Reasoning behind tattoos explained

By Derek Hanke

A cultural phenomenon to some and an eyesore to others.

Tattoos are a topic of much controversy among the FC populace. While students without tattoos may disagree on them, those with them are very proud.

“Having a tattoo is a way to express yourself,” said senior Amber Sprigler.

Sprigler got a dragon tattoo to signify her transcendence into adulthood. It isn’t uncommon for people to get tattoos to mark special occasions.

“My tattoo signifies rebellion and the beginning of my journey through life,” she said.

Junior Hayley Hall views tattoos as a way to express individualism. While some tattoos tell stories, others simply are used for artistic purposes.

“It separates you from everybody else. I don’t know anyone with a tattoo in the same place,” said Hall. Sprigler also got a tattoo to express her individuality.

“The reason I got a tattoo is because it’s body art. It was my 18th birthday and I wanted something that would tell a story,” she said.

Tattoos are not necessarily liked by everyone. Some view them as distasteful and others don’t think they are necessary.

“I personally don’t like tattoos but I won’t judge anyone who has one,” said social studies teacher Trent McNeeley.

McNeeley does not like tattoos because of their historical ties.

I’m big into Japanese culture. In traditional Japanese culture tattoos were only prominent in the criminal class. Also, when I was younger, they seemed to be associated with the rougher crowd,” he said.McNeeley said tattoos are becoming less frowned upon.

“I think there is a bit of a stigma in the workplace when it comes to getting a job with a tattoo. They can be seen in a negative fashion by hiring managers, but it’s becoming less of a case,” said McNeeley.

Principal Janie Whaley said tattoos are not particularly bothersome, an opinion shared by many high schoolers and employers.

“I would use the same yardstick as we do for t-shirts. Do they advocate drugs or alcohol? It all depends on the subject of the tattoo,” said Whaley.However, Whaley is bothered by students who want to get them in high school.

“I worry about students getting them too early and wanting them removed when they are older because that can be expensive,” she said.

McNeeley feels tattoos are losing popularity in the modern age.

“Getting a tattoo used to be a cool thing because not everyone had one but now everyone’s grandma has one,” he said.

Whaley shares similar views.

“Society is positive towards tattoos but in the past five years or so people have started developing a more negative connotation towards them,” she said.

One of the negative things about getting a tattoo according to Sprigler is the the pain from getting it. It all depends upon the number of passes over the tattoo as well as how hard the tattoo artist has to press down on the skin.

“Getting a tattoo outline hurts the worst. Filling it in is a little easier,” said Sprigler.

Hall disagreed.

“Getting a tattoo didn’t hurt me because of adrenaline. It’s more annoying than anything, but I didn’t feel it that much,” she said.

Another downside to getting a tattoo is the healing process. Multiple health problems can occur due to a lack of maintenance, according to information from the Food and Drug Administration website provided by Floyd Central school nurse Andrea Tanner.

These problems may include:  

  • Infection – Dirty needles can pass infections, like hepatitis, HIV, and tetanus, from one person to another.
  • Allergies – Allergies to various ink pigments in both permanent and temporary tattoos have been reported and can cause problems, like itching, even years after getting the tattoo.
  • Scarring – Unwanted scar tissue may form when getting or removing a tattoo.
  • Granulomas – These small knots or bumps may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.
  • MRI complications – People may have swelling or burning in the tattoo when they have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This happens rarely and does not last long.
  • Unknown risks–While the FDA does regulate pigments that go into makeup, they have not proven those same pigments to be safe if injected into the skin. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.

Hall agreed that problems can occur if teens are not careful. “If you don’t take care of it, it can get infected,” she said.

Tattoos also fade over time, which means a tattoo requires occasional check-ups. Tanner provided these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic concerning maintaining tattoos:

  • Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the tattooed skin while it’s healing.
  • Keep the tattooed skin clean. Use plain soap and water and a gentle touch. While showering, avoid direct streams of water on the newly tattooed skin. Pat — don’t rub — the area dry.
  • Use moisturizer. Apply a mild moisturizer to the tattooed skin several times a day.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Keep the tattooed area out of the sun for at least a few weeks.
  • Avoid swimming. Stay out of pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water while your piercing is healing.
  • Choose clothing carefully. Don’t wear anything that might stick to the tattoo.
  • Allow up to two weeks for healing. Don’t pick at any scabs, which increases the risk of infection and can damage the design and cause scarring.
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight and wear at least SPF 30 to keep the tattoo from fading.

“The healing process is not fun. It hurts. You have to get it touched up occasionally because of fading,” said Sprigler.

Sprigler does not care about other’s opinions of her tattoo.

“If they like my tattoo they like it, and if they don’t they don’t. I didn’t get it to please others,” she said.

Additional reporting by Patrick Prifogle.

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