While tattoos and body piercings are an increasingly popular form of self-expression, it is important for young people to carefully weigh the consequences and potential risks associated with such body modifications suggests a clinical report by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP).
"In most cases, teens just enjoy the look of the tattoo or piercing, but we do advise them to talk any decision over with their parents or another adult first," said David Levine, co-author and professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia, US.
"They may not realise how expensive it is to remove a tattoo, or how a piercing on your tongue might result in a chipped tooth," Levine added, in the recommendations published in the journal Paediatrics.
The recommendations stated that while societal acceptance of tattoos and piercings has increased, there may still be repercussions. This includes losing out on job opportunity as well as suffering infections.
Further, before getting a tattoo or piercing, one should make sure the salon is sterile, clean and reputable.
The facility should also be regulated by the government and provide clients with information on how to care for the area that has been tattooed or pierced afterwards, the researchers emphasised.
"Reputable tattoo parlours and piercing salons should provide a long list of dos and don'ts on how to care for the area that was worked on, and what signs might indicate a problem," said lead author Cora C. Breuner, chair of the AAP Committee on Adolescence.
"These services have come a long way, safety-wise, but it's best to proceed with caution," Breuner noted.
Moreover, someone considering a tattoo should also make sure that their immunisations are up to date and that they are not taking any medication that compromises their immunity, the report said.