Why i say no to tattooing minors: unveling the surprising risks and responsibilities


In my years as a tattoo artist, I’ve had numerous opportunities to ink a diverse array of clients. Through these experiences, I’ve come to a firm policy: I do not tattoo minors. Moreover, I believe the age for getting a tattoo should be raised or waited until 21. Here’s why:

Maturity and Decision-Making

The primary reason for my stance is the development of maturity and decision-making skills. The frontal lobe of the human brain, which is responsible for judgment and planning, is not fully developed until around age 25. At 18, many individuals are just beginning to navigate the complexities of adult life. By the age of 21, most people have gained additional life experience and education, which can lead to more informed and considered decisions. When it comes to permanent body art, such maturity is crucial.

The late teen years are a tumultuous time of emotional and social development. Decisions made during this period are often influenced by current trends or peer pressure. Waiting until 21 gives individuals time to develop a stronger sense of self and personal style, which are less likely to be swayed by external factors. This can reduce the chances of regretting a tattoo chosen in the spur of the moment or as a means of conforming. A significant issue I’ve noticed in my practice is that many individuals who get tattoos at the age of 18 often end up seeking cover-ups later in life. At this young age, the choice of tattoo design can frequently be impulsive, driven by trends or the desire for immediate self-expression without a long-term perspective. As their tastes and lifestyles change, the appeal of these early tattoos can diminish, leading to regret. Cover-up tattoos, which are designed to mask the original artwork, require more resources, creativity, and time, and consequently, they can be more expensive. Unfortunately, many young adults who were quick to get tattooed at 18 may not have the financial means to afford a high-quality tattoo to begin with or a coverup. This financial barrier adds to the regret and can extend the dissatisfaction with their early choices, underscoring the wisdom of waiting until one is older and more financially stable to make such permanent decisions.

At 21, individuals are considered legally responsible in more aspects than at 18. They can drink alcohol, gamble in most states, and have reached the age of majority in all aspects. Aligning the legal age for tattoos with these other age-related responsibilities makes logical and ethical sense. It helps ensure that individuals making the decision to get a tattoo are doing so with a full understanding of legal and personal responsibility. Professional Responsibility

As a tattoo artist, I feel a strong professional responsibility to ensure that my clients are completely certain about their decisions. Tattoos are not only a form of body art but also a medical procedure that carries potential risks and permanent results. Ensuring that clients are at an age where they can fully understand and accept these consequences is part of maintaining professional integrity and ethics in my work.

While I respect the right of individuals to express themselves through body art, I also advocate for a framework that supports making these choices in the wisest, most informed manner possible. Maybe that means waiting until you’re a little bit older and have a little bit more cash for a permanent decision. This policy and perspective are rooted in a desire to see clients happy with their tattoos in the long term, respecting both the art form and the canvas that is their bodies. It’s a stance I believe passionately in and will continue to uphold in my practice.