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Print, Share, or View Spanish version of this article. Teens get tattoos or body parts pierced for different reasons. Most teens get a tattoo or body piercing because they like the way it looks or to express themselves. Some get a tattoo or piercing to feel like part of a group.
In some states and cities, you need to be 18 or have a parent's permission to get a piercing or tattoo. Before you decide, you should know about the possible health risks. And if you do decide to get a tattoo or body piercing, it's important that it's done safely. Ink is injected into the skin with a tattoo machine. Attached to the machine is a bar with needles that move up and down inside a tube, vibrating 50 to 3, times a minute.
Because the skin is punctured, there's usually a lot of bleeding and the machine must be stopped often to wipe away the blood. It can take from 15 minutes to several sessions to get a tattoo depending on the size and detail of the tattoo. Most people say it hurts to get a tattoo. A hole is made in the skin with a hollow needle.
The body jewelry is then inserted into the hole. The jewelry should be made of surgical stainless steel, solid or karat gold, niobium, or titanium.
It shouldn't contain nickel because it's known to cause allergic reactions. Also, jewelry should be the right fit for the body part pierced. For example, a tongue barbell should be long enough because the tongue will swell. Piercing guns shouldn't be used because they can't be properly sterilized. You'll want a professional tattoo or body-piercing artist to do the work. And you'll want an artist who does good work and does it safely, so shop around and ask for references.
Never tattoo or pierce yourself or a friend. If you're younger than 18, beware of a tattoo or piercing parlor that is willing to bend the rules about age. Safety rules should always be followed, including the following:. The work area should be clean and have good lighting. They should be sterilized needles and disposable. You should be able to watch the artist open the package in front of you. Extra ink should never be poured back into the bottle and reused. You need to take special care of your new tattoo in order for the dye and de to stay in place.
Here are ways to care for your tattoo.
All the blood and soap should be rinsed off. Try not to touch the jewelry too often to prevent infection. There may be some redness or discharge for a few days. Use an antibacterial soap, especially for areas exposed to sweat.
Don't use alcohol or peroxide because they will dry out your skin. Also, using iodine solution can discolor gold jewelry. Avoid hot tubs until the piercing heals. Check the jewelry 2 times a day to make sure the ends are tight so it doesn't fall out in your mouth. The following are risks of tattooing and body piercing:.
Also, if you are unhappy with your tattoo once you have gotten it or later regret getting a tattoo, it can be a painful process and cost thousands of dollars to remove it. If you have any of the following symptoms, let your pediatrician know:. The persons whose photographs are depicted in this publication are professional models.
They have no relation to the issues discussed. Any characters they are portraying are fictional. Are you thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing? How it's done Tattoos. Body piercing. Getting it done safely You'll want a professional tattoo or body-piercing artist to do the work. Caring for your tattoo You need to take special care of your new tattoo in order for the dye and de to stay in place. Body part How long it may take to heal Ear cartilage 2 months—1 year Earlobe 4—6 weeks Eyebrow 6—8 weeks Genital 2—6 months Lip and cheek 2—6 months Navel 6 months—1 year Nipple 2—6 months Nostril 2—4 months Tongue 4—6 weeks.
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