Cleveland doctor wants to prevent "tattoo regret"

6:51 PM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND --  Dr. Gregory Hall is a primary care physician who is tired of seeing what he calls "tattoo regret" of young people who put body art in a visible place.

The issue bothered him so much he wrote a book and started a website, to help parents and young people make educated decisions when it comes to if, where, when and how one should get a tatoo.

He says almost four in ten people aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo. Men tend to be more extroverted with 23 percent placing their tattoos in general view, while thirteen percent of women allow their art to be seen. But while the trend is growing, many businesses do not want visible ink representing them.

But the numbers of young people getting visible tattoos are staggering and many are not getting them professionally done.  Ramone Hardy had a scorpion tattooed on his stomach at a party when he was 17.

"It was kind of nasty where we were at it was like a party with a lot of alcohol and if I could do it all over again I just wouldn't," Hardy says.

He's lucky to avoid infection that time, but like many African Americans his skin is prone to keloid scars that often can't be removed.

Ray McGraw has more than twenty tattoos all over his body including his head, neck and forearms.  He says they prevented him from getting a job.

"They didn't want me representing their company it didn't matter my experience or my ability," McGraw says.

Dr. Hall's website includes a contract that can be downloaded for parents to negotiate with their children.  His main concern is medical.

"Why is Hepatitis C rising in 15 to 25 year olds?  50/50 among men and women and some people have said that maybe it's this increase rise in tattoos," Dr. Hall says.

Shanna Little and Trazsi Elmore made the classic mistake of getting their ex-boyfriends names in visible places. 

"I thought I was doing it because I loved him and that's not how you show love," Little says.

Elmore adds, "Really think about where you're gonna get them because you can't be gainfully employed with having tattoos on your face or neck or hands."

Martin Kelly wanted tattoos all his life, but waited until he was sixty.

"I'm retired, a former air traffic controller, so I didn't have to worry about putting tattoos on areas where they'd have to be covered," Kelly says.

All of them have at least one tattoo regret.  Their advice to young people is choose carefully because it may impact the life you want to lead.














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