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Think Before You Tattoo

August 10, 2021

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Do you have a tattoo? Do any of your friends have tattoos? Not many years ago, adults were the only ones who got tattoos, while you and other teens would likely have been wearing temporary tattoos that you licked and stuck to your arm and ran to show your parents.

Now, teen tattoos are becoming more common and normalized, although there are state restrictions for minors. In most states, the legal age limit to get a tattoo without parental consent is 18 years of age.

So should you consider getting one? Before you do, here are some things about tattoos you may not know.

Tattoo History
Tattoos have been used for many different purposes dating back many thousands of years. The earliest evidence of tattoos was found on a mummy nicknamed Otzi that is 5,300 years old. He had over 50 lines and crosses tattooed onto his body. Evidence shows that the Greeks used tattoos to communicate among spies, the Romans marked criminals and slaves with tattoos, and other cultures used them for ceremonies or religious markings.

The word tattoo is derived from the Tahitian word “tatau,” meaning to mark or strike. The traditional way to do a tattoo was to use an instrument to tap ink into the skin. Years ago this was done using sharp sticks or bones. The oldest human tattoos are believed to have been made using soot or fireplace ash. Other types of tattoos were done by using a needle to pull carbon-embedded thread under the skin to create designs or lines, or designs might be cut into the skin and rubbed with ink or ashes.

These days, the modern method of creating tattoos is by using a tattoo pen with pulsating needles to inject ink into the skin layers.

Expression
These days, teens like FCHS sophomore Brayleigh Campbell are getting tattoos for personal reasons like self-expression or artistic freedom. “I have a Pluto symbol tattoo, and I want my grandma’s handwriting saying ‘I Love You’,” Campbell said. “I also want a semicolon showing that my fight with my mental health isn’t over,” she added.

Others are getting inked to show how much they care about their religion. Tattoos of a religious symbol are meaningful to a lot of people, so some people who get these types of tattoos use it as a profession of their faith. “I want a tattoo of a cross because religion is something I hold really close to my heart,” said sophomore Aubrie Seay.

If you think that getting a tattoo sounds painful, you are not alone. Some students, like sophomore Sierra Krett, do want a tattoo, but say something is holding them back. “If I get one, I would want it to be meaningful and it would be on my breastbone. I’m not sure, because it would hurt and I don’t do needles,” said Krett. Others just don’t see a need for tattoos. “I don’t have a tattoo and I don’t want a tattoo,” said junior Matthew Cantagalo.

Cost
The price of tattoos is not the only cost. Tattoo prices range from $50-$250 for a small tattoo and $150-$450 for a medium tattoo. Some popular tattoo artists command over $1000 or higher depending on the art.

Another cost to consider is how having a tattoo may affect your future employment. Some employers may see tattoos and make snap judgments about the person and not hire them. Because of this, some people getting tattoos choose places that aren’t visible or where they are easily covered. Others who find that a prominent tattoo is keeping them from getting a job, or who later regret a tattoo design they chose, may pay for a tattoo to be removed. However, this process is very expensive, painful, and can take years.

Another cost to consider is the pain from getting the tattoo and the after care. When getting a tattoo, your skin is pricked rapidly and it basically creates a wound in your skin. According to this website, after getting a tattoo you should cover it for at least four hours, with some coverings left on up to 24 hours. The next 2-15 days consist of washing, drying, moisturizing, and watching for infection until the tattoo scabs over and peels.

Getting a tattoo is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong, although some people do judge people who have tattoos and it can limit your ability to get hired. So before you get one, remember this: The pain is temporary but the tattoo is forever.

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