Should the legal age for tattoos be older?
Posted on 3rd December 2019
Is 18 really old enough to give your consent to a tattoo?
Under the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969, anyone who knowingly tattoos an underage customer, save for medical reasons, will face a £50.00 fine for a first offence and £100.00 for a repeat offence. Considering that a tattoo is a permanent committment (laser removal isn’t always effective or an option), then surely there should be a bigger consequence than a small fine…
I got my first tattoo at the age of 15; my sole reasoning for getting the tattoo was to shock my mum and appear cool to my friends. The tattooing session itself was not conducted by a professional in a studio, but instead by some mate of a mate who “inked” me in his not so clean kitchen for £5.00. No it’s most definitely not the best tattoo; yes I am very lucky it didn’t get infected, and no I will not get it removed. Why? Because although it is terrible (god it really is terrible) it is also hidden and serves as a constant reminder that my decision making is horrific and 99.9% of the time, mother really does know best. Also I’ve seen the YouTube videos, laser removal DOES NOT look fun or bank friendly.
Legally you aren’t even allowed to step foot into a tattoo studio until you are over 18 and no self-respecting artist would even consider tattooing anyone under 18. However, unfortunately, it is very easy for some random, untrained, unregistered person to buy the kits off any online store and start ruining people’s lives with godawful ink. Not being tattooed in a clean, sterilised environment could lead to infection, horrific personal injury, or sometimes worse. This is one of the many reasons professional Tattoo Artists are calling for the Laws to change.
Currently anyone aged 18 and over can get a tattoo of anything they desire in any place they want, including tattoos on the face. In fact, over the past few years, the demand for inking to the face, neck and hands have more than doubled, thanks to the likes of Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Cardi B. Unfortunately, the stigma around tattoos is leaving those with visible ink classed as “less desirable” when applying for jobs, although of course having tattoos doesn’t affect your ability to work many still consider them “tacky” or unprofessional.
For this reason many professional artists, including Lee Clements, have gone on record to state that they want the legal age of consent for a tattoo to rise to 21, the thought behind this is that it give prospective customers time to consider whether they want the “fashion tattoo”, or the joke tattoo. After all you don’t exactly make the best decisions when you’re 18, do you?
As Lancaster solicitors, our team of local personal injury solicitors can see both sides. We have dealt with the personal injury that can occur, by the use of infected or unclean needles, and we have seen tattoos so deeply penetrating the skin, that the skin struggles to heal. We do believe that everyone should be free to be who they want to be, however we would urge that you think before you ink.
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