BY JESSICA WEAVER
When searching for students with tattoos, I came across a junior who made the decision to have a dolphin permanently drawn on her foot to represent her love for animals as well as the water. Although so young, she claims she doesn’t and will never have any regrets.
Her story isn’t uncommon. Approximately 36 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have tattoos, according to a study by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. At such a young age, a tattoo might seem like a good idea. What they don’t realize is that getting a tattoo poses health risks and could become a future-altering mistake.
Although tattoos might seem like a great way to express yourself, the risk of allergic reactions, irritated wounds and even infectious diseases that can come with them are not worth it. Some people might be allergic to certain types of ink, which could cause itchy rashes. After the tattooing process, the skin is open to bacteria that can result in infections that cause redness, swelling, pain or a pus-like discharge. Also, if the equipment used during the tattoo is not properly sterilized, people can become an open target to deadly diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis C, syphilis, tuberculosis or other blood-born diseases. According to Dr. Bob Haley from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, people are more likely to be infected with hepatitis C from getting a tattoo than by doing drugs. These deadly risks pose a great danger to those who don’t research before getting a tattoo.
If the risk of deadly diseases that can come from tattoos doesn’t make teens stop and think about their decisions, then the idea that this piece of art will be forever imbedded into their skin will. When you are young, you are quick to make decisions without looking into the future. Getting a tattoo of a bright blue butterfly to represent your freedom might make sense when your 18, but when your 74 the once enthusiastic statement might seem like a huge mistake. At that age, the butterfly that once sat on your right shoulder blade will be sunken deep into your saggy skin.
There are many factors of getting a tattoo that could cause regret. According to a poll from the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of the general U.S Population has at least one tattoo. 17 percent of them regret getting a tattoo and have thought about getting them removed. Also 5 percent cover up their tattoos with make up. Tattoos are a lifelong decision and to make it at such a young age is ridiculous. You’re thoughts will change, as will your body. You don’t know who you will be or what you will look like in five or ten years.
If you don’t believe you will regret getting a tattoo as a teen, you might when you think about how it can change your future success. When you’re young, every decision you make either can hurt or help your future career. Having a huge tattoo of a skull or controversial words visible during an interview can cost someone the job of their dreams. Imagine if your nurse had a tattoo of a snake on their arm. Would you be able to take them seriously? Many people believe they should be judged on their personality not their looks. But according to ABC News’ article about tattoos, 85 percent of employers say having a tattoo will hurt an applicant’s chances of getting a job. This high percentage is just one more reason for teens and young adults to rethink getting a tattoo.
A tattoo machine can puncture the skin 3,000 times a minute. Each hole about 1/16th of an inch literally invites infectious diseases into the blood and creates an everlasting mark on your skin that, if large enough, you will never be able to remove. This is just one more reason tattoos should be a decision made after years of contemplation. At a young age, it’s difficult to tell if you’ll have the same thought process or interests when you’re older, and placing something permanent on your body could be one of the biggest mistakes of your life.