Tattoos Are Leaving a Mark


Photo used with permission from Raegen Dickinson

Raegen Dickinson, junior, shows off her tattoo of lyrics from her favorite Beatles song. Her tattoo reads, “All you need is love”.

Ashlyn Dewitt, Writer

As the years go on, tattoos are becoming more popular in high schools across the nation. They are ways to express yourself, hold special meanings, and even be a daily reminder. 

Thirty-eight percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo. That’s around 20.5 million people in the United States alone. Most students with tattoos say that their tattoo has a special meaning to them. 

“I have a tattoo of three paw prints on my ankle and a butterfly/semicolon design on my lower arm. The semicolon has a more personal meaning to me but it’s also a universal symbol that supports the fight against suicide and mental health issues. It urges people to keep going. The paw prints were a gift for getting accepted into the pre-vet program at MSU. It symbolizes my future in veterinary medicine and my love for animals,” said Jianna Cox, a junior. 

Students in Missouri under the age of 18 need a parent’s or guardian’s permission to get a tattoo. Raegen Dickinson, junior, didn’t have much trouble convincing her mom to let her get one.

“My mom and I have been talking about getting matching tattoos since I was like 10. She has tattoos and always wanted to get one with me, so she took me the day after I turned 16 and we got matching diamonds on our wrists,” said Dickinson. Dickinson also has lyrics to her favorite Beatles song tattooed on the side of her arm and plans to get a sleeve of tattoos in the future.

The process was just as smooth for Cox. “My parents actually responded really well. My first time, we all got tattoos as a family. My second time, my mom went with me and also got a tattoo on her ankle,” said Cox. 

Since tattoos are permanent, most students are hesitant to get one. Whether it’s fear of regretting their choice, religious reasons, or not wanting to face the pain and needles, students tend to wait until after they graduate to get a tattoo. Getting a tattoo is a big commitment and is not something to spontaneously rush into.

 “If you want a tattoo, think about your decision instead of just going straight for it. Make sure it means something to you or you like the design and you’ll still appreciate it when you’re older,” said Cox.

One thing students need to keep in mind when thinking about getting a tattoo is the amount of care it requires afterward. On average, it takes about six months for a tattoo to heal completely. After getting a tattoo, it’s advised that you wait 2-3 weeks before swimming or soaking in a bath. There are several reasons to be cautious after getting a tattoo, such as infection, sunburn, and tight clothing. Students should take these reasons into account before getting a tattoo.

When asked about the advice she would give to a student who wants a tattoo, Dickinson responded immediately. Dickinson said, “Get it. If it has a personal meaning to you and you really like it, do it. You won’t regret it if you put a lot of thought into it and understand how big of a commitment it actually is.” 


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Julia, and Love Kimberly. “Tattoo Aftercare 101: Everything You Need To Know!”, 4 Aug. 2019,