Young adults should not use tattoos for self expression

August 4, 2009
By Lizzie Azran BRONZE, Encino, California
Lizzie Azran BRONZE, Encino, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

After waiting 18 years to become legal, teens finally have the freedom to make decisions, regardless of their parents’ approval. Many of these young-adults get tattoos, which have become one of America’s fastest growing businesses. However, this decision is threatening to one’s job, image, and life.

Tattoos should not be legal for anyone under the age of 21. Many young-adults have not completely considered the permanence of a tattoo and how it can affect their lives.

“I hate impulsive tattoos, they're generally pretty tacky. I waited more than 10 years to decide on the tattoo I wanted to get. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that tell me about a tattoo they got one night, and wish they had held off and gotten something else,” Simone G. said on

Out of the 45 million Americans who have tattoos, 36 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology said.

“I don’t want to make a quick decision for a tattoo and it’s going to take a lot of consideration,” said 18-year-old Tyler Z. “You have to make sure you know what you want or you’re not going to be happy. I want [a tattoo] having to do with my heritage that represents me.”

34 percent of people with tattoos feel sexier with their tattoo and 29 percent of adults who have tattoos feel more rebellious, a Harris Interactive survey said. One should not rely on an appearance to feel more confident if they are not content with whom they are. There are professionals who can help those who use tattoos put on a façade and alter their mindsets.

Aside from the fact that tattoos can cost as much as a new computer or television, some jobs do not hire people who have tattoos, regardless of their skill in a certain field. Some employers fear that a representative of their company who has a tattoo can mislead customers or co-workers.

“I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was little,” 18-year-old Brittney M said. “But I made sure I got [my tattoos] in places where they are not openly visible where everybody can see, because tattoos definitely limit you with a lot of jobs. I work at Nordstrom and you are allowed to have tattoos if you work there, but they just can’t be huge and all over your body.”

If a tattoo parlor either reuses their needles or does not properly sterilize them, HIV and Hepatitis can be contracted due to the blood transfers through the needles. This is a risk that many are willing to take in order to express one’s self through tattoos.

“Even if needles are sterilized, it is still possible that HIV can be transferred,” said Omar E, shop apprentice for Nathan’s Tattoo and Body Piercing.

Although having a butterfly permanently tattooed to one’s back may seem like a good idea at the time, young adults must consider the disadvantages and how their decisions will permanently affect their lives.

Similar Articles


This article has 19 comments.

TaintBabe26 said...
on Mar. 27 2015 at 2:08 pm
I actually hate to reply with anything but because my school work requires a topic and i picked this i feel like i have a right.. for those referring to older people with tattoos... Youre welcome :)

sneakyowls09 said...
on Oct. 27 2014 at 3:47 pm
If the tattoo makes the person feel better about themself, what is the point in ridiculing them? I have 7 tattoos myself and I also have my septum pierced, I know first hand that I did not get any of my tattoos or piercings to please other people because pleasing other people isn't my job. It is the job of the individual to make themself happy, not mine. I love my tattoos. I myself am 19 years old and have already accumulated my 7 tattoos and yes some have been on impulse, but I love each and every one of them and no one could convince me out of that feeling. 

abcxyz said...
on Apr. 11 2014 at 6:57 am
I am glad tattoos are legal. It tells me who the idiots are. 

JCutter said...
on Oct. 23 2013 at 9:25 pm
I think you're missing that these are legal adults you're talking about.

cj968655 said...
on Jan. 6 2013 at 1:39 am
most 80 year old men are not on the beach shirtless. and not having a tattoo won't make an older people suddenly more attractive

on May. 8 2012 at 7:52 am
CyberLydii GOLD, Dearborn Heights, Michigan
11 articles 0 photos 24 comments

You're acting like the 18 year oldsx are the ones getting stupid tattoos. In reality, most stupid tattoos are gotten while intoxicated. Just saying.


on Jan. 19 2012 at 7:37 am
screename4 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 5 comments
Getting a tatto is their choice. If they want to express themselves that way, ok. They just need to remember tht it's gonna look really weird when they're on the beach, shirtless, and 80 years old, all saggy and wrinkly.

on Apr. 8 2011 at 6:30 pm
WaterWatcher SILVER, Houston, Texas
9 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Good things don't just happen to those that wait but to those that do.

A tattoo is a way to express yourself not to just be random and for no reason. So if getting a tattoo is some sick thing to you don't get one. Thanks from over half the human population! ^-^ And I'm 14 going on 15 and I will get a tattoo as soon as I turn 18 and it will be of an orchid for my late-grandmother because an orchid can withdure the most extream things even if it the flower dies its roots keep it from really dying, just like my grandmother. I remember the first thing my grandmother planted when she came to america, it was an orchid. So I'm all about spure of the moment tattoos being rediculous and tacky but if the tattoo has a story and is important to that person then let's rock the tattoo box. \m/(^.^)\m/

on Dec. 19 2010 at 2:15 pm
spiritualrevelationrevealspainandrevolution PLATINUM, Eugene, Oregon
23 articles 0 photos 212 comments
thats really compassionate of you to get something that personifies your moms bravery, hope she overcomes what shes going through =)

on Dec. 19 2010 at 2:12 pm
spiritualrevelationrevealspainandrevolution PLATINUM, Eugene, Oregon
23 articles 0 photos 212 comments
same here, except the author did a good job of pointin out the dangers of getting infected from a poorly run tattoo shop. Its cool cuz oregon has the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to tattooing so if you get one here from a liscensed shop youll be good

toxicity_xx said...
on Nov. 27 2010 at 1:21 pm
toxicity_xx, Manchester, Other
0 articles 2 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Seize the day, or die regretting the time you lost - Avenged Sevenfold.

Generally I strongly disagree with this! Though I do accept tattoo's on impulse are rarely a good idea?

If people want to get tattoos at that age then let them, it's their own fault if they decide later in life if they don't like it!

Concerning the 'you won't get a job' aspect, that is a complete and utter joke! To be honest, if someone decided not to employ me because I had a tattoo, I would rather not have the job than work for someone so stereotypical and ignorant! 

I think if people put thought into what they want and ensure that the person doing it is registered to do so and uses a sterilized needle, then I don't see the problem with getting a tattoo at 18 :)

on Oct. 14 2010 at 5:22 pm
ZombieDanceWithMe SILVER, Rockford, Illinois
7 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live”

-Victor Hugo

Disagree. When I am 18 I am getting 2 tattoos.

I've told people this and, even though they usually disagree, they understand that it's not something to do to be rebellious and that they mean something. 

I am getting a Scleroderma Foundation tattoo (a disease that my mother has) to remind me that, even though it might seem hard right now, I can get through it, Because my mom gets through so much everyday. Chronic illness, joblessness, single mother. Dude. I think you can let that one slide.

shawty said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 3:20 pm
again thats ur opion....

LA1234 said...
on Nov. 3 2009 at 7:35 pm
Exactly- you can find other ways to express yourself without permanently marking your body.

shawty20 said...
on Nov. 3 2009 at 3:50 pm
shawty20, Winsboro, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
and thats ur opiion... i think they do wen u mark up ur whole arm ,face,leg etc... but tattoos are the way u feel just like poetry and writing...

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Oct. 30 2009 at 6:49 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

tattoos look nasty when you're old. VERY NASTY.

shawty20 said...
on Sep. 6 2009 at 11:43 am
well i agree and then i disagree.. i agree tattoos do look nice them way you put the.. they also express the way you feel.and you attitude/personality...just as the clothes you wear express who you are.. i disagree because the bible says dont mark your body.... and to follow that when people mark their arm,neck,leg,face. that does look bad.. tattoos are just expressing who you are.. and you attitude

on Aug. 21 2009 at 8:13 am
BellaLuna1 BRONZE, Ozone Park, New York
2 articles 0 photos 93 comments
I agree to disagree while impulsive tattoos may become a regrtt in your life if you do not get anyhing extream like sleeves or your whole neck it isn't job threatening really I am 14 and when I turn 18 me and my mom are getting a wrist tattoo or so she says yes it's very dangerous but his is a tattoo I have wanted forever and looked up and am waiting several years until j turn 18 to get so it's impulsive if u tattoo Anne loves Mario on ur butt or anywhere else for that matter but not takey

on Aug. 15 2009 at 5:38 am
secretly_fallen, Mogadore, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
See, in some ways I agree with you, other ways, I do not agree with. Such as impulsive tattoos, which are tacky and dumb. Although tattoos can mean more than just "Oh, i'm eighteen, time to get a tattoo". Tattoos can be a represenative of a persons way of life, culture/heritage, hobbies, or in other cases, can serve as a memorial for a lost loved one. Looking at this issue from only one angle makes it seem like you are singling out teens who have tattoos, or want one soon. If a person wants a tattoo that is up to them. They sign the waiver, KNOWING the risks. THEY tell the tattoo artist what THEY want. So all in all, its up to THEM. Who REALLY wants "Big Brother" controlling our every move. Not I, nither do about four point five billion people on this planet.

Parkland Book