Tattoos Are Popular With Teens But Be Aware Of Serious Infection Risk

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Self-expression is one of the most common things in the world. Some people like to write about their feelings or express themselves through song or dance for example. While some people like to take a more alternative approach and express themselves through body image.

Piercings, tattoos, and quirky haircuts are all a part of self-expression for some people. Despite most countries having their own laws on the minimum age for body art, piercings and tattoos are becoming more and more popular with young children and teenagers.

‘Body modification’ as the term is more commonly known, is not a new phrase. Body piercing has been practised, throughout the world since ancient times. In fact, the oldest mummified remains discovered were wearing earrings, which would date the practice back more than 5000 years.

The laws vary from country to country but most tattoo artists require the person to be over the age of eighteen in order to get tattooed, however, piercings are a lot more common.

Take Portland Oregon for example, where piercings are more common than ever especially among the young while it is illegal for minors to get a tattoo.

Ben Hoffman of the Oregon Health & Science University said “It really comes down to parents doing their homework and being comfortable,” in relation to kids getting piercings.

Dr. Ben Hoffman

Matthew Holmes, a renowned piercing and tattoo artist in Northeast Portland has performed thousands of body piercings at the Black Hole Piercing and Tattoo store. He believes it is the hundreds of hours of training he has as a licensed body piercing practitioner is what sets him apart from say, an ear piercer at a mall or another store.

Holmes says “that skill difference is going to be noticeable” between different practitioners. Some people would think it’s just an ear piercing but Holmes maintains “there’s no difference between a tongue or an eyebrow or an ear; you’re still perforating skin, you’re still dealing with infection.”

This brings us onto the issue of sanitation, very important when talking about possible infections due to body modification. “You actually sterilize a needle. You can’t sterilize a piercing gun,” says Holmes in regards to the sanitation of various piercing apparatus.

Due to its ever-growing popularity, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued its first recommendations on tattoos, piercings and body modifications. The report deals with issues such as methods used and potential complications arising from body modification and offers advice to people considering such modifications.

Not only is there a certain aspect of risk associated with it like infections or the body rejecting piercings or tattoos, but there may also be implications for employment opportunities down the road. These are all important factors that younger people and parents alike should be aware of when considering body modification.

With each passing year, society is changing and the way people perceive tattoos and piercings has changed too. It is more socially acceptable in today’s world; however, the report suggests that there may still be repercussions when looking for employment or even educational opportunities.

A 2014 survey of almost 2700 people found that 76% of those thought that tattoos/piercings had hurt their chances of getting a job. According to 37% of human resource managers, tattoos are the third physical feature most likely to limit career possibilities, with piercings other than ear piercing coming out in the top two.

As a result, it would be well advised for anyone considering body modification to think through all the potential risks to not only one’s body but to possible life opportunities in the future.



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