Teens looking to get a tattoo? What pediatricians want you to know


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If a teenager wants a tattoo, a national pediatrician group wants teens to understand potential health and safety issues that come with that new body art.

As tattoos become more popular among young people, the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time issued guidelines on talking about tattoo and body piercing health and safety recommendations with their teenage patients and families.

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Every state has different rules when it comes to minors getting tattoos, and 38 states have laws against piercing and tattoos without parental permission.

In Ohio, anyone under the age of 18 who wants a tattoo or body piercing needs the consent of a parent or guardian.

Under the guidelines, doctors should tell teen patients looking to get tattoos and their parents to check at tattoo shops that they use hygienic practices. The guidelines also advise pediatricians to counsel patients on the potential effects tattoos can have on employment.

These are some of the newly issued advice for pediatricians concerning:

  • Remind teens and their families that tattoos are permanent and removal is difficult, expensive and only partially effective.
  • Assess the sanitary and hygiene practices of the tattoo parlors and tattoo artists.
  • Seek medical care if there are signs and symptoms of infection. Lesions that appear to grow or change within a tattoo require evaluation for neoplasms.

Some of the guidelines for pediatricians talking about body piercing includes:

  • Rinsing with nonprescription oral cleansers or topical application of cleansers can help prevent infection after oral piercing.
  • At piercing establishments, the piercer should be observed putting on new disposable gloves and removing new equipment from a sterile container.
  • Teens contemplating tongue piercing should know of the high incidence of tooth chipping that can occur.


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