Does your teen want a tattoo? Pediatricians have some advice

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By: CBS News
September 18, 2017

NEW YORK (CBS) -- While body modifications like tattoos and piercings have become more popular and widely accepted in society in recent years, a leading group of pediatricians say young people need to carefully weigh the potential consequences first.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report today outlining the types of methods used for body modifications, potential medical complications, and how to speak to teens about these topics.

Dr. Corinn Cross, a spokesperson for the group, says adolescents — and their parents — need to do their homework before making a decision to get a tattoo or piercing.

"Teens tend to overestimate the ease and ability to remove a tattoo, and they underestimate the cost," Cross told CBS News.

According to the report, laser removal of a tattoo can range from $49 to $300 per square inch of the treatment area.

The AAP says it's also important to choose a salon that's sterile and regulated by the state. The most serious complication from any form of body modification is infection. Reputable salons should provide clients with a list of do's and don'ts on how to care for the area that was worked on.

Before getting a tattoo, immunizations should be up to date and people should not be on any medication that would compromise the immune system.

Finally, know the law: Some states prohibit teens from getting body modifications, while others require parental consent.

"I will say that a place is willing to tattoo a child or minor without consent is not a reputable place," Cross said.

Julia Fae, who got her first tattoo 11 years ago when she was 16, advises young people to take their time when deciding on a potential body modification.

"It's going to be forever," she said. "Not just the symbol on your body is going to be forever but the memories of how you got it."