As something that has long been a taboo in Western cultures, the art of tattooing has found a decidedly permanent place in American society today. Along with body piercings and other modifications you’re likely to find at tattoo parlors, the debate has long centered around the age people are allowed to obtain these services. Now, new doctor recommendations for tattoos and more have been issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Social stigma aside, this research is shedding light on some of the parental concerns and health risks associated with these practices.
New Doctor Recommendations for Tattoos | An Overview
Generally speaking, tattoos, piercings, scarification, and other types of implants are referred to as body modifications. The previous reports available on those who obtain these modifications had focused mainly on high-risk populations, namely adolescents and young adults. Although, with 38% of millennials sporting tattoos and 23% having piercings in locations other than the earlobe, these populations are no longer a high-risk population phenomenon.
Yet, tattoos and other body modifications do still carry specific medical complications that people of all ages need to be aware of.
It’s no secret that body modifications have been around for thousands of years, largely used as a form of art or to identify members of religious groups and tribes. Still today, tattoos are used in a similar way, although the specific risks associated with them change with our understanding of modern medicine.
Although the exact rate of complications from having tattoos placed is unknown, a number of tattoos people receive compared to few client reports suggests the rate is low. Of the reports known, these complications can present as local clusters of infection, inflammation, neoplasms, and rare reports of vasculitis. From a pathological standpoint, these reactions included lichenoid, eczematoid, sarcoidal, and pseudo lymphomatous reactions, as well as foreign-body granulomas.
These conditions can come as a result of contaminated tattoo ink or needles, inadequate disinfection of the skin, and other complications with the healing process. In the known cases, these infections occur anytime from 4-22 days after the tattoo is placed. Unfortunately, there are many case reports of patients who have acquired nontuberculous mycobacteria infections after receiving tattoos.
Of course, this is all to say that the risk of experiencing one of these serious medical complications is lessened when people receive tattoos in licensed parlors. With these new doctor recommendations for tattoos, parents and others can better navigate the state laws surrounding these practices for the safest outcomes.
How Pediatricians Can Discuss Body Modifications
Mostly, the conversation centers around finding a proper tattooing and body modification business and fully reviewing the risks associated with a particular service before agreeing to the said service from an establishment. However, since pediatric physician jobs do focus on the overall well-being of adolescents and children, the AAP’s report does discuss the difficulties individuals may face when applying for jobs should they have visible tattoos or body modifications.
Of the millennial population with tattoos, the report details that 72% of those are able to be concealed with normal work clothing. The other 28% are usually found on the wrists, hands, neck and the face. Even in the tattoo industry, these are known as ‘job stoppers,’ meaning you’re in for some challenging corporate interviews if the opportunities arise. Essentially, finding a reasonable place for your tattoo, in addition to selecting a reputable parlor are the main things to stress in terms of undergoing this process. While that may be common knowledge, having the information to back up these long-discussed concerns is a step in the right direction for the medical community.
These new doctor recommendations for tattoos and other body piercings do outline the potential risks while putting many minds at ease knowing that exact risks and prevalence of these practices today.
What are your thoughts on tattoos and body piercings? Let us know in the comments below!