A report from the Pew Research Center revealed that 38 percent of millennials have at least one tattoo and 23 percent have a piercing somewhere other than an earlobe. There are, however, potential health and social implications that should be considered before acquiring a tattoo or body piercing. The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the importance of hygienic practices in piercing and tattoo parlors, including making sure practitioners use new disposable gloves, needles from a sealed, sterile container, and fresh unused ink poured into a new disposable container with each client. Fortunately, in California, standards are set for sterilization, sanitation and safety for both tattooing and body piercing. Practitioners have to register with the state health department and are required to submit proof of hepatitis vaccination as well as take a yearly course in blood borne diseases and infection control. While infection is rare, concern about infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria remain.
Finally, one should carefully consider the social implications of tattoos on highly visible areas such as the hands, fingers, neck, and face. Certain professions are still very conservative regarding tattoos. Keep in mind that tattoo removal by laser is painful, difficult, expensive and only partially effective.