By: Rehana Sancho
With celebrities like Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber showing off their body art on places like their necks, arms, and faces, it is easy to see why young adults outside of Hollywood are increasingly turning towards the tattoo culture. However, students may be unaware of the long-term consequences of having a tattoo that may no longer appeal to the future you.
Although tattoos are seen as an artistic expression of one’s self, should students be aware of the side effects of having a permanent ink on their skin? When a young adult decides to become tattooed, important factors like future career paths, placement of the tattoo, and understanding how the image they wish to portray in their early twenties may affect their future.
Scott Jones, developer of tattooinfo.net, a website that provides information for tattoo newbies/hopefuls, explains tattoos can be priced in various ways. Although some tattoo shops may have an average hourly rate of $80-100, or are based on the size, and placement, may all factor into the price.
Tattoos are expensive and priced at the discretion of the prospective artist. Artists should also have valid tattooing license, a book of previous work and sanitized work tools . Before getting a tattoo, try to be informed of the process and the removal.
Britney Debnam, a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence University, came to John Jay to interview for a job with Teach for America. Debnam was modestly dressed in black stockings, a white shirt, and a black blazer to mask any visible tattoos. Debnam has five tattoos; three are visible and are about six inches in length. One is placed on her foot, which is why she can’t wear nude stockings.
Debnam says every one of her tattoos are “little photos” of her past, but she does regret a few of her tattoos because they were last minute decisions, based on temporary emotions.
Debnam feels like students who are thinking about getting a tattoo should think about where they will be in next few years and how having tattoos may affect them. Although she regrets a few, she’s still in love with her two white ink tattoos.
The tattoos are a question mark and a comma, a homage to her days as her school’s newspaper editor. Both tattoos are mostly invisible until you look closely.
John Jay Career Counselor, Barbara Young, admits employers will not always ask you about a tattoo, but if they see one it will be noted. Young, a Baruch Alumna, who holds a master in Public Administration, says if you have a tattoo, do research on the company’s personal appearance policy.
Young advises doing research will prepare you for what the company is looking for in an employee. She tells students,”If you’re going for a job at MTV, tattoos aren’t a problem,” but to also be wise and do your research.
Young explains the purpose of an interview is to “assess the image” after reading someone’s resume. So knowing the company will give you a better understanding of what they expect. Young’s advice for tattooed students? Don’t offer information unless asked for information about the tattoo. This way you’re not drawing more attention toward the tattoo than necessary.
Jordy Frias, John Jay junior, feels students get tattoos because of social pressure, family members who have tattoos, friends, and celebrity influences. “Tattoos are a commitment,” Frias said and, “they prevent you from your choice of certain jobs like the State Troopers and NYPD.” According to the NYPD website, they prefer non-visible tattoos, but if you do have a tattoo you have to be prepared to explain their meaning.
If someone is faced with the decision to remove an unwanted tattoo, there are a few options. The safest way to remove a tattoo is through a doctor. One procedure requires surgery, and another is the laser removal, which is the most popular method.
According to WebMD, 50% of all people who get a tattoo will have it removed by the laser method. The laser method sounds like a bug zapper, it beams a laser at the inked area, breaking the color down, which will eventually be absorbed by the skin. Although this method is one of the most effective, not every one’s tattoo will be completely removed, some will just have a faded scar look to them.
CNN featured an article on their website called “How to safely get a tattoo removed.” Expert dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank explains the minimum cost to have a small tattoo laser treatment ranges from 80- 100 dollars, and on average clients will have to have 5-12 treatments, maybe more depending on the coloring of the tattoo. Having a tattoo removed can cost you more than you initially paid to have it drawn on your skin.
An alternative to getting a conventional black or multi-colored tattoo would be to try a white ink tattoo. Debnam has two, a question mark, and a comma on her right hand in between her thumb and index finger. Although still noticeable if you look closely, it can be easily overlooked.
Debnam states that the white ink tattoo feels “more personal” to her because it’s only visible to her most of the time. Along with the white tattoo, she has another that says, “Ain’t I a woman,” a quote from female pioneer Sojourner Truth. Debnam explains that Truth, an abolitionist and activist for women’s rights, was one of her only female role models while she was a young girl, which is why that quote is special to her.
Frias tells students to ask themselves, “What is the meaning of this tattoo and is it my personal choice?” Young’s advice is to first, “Try a temporary tattoo, it can be removed.” This way you can see if a tattoo is right for you. Debnam warns maybe, “wait until you know who you are before getting a tattoo because corporate America likes conservative.