As with most things in life, changing times signals new improvements, and tattoos are not an exception. The process itself has come a long way since people had no choice but to use crude homemade instruments to force equally-crude variations of ink into their skins. People these days also do not need to resort to regular needles and either ashes or bottles of India ink, because most have clean, sterile tattoo studios and licensed, reputable artists readily available. For a practice that has been around nearly since the beginning of time, such factors as health, safety, and procedure are relatively modern.
Since South Carolina lifted its ban against tattooing in 2004, which required eleven years of failed attempts before its eventual success, the state of Oklahoma remained the sole hold-out in banning tattoos until that ban also was finally lifted at the end of 2006. Currently, tattooing is legal in all states of the United States, each with its own set of laws, some of which are governed by the state itself, others which have left the matter in the hands of city or other local governments.
Laws and regulations covering tattooing are varied on a state by state basis. If you wish to get a tattoo, or if you’re considering going into the tattoo business yourself, it is wise to familiarize yourself with what is required in the state where you live. One key point is that if you have received a tattoo license in one state, it is not necessarily valid in another state. An unusual exception to state laws is that it is becoming a common practice for parents to take their teenagers to a nearby state where tattooing minors is legal with parental consent, even though they reside in a state where it cannot be done. Crossing state borders in order to get a tattoo may appear extreme, but it happens quite frequently. However, this has produced difficulties in some instances where school districts have implemented policies forbidding their students from having visible tattoos.
As tattoos as a basic form of artwork and self-expression have expanded, so has another aspect of tattooing which has its roots in ancient history but until quite recently was not widespread in modern times. Many women, the famous and the average alike, are now opting for tattoos as a form of permanent cosmetics. No longer needing to apply such things as eyeliner or lipstick on a daily basis, a more permanent form of these previously-temporary cosmetics are made by tattooing in a manner quite similar to the more well-known types of tattoos. Getting these types of tattoos not only requires careful consideration on the part of the client, but skill and professionalism on the part of the artist.
Especially since HIV and AIDS became a life-threatening risk, reputable tattoo artists have become even more conscientious in taking health precautions for both their own and their customers’ sake. In addition to keeping their studios clean in general, there is a large focus on such practices as using disposable tattooing needles, throwing away unused inks, and wearing gloves. Prior to this problem, while most artists did take a reasonable amount of care during tattoo procedures, it was not nearly as important as it is today. While keeping tattoo studios under the jurisdiction of the state, city, or county Board of Health may be an intense measure, it is good to know that reputable tattoo artists consider it to be important, necessary, and worthwhile.