Age Requirements for Tattoos Need to End


Closeup of tattoo and needle, via Getty Images.

Amanda Ross, Reporter

Tattoos are common among people all over the world. Whether used as a form of self-expression, for looks, or to carry something symbolic with you, tattoos are an increasingly common sight. 

“Stick and pokes” are a less permanent way for teens to get tattoos. A stick and poke is a non-electric method of tattooing. It requires a needle to be dipped in ink and then applied one dot at a time by poking the ink into the top layer of skin. You can purchase stick and poke kits on or find them at mainstream convenience stores. The open access to these kits makes it easier for teens to give themselves tattoos. 

However, even with this easy way for teens to get tatted, some desire the real deal. In California, it is illegal to tattoo anybody under 18 unless written parental consent is given. The minimum age with parental consent varies among states, with 16 in a few states such as Kansas and Louisiana, and as low as 14 in Idaho. 

Yet, some teens can still find ways to get tattooed with no parental consent even if they don’t meet their state’s age requirement. Perhaps finding an older friend with a tattoo gun or a tattoo artist who is willing to risk their job to tattoo minors could be possibilities. 

Julie Martinez, a sophomore at Novato High School who has a tattoo, discussed her experience.

“I’ve always wanted one, and my dad’s friend does tattoos so he did mine. I didn’t have to get written parental consent before getting it,” she said.

Martinez stands by her decision. 

“I don’t regret it at all. It holds meaning,” Martinez said.

Although Martinez has gotten a tattoo herself, she still agrees with the restrictions in place to discourage minors from getting tattooed. 

“I think you should be mature before you get a tattoo,” Martinez said. “When people are younger, they aren’t as educated and are more careless.”

Personal Note: I think minors should be allowed to get tattooed without the consent of a parent. Much bigger responsibilities are put on young people than the responsibility of having a tattoo. If 17-year-olds are able to choose a degree and career path, then a 17-year-old should be able to get a tattoo. Our society believes a minor shouldn’t get a tattoo at their age because they aren’t old enough to choose something they would like to keep for the rest of their lives, but they are underestimating how mature some people are.