To pierce or not to pierce… that is the question?
Piercings and tattoos have been associated in adolescents with risky behaviours. One study assessed 484 adolescents aged 12-22 attending an Adolescent Clinic in California. There were 13.2% reported tattoos with 5.25% having more than one; 26.9% had body piercings excluding the ear lobes; and 11.8% had more than one piercing. The most common piercings were ear cartilage (excluding the lobe) – 13.6%; mouth/tongue – 11.2%; navel – 10.7%; nipple – 1.2%; and genitals – 0.8%. Teenagers with tattoos or piercings were more likely to have disordered eating, alcohol or marijuana use, hard drug use, higher scores on a Sexual Behaviour Index measuring age at first intercourse, number of partners and contraceptive use, and higher suicide rates.3