'Body modifications' like tattoos, piercing other than in the ears, and scarification have become a mainstream trend, but adolescents do not always think about the long term ramifications. Skin is not done growing until adulthood, so tattoos can stretch, fade or even become lopsided over time. They are hard to modify and even harder to remove.
A report in 2010 found that 38 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds had at least one tattoo, and we suspect that the numbers have grown since then. Three in 10 adults have at least one tattoo today, which is up 20 percent since 2012. In a 2014 survey of nearly 2700 people, 76 percent thought that tattoos/piercings had hurt their chances of getting a job, and 39 percent thought employees with tattoos/piercings reflect poorly on their employers.
Parents and adolescents increasingly find themselves faced with the topic of these modifications and turning to a medical provider to present the relevant medical information. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently posted a clinical report to help providers understand more about this growing trend. As a parent or guardian, here is what you can do to address body modifications with your child:
Tattooing is more acceptable in society than ever before. A recent study found that, despite their permanence, 86 percent of people who have a tattoo do not regret getting it done. If a teen does choose to pursue a modification, here is what you should ensure they remember:
Make an effort to caution and guide your teen and always take the extra care to make sure the process – should they choose to pursue it – is safe. This may present another opportunity for parents and guardians to touch on the important issues that surround all of the permanent decisions teens are considering.
For more information, visit KidsHealth on safe tattooing.