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New Recommendations Issued For Teens Considering Tattoos, Piercings

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tattoos and piercings have become a common trend for young adults, even if some of their parents don't approve.

Now for the first time, the nation's pediatricians are weighing in with new recommendations for teenagers considering body modification.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported, the Pew Research Center says 38 percent of millennials have at least one tattoo and nearly one in four have a piercing other than in an earlobe.

While medical complications are fairly rare, the American Academy of Pediatrics says there are some things to consider.

With millennial Julia Fae, there's a special meaning behind each of her tattoos. She says she got her first one when she was just 18-years-old.

"This 'K' right here, it stands for my father's first name: Ken," she said.

While body modifications like tattoos and piercings have become widely accepted, the AAP says young people need to carefully weigh the potential consequences.

"Teens tend to overestimate the ease and ability to remove a tattoo and they underestimate the cost," AAP Spokesperson Dr. Corinn Cross.

Laser tattoo removal takes multiple sessions and can run to thousands of dollars, and may not be completely successful. Plus, there's always the risk of scarring.

Dr. Cross says teens and parents need to do their homework to avoid risks like infections.

The AAP says it's important to choose a salon that's sterile and regulated by the state. Also, make sure your immunizations are up to date -- especially tetanus -- and know the law.

Tattooing is prohibited for minors under age 18 in New York State and requires written parental consent in New Jersey and Connecticut. Parental consent is required for body piercing of minors in all three states, including ear piercing in New Jersey.

"I will say a place that is willing to tattoo a child or minor without consent, is not a reputable place," Dr. Cross said.

11 years after her initial ink, Julia has some advice for other young people.

"It's gonna be forever, not just the symbol on your body is gonna be forever, but the memories of how you got it," she said.

She added to think carefully before you ink.

Even so, 86 percent of tattooed millennials say they have no regrets about getting inked, and almost a third think their tattoos make them sexier. On the negative side, three-fourths of them believe that a tattoo has hurt their job chances.

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