All About Tattoos During Adolescence

Teenagers make many decisions without taking into account their long-term consequences – this is often an act of typical teen rebellion. Today we'll take a look at tattoos during adolescence.
All About Tattoos During Adolescence

Last update: 02 November, 2019

Tattoos during adolescence can be a way for teens to identify and express themselves through images and symbols .

Puberty brings along with it radical changes for each human being. In general, the hardest changes to face are the psychological and social ones. Teenagers aren’t children, but they aren’t adults either. As a result, they experience an unbridled need to find their identity.

That’s why we want to suggest several ideas on how to deal with the ever-growing issue of tattoos during adolescence. For many, tattoos are a permanent form of art on the canvas of our skin. They’re difficult to remove, and attempting to do so without the intervention of a professional specialist can have serious consequences.

Tattoos and adolescence: What’s the motivation?

In most cases, the main motivation behind teenagers getting a tattoo is a matter of identity. Their incessant quest to be different and to carry a mark that sets them apart overcomes them. For many, tattoos represent the opportunity to stand out to the world and manifest their inner selves.

A sense of belonging is another common cause. Wanting to be accepted by a group or teen subculture is enough to drive adolescents to get a tattoo. 

Other popular motives that bring teenagers to get tattoos are: Trends among friends and pacts with friends, sweethearts, or family members. Tattoos during adolescents may also represent athletes, musicians, actors, or other personalities that teenagers identify with.

How to handle the issue of tattoos during adolescence

There is a wide variety of opinions when it comes to the issue of tattoos during adolescence. Many parents are against them, while others support them as a form of artistic expression. If you notice that your child is interested in getting tattoos, we recommend sitting down and talking with your teen to analyze the following points:

  • What are tattoos? What are they made of and what are the consequences if they aren’t done by a specialist?
  • The responsibility that comes with deciding to have a tattoo for the rest of your life.
  • The risks that come with getting a tattoo.
All About Tattoos During Adolescence

Tattoos during adolescence: The risks

Adults that like to get tattoos take their time when choosing the best tattoo artist to create lifelong images on their bodies. However, teens are more likely to make quick decisions and turn to artists that fail to meet basic standards of hygiene. This increases the risk of:

  • Contracting hepatitis, AIDS/HIV, or some bacterial infection when tools aren’t properly sterilized.
  • The dye and injections can cause dermatitis.
  • Loss of sensitivity in the skin where the tattoo is.
  • Tattoos can produce different kinds of allergies.

The current trend of displaying popular images on the body is one of the main causes that brings teens to get tattoos. Some of the symbols that are favorites among teens are the following:

  • The symbol of infinity: This symbol dates back to ancient times in relation to philosophy, mathematics, and geometry. It refers to a limitless quantity or an unending pathway. In the world of tattoos, it means timelessness or eternity.
  • Birds: Tattoos of birds carry the connotation of freedom and independence. The most common bird that appears in tattoos during adolescence is the swallow. Sailors use this image to symbolize their return home.
All About Tattoos During Adolescence

  • The lotus flower: In the East, especially in Buddhist culture, this flower symbolizes purity of the body and soul. The water that surrounds this flower is associated with attachment and desire. At the same time, the immaculate flower that emerges from the water seeks the light. It’s the promise of spiritual purity.
  • Yin Yang: This symbol represents the duality and balance in all that exists. Yin is the feminine principal while yang represents the masculine. Together, they symbolize the balance among opposites that need one another. The yin yang symbol also refers to harmony and union of the physical and the spiritual world.


Many teens don’t take a lot of time to think before getting a tattoo. During adolescence, most decisions are impulsive. Therefore, as parents, it’s important that we maintain open and honest communication with our children. This will give us the opportunity to discuss with them the pros and cons of body modification.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.