Tattoos and Body Piercing

Body piercing and tattoos are forms of body art that have been practiced throughout history by various cultures. Tattoo and body piercing has become very popular with adolescents and adults in their early twenties. While the general public and parents may perceive this procedure as rebellious and deviant behaviours, some reasons adolescents offer for body piercing is that it is a form of body art, it is a fashionable, it makes a personal statement. Adolescents and young adults are developmentally susceptible to rebellious behavior, it is seen by many.

The design can be small and discreet or large and obvious. This art used to express individually to indicate membership in a group or to attract attentions. But such body modification carries with it the risk of health problem of ranging from minor bacterial infections to life treating illness. For example, allergies reactions, this may occur even years after they get the tattoo. Some piercing jewelers are made of nickel or brass, which also can cause allergies reaction, Blood- born disease, oral complication, Skin disorder, skin infection.


People who get body modifications have a high threshold for pain. Where the tattoo is located will generally tell a person how much discomfort will be involved. Some of the body part causes the most discomfort for men and women are: head, neck back and front of the knee, hands and the wrists just to name a few. Usually the parts of the body that has more fat or muscle build up will causes the least amount of pain.

Adolescents and adults who participating in this newest of fashion trends is a means to establish personal identity through disassociation form accepted norms, Moreover, participants with tattoo and body piercing are more likely to have engaged in risk behaviours and at a great degree of involvement than those without either.

Tattoos and body piercing are done as expressions of independence, for religious or cultural reasons, or to adorn one’s body. Tattooing is accomplished by injecting pigment into the deeper layers of the skin, usually by way of needles or air pressure.

Piercing is performed quickly and without anesthesia by either a spring-loaded ear-piercing gun or piercing needles, with the needle diameter varying from six to 18 gauge. The skin is cleaned, and then the needle and jewelry are inserted through the tissue in one swift motion. Piercing is typically completed in tattoo or beauty parlours.


While piercing and tattooing are popular, both present distinct health risks. Tattoos can lead to the transmission of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B and C and theoretically HIV, when proper sterilization and safety procedures are not followed. Black henna tattoos can cause significant allergies and rashes , leading to renal (kidney) failure and even death in those who are sensitive to their ingredients. These types of tattoos have appeared particularly dangerous to young children. Body piercing also presents the risk of chronic infection, scarring, hepatitis B and C, tetanus , and skin allergies to the jewelry that is used. One study reported that 17 percent of college students with piercings suffered a medical complication such as infection or tearing. Use of piercing guns and preferences for upper ear piercing have led to increased infections. The force of the gun’s delivery further complicates matters around the delicate cartilage of the upper ear and some people require surgical intervention.

Body piercing and tattooing are unregulated in most parts of the United States, and illegal in some. The American Dental Association opposes oral (tongue, lip, or cheek) piercing, and the American Academy of Dermatology is against all forms of body piercing except ear lobe piercing.

There are five methods to remove tattoos when desired, including using a laser to break up tattoo pigments; surgical removal that involves cutting the tattoo away; sanding the skin with a wire brush to remove the epidermis and dermis layers in a process called dermabrasion; using a salt solution to soak the tattooed skin (salabrasion); and scarification, removing the tattoo with an acid solution to form a scar in its place. Topical steroids can often treat reactions to henna tattoos, but improvement may take several weeks.

Depending on the type of infection resulting from either piercing or tattoos, the treatment and prognosis vary. Minor infections respond well to antibiotic therapy, while blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C cause life-altering results. Disfigurement may or may not be fully correctable by later plastic surgery.

Obviously, the best way to prevent infection from piercing or tattoos is not to get one in the first place. However, the risks can be minimized. Procedures should be performed in a sterile environment by an experienced professional. The person performing the procedure should remove a new needle from the plastic in front of the person to be tattooed and should put on a new pair of sterile gloves. Anyone considering a henna tattoo should require proof from the artist that he or she is using pure, safe brown henna, not the unsafe black henna.

Piercing should be completed with smoothly polished jewelry made of 14 or 18 carat gold, titanium, surgical steel, or niobium. An allergic reaction can result with the use of jewelry made of brass plate or containing a nickel alloy. Healing time from a piercing ranges from six months to two years. A piercing should be completed in a sterile environment that uses every precaution to reduce the risk of infection. Excessive force, such as exerting a strong pull, should never be applied to jewelry inserted into pierced body parts to avoid tearing and injuring tissues.


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