How old do you have to be to get tattoos or a piercing?

How old do you have to be to get tattoos or a piercing?

The age question seems simple but challenging, especially concerning controversial topics. For instance, one may ask why children can't vote, have sex, or even have tattoos. It has to do with when exactly one becomes an adult and whether adulthood is an age or a state of mind. So, how old do you have to be to get tattoos or a piercing?

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How old do you have to be to get tattoos
A young kid with traditional tattoos Photo: @Nojannamdar
Source: Twitter

Having a body art or piercing is not a small decision because there are no spare parts for the human body. Furthermore, permanent body arts and piercings cannot be removed, hence why children shouldn't have them. The reasoning is that since children are under the custodianship of their parents, such decisions are made on their behalf to deter them from making bad decisions.

Why do teenagers like tattoos and body piercings?

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While people of all age groups tend to like the idea of getting inked, it is during the teenage years that most people get tattoos. The tattoo's age is not something teenagers are concerned with, even if it causes permanent scarring. Some of the reasons why teenagers like tatts and piercings include:

  • Copying their peers
  • To make a fashion statement
  • A way of expressing identity and individuality
  • To rebel against the values represented by their parents/guardians
  • To show loyalty/connection to a particular group or cause
  • As part of a traditional rite of passage for a cultural group

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Legal issues on body piercing and tattooing of minors

Laws about minors and body art vary around the world. This is why you ought to ask yourself what states can you get a tattoo at 16 before deciding. Most countries prohibit body piercing and inking of people below the legal age for adults.

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In contrast, others require parents/guardians' consent or the physical presence of parents/guardians during such procedures. The tattoo's laws regulating the piercing or inking of minors can be classified into:

How old do you have to be to get tattoos
A young girl with a piercing. Photo: @duvaccari
Source: Twitter
  • Parental consent required: In such cases, minors are allowed to have body piercings and body arts but only after their parents or guardians have consented to it. A minor cannot access such a service without a tattoo consent form.
  • Outright prohibition regardless of parental consent: In countries with such a law, minors cannot have piercings regardless of whether parents/guardians consent to it or not.
  • Written parental consent required: Countries with such a law require parents to issue written consent before minors can be pierced or inked.
  • Written and notarized parental consent required: This is a more stringent law that asks parents to issue written consent and, in addition to that, have the signed document attested to by a notary.
  • Combination of outright prohibition and parental consent requirement: Countries with such laws hybrid the prohibition and parental consent requirements.

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How old do you have to be to get tattoos?

Body art can be provocative, and it is for that reason that minors are discouraged from having them. Young people are too vulnerable to make permanent decisions about their bodies, especially those potentially scarring. To handle this issue, one must define what age is to be classified as "too young".

At what age can you get a tattoo? To answer the age question, one has to examine the country's laws where they reside before making a decision. Most countries have ages below which inking and piercings cannot be had except for medical or dental reasons.

How can I get a tattoo at 16? Many countries allow body arts and piercings for children under the age of majority, which is 18 years old but with parental consent. However, caution should be exercised to determine whether there exists an age prohibition because the consequences can be as dire as losing custody of the minor.

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Piercing ears is socially acceptable for girls in most countries instead of earlobe stretching or tongue rings. In some cultures, it is customary to pierce girls' ears shortly after they are born. However, it is going outside the norm that is considered controversial.

Frequently asked questions

A tattoo is a permanent kind of body art. Therefore, if you're thinking of getting your first body art or piercing, you probably have many questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about getting a tattoo.

1. Is it illegal to tattoo without a license?

Before delving into the age one should be when getting a body art or piercing, you should be aware that violating the tattoo licensing requirements is a misdemeanour offence in most places. This means those found guilty of such an offence will usually get away with a fine, but felony punishments can be considered in some cases.

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2. Can you donate blood if you have a tattoo?

How old do you have to be to get tattoos
A young boy with an inked body. Photo: @kgadia87
Source: UGC

Those with tattoos can only donate blood if they meet certain criteria. First, you won't be allowed to donate blood if your tattoo is less than three months old. The same applies to piercings and other nonmedical injections on the body. This is because ink and metal can expose the immune system and expose one to harmful viruses.

3. Can you get a tattoo when you are 14?

It depends on the laws of your area of residence. In most cases, minors aged 14 years old can get a tattoo upon receiving consent from their parents. However, other countries completely prohibit the inking of minors.

4. What piercings can you get at 16 without parental consent?

Culture, appropriate piercings such as those of the ears for girls, can be allowed at the age of 16 or even younger without parents' consent because such piercings are not considered non-provocative.

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5. At what age can you get a nose piercing?

Nose piercing is not as traditional as ear-piercing; hence you wouldn't find young children going for it. However, in most states, teenagers aged between 14 and 18 can get their noses pierced but only with the consent of their parents.

Getting body art or a piercing may seem like a cool thing, especially if you are a teen. All your friends may ink their bodies but don't be surprised if your parents say they cannot allow you to follow the trend. This begs the question, how old do you have to be to get tattoos or a piercing? The answer is dependent on a multitude of factors such as the law, religious doctrine, and moral values.

Yen.com.gh shared an interesting article about the top 50+ best name tattoos ideas and photos. Name tattoos can make a powerful statement about the people you love the most. If you are a parent and want to celebrate your child’s birth or the unbreakable bond that you share, you can do it with a name in their honour.

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