Infections can include redness, tenderness, color change in skin and pus on or around the tattoo. Hepatitis is also a risk. To prevent diseases from being transferred by needles, be sure to get the hepatitis and tetanus shots prior to getting a tattoo.

Risks vary from person to person, but if there are other health or skin disorders be sure to ask a doctor first. Kidshealth.org also encourages teens to do their homework on the qualifications and cleanliness when it comes to a particular parlor. With more than 21,000 parlors in the United States alone, there are plenty to choose from.

Many people get their tattoos on places that can easily be covered, such as their backs, arms and feet. Being able to cover your tattoo is vital. This can determine whether or not you’ll get hired for a certain position. According to Barrie Gross of AllBusiness.com, most employers will hire someone with a tattoo as long as it is not visible in the workplace. This is to maintaining a professional environment for customers or clients. Only 11 percent of people with tattoos get their tattoo removed, so covering it up is less painful and less expensive.

SophomoreAshlee Oswald has her last name tattooed on her foot.

According to Statisticbrain.com, 14 percent of all Americans have at least one tattoo. This is equivalent to 45 million people. Only 17 percent of the 45 million with tattoos regret getting inked. This might be the the result of the 43 percent of people already tattooed who think that a tattoo must have a personal meaning.

A minor under the age of 18 can not get a tattoo without a guardian’s consent in the state of Pennsylvania.

Emily Adams, a senior, stated that her parents approved of her tattoos.

“The one tattoo (birds and a dandelion on her back) is art,” said Adams. “The other is more meaningful, which is why it’s in a noticeable place (on her wrist).”

Adams states that she will not regret her tattoos later on in life because she put them on places that she can cover up.

Ashlee Oswald, a sophomore, went to Tattooing By Mee to get hers done. Her tattoo is of her last name on her foot.

“My dad wasn’t very supportive of it, but said it was okay because it was my last name,” Oswald said. “My tattoo is meaningful because it is my last name and family is very important to me. I will not regret it later in life because my family will never change and when I get married I am not changing my last name.”

Deion Valentin, a senior, said that his mom approved of his tattoo and took him to a local tattoo shop where she had her own done.

“I’m a Christian so I decided to get something with religion,” said Valentin. He added that he does not believe he will regret his tattoo as he ages.

Casey Hurlburt, a senior, said, “I did go to a friend, now I go to the shop Tattooing By Mee, they are great. Did my parents approve? Not at all, but now that I’m 18 it doesn’t matter.”

“They mean something to me,” said Hurlburt, “I want to do tattoos eventually, so I have a lot of thought in them so I know I won’t regret them.”