Tattoos, piercings, gauges, branding, tight-lacing, tooth filing the list goes on and on. As cool as some types of body modification may seem, there are a few considerations and caveats that aren’t always advertised. Parents, teens we got you covered with these tips.
Sit on it.
A tattoo parlor is a business like any other; they do what they do for profit. It’s the customer’s job to do the thinking and research beforehand. If you’re having second thoughts, it’s probably a good idea to wait. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of money on something you regret and then spend hundreds of dollars on top of that to remove or correct the problem.
“My advice seriously is to wait at least six months and research the artists. A big problem we have is ‘scratchers’ (nickname for uncertified tattoo artists) who try to do tattoos at home. A lot of people can get hepatitis from that.”- David Gibson, tattoo artist Capitol City Tattoo, Montgomery with 13 years of experience.
Do your homework.
If you decide to go through with your plans to get a tattoo or piercing, not only should you do your research on the shop to make sure it’s a reputable place, but you should also research the person who will be performing the work.
(We've done our own bit of the research. Check out our Q&A session with a professional tattoo artist here.)
Don’t cheap out.
As with anything, you get what you pay for in body modification. More often than not, if you pay $20, you’ll get $20 quality. Many body modifications are intended to last forever, so don’t get one just because it’s cheap. Invest in high quality work to minimize infections, scarring and, in the case of tattoos, faded ink.
Prepare for pain.
With any body modification, pain is inevitable, so be ready. Smoking or drinking beforehand can increase the pain of the experience (and impair your judgment when you really need it!). It’s also a good idea to eat before you go.
Get the Look, Forgo Forever
Opt for realistic-looking but fake tattoos like Temptu, which last only a few days. If you like piercings, you can buy clip-on rings and studs without risking infection.
Did you know? 14% of Americans have a body piercing other than ear lobes.
Risks and Regrets
Unsanitary body modifications can result in serious health risks, including infections like staph or dermatitis, blood-borne diseases like hepatitis or tetanus, or even keloid, which is overgrown scar tissue. In past years, fragments of metal have been found in some tattoo ink, leading to complications during MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests and has resulted in skin cancer for some (higher incidence with red ink). Find out more about the dangers associated with tattoo ink here.
Real Life Regret
Despite objections from his parents, King Brown (a teen in Montgomery) decided to go to a friend’s house last February to get his first tattoo — a decision he almost instantly regretted. The ink on the cross design he chose quickly seeped beyond the design’s borders, leaving him with a permanent ink spot and a lot of disappointment.
According to Dr. Marla Wohlman, yellow and green ink are very difficult to remove, and depending on the size and amount of detail on the tattoo, the patient will need multiple treatments 4 to 8 weeks apart before the tattoo is completely gone. The cost for a laser removal procedure can vary depending on the size and could take anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes per treatment. Dr.Wohlman charges by the minute: $360 for 15 minutes, $600 for 30 minutes, or $700 for 45 minutes.
“Most people come in (for tattoo removal) because they don’t like it. They got it when they were 17 or they want to be in law enforcement or the military and have to have it removed.”- Dr. Marla Wohlman, M.D. Montgomery, Alabama