Almost one-quarter of Americans between 18 and 50 have at least one. And one-third of the people under 30 are tattooed, too. And a study by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology says two-thirds of the people with tattoos got them before age 24. Put it another way: If your son or daughter’s between 18 and 29, there’s a 50-50 chance they’ve got a tattoo. If your kid’s begging for a tattoo, here’s how to say “no”:

  • Instead of describing how painful it is, focus on why your kid wants one. Is it to show they’re cool? Peer pressure? To impress a new love?
  • Remind them how often their tastes in music and fashion change. And ask if they’re sure they’ll still love the design in 30 years. Studies show that 17% of all tattooed people regret their permanent body ink. But removing body art may take 10 painful laser treatments.  It’s also expensive, works only half the time, and may leave scars.
  • If your kid keeps pushing for a tattoo, bring up the health risks, including hepatitis and HIV from unsafe shops using un-sterile equipment.
  • If all else fails, suggest they wait a little longer to get a tattoo. Why? Because there’s a new, less-than-permanent ink coming down the pike. Later this year, a Philadelphia company called Freedom-2, will launch a new line of safe and easily-removable tattoo inks. Today’s tatts use carbon black, metal salts, and other substances found in car paint – which can seep into your lymph system and create medical problems. But Freedom-2's new inks are harmless dyes already approved for use in cosmetics, food, drugs, and medical devices. They're safe, and easy-to-get-rid-of if you regret your tattoo. A single laser blast ruptures the dye molecules. Your body then absorbs the harmless dye, and the tattoo just fades away like a bad bruise.