Utah pediatricians applaud new tattoo and body piercing recommendations for teens, young adults

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Utah pediatricians are commending new guidelines on how adults should talk to young adults about tattoos and body piercings.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released the first-ever recommendations.  Pediatricians say the recommendations are long overdue considering the number of young adults who want to get a tattoo or body piercing is increasing.

“I`ve been thinking about it for a long time,” Orem resident Kaimana Clark said.

Clark is getting his first tattoo at Frost City Tattoo in Midvale.

“I`m getting some work done by the best, Fred Frost.”

He chose a Hawaiian style sleeve tattoo.  “It has a lot of cultural meaning.”

38% of millennials like Kaimana have a tattoo and 23% have a body piercing according to the Pew Research Center.

Dr. Alissa Packer, a pediatrician at Wasatch Pediatrics, South Point welcomes the guidelines which include reminding teens that tattoos are permanent.

“Cultural norms and what`s cool and what`s in right now that`s gonna change but tattoos they don`t change,” Dr. Packer said. “It`s possible to get them removed but it`s not easy and it`s not cheap and sometimes it can be a long and difficult process.”

Pediatricians should also talk to teens about getting tattoos or body piercings in a safe and sanitary way to avoid infections.

“You can also have long-term infections, things like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.  Those kind of complications are going to be a lot less frequent if you’re doing it in a licensed, sanitary tattoo salon compared to doing it at your friend's house or someone who knows how to do it but not following proper procedures,” Dr. Packer said.

Doctor Packer says the key is to have an open conversation with teens early on.

“Sometimes kids are more concerned about their parents are going to be upset with them and so they try and hide it and don’t do it with parental consent.”

The report also looked at how tattoos or piercings might be viewed in the workplace. 75-percent of people surveyed said it negatively impacted their jobs.