Tattoos and body piercings have been a popular form of self-expression throughout history, but today they're more mainstream than ever. In fact, according to a 2015 Harris Poll, nearly half of millennials (47 percent) and more than a third of Gen Xers (36 percent) said they had at least one. And 71 percent of those polled who were parents said they don't mind if their children's teachers or doctors have visible tattoos, either.
So, with tattoos — and even piercings — gaining so much more mainstream acceptance in the last 20 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) decided to announce its first-ever recommendations on tattoos, piercings and scarification for youth. The report will be published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The new guidelines are to help teenagers and young adults who want to get tattoos or body piercings to be aware of any potential health issues involved. In most states, the legal age to get a tattoo or piercing is 18, and there are no federal government standards, so the state laws and regulations vary.
"Tattooing is much more accepted than it was 15 to 20 years ago," lead author Cora C. Breuner, said in a statement. "In many states, teens have to be at least 18 to get a tattoo, but the regulations vary from place to place. When counseling teens, I tell them to do some research, and to think hard about why they want a tattoo, and where on their body they want it."
The AAP doesn't discourage youths from body modifications. Rather, it lays out guidelines pediatricians should give teens before they make a decision they may later regret. Below are some of the suggestions: