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COLUMBIA - They are becoming a common sight, tattoos and piercings. According to medical professionals, more young adults and adolescents are getting them than before, and it is important for them to understand the risks. This article by the American Academy of Pediatrics discussed possible risks of body modification.

The article discussed survey results indicating people's concerns about being able to get a job, but stated that is not the only thing people should consider before getting tattoos or body modifications. Those also come with some health risks. People should watch for infection and make sure staff are using sterile equipment. 

Some common signs of infection include inflammation or puss.

Zane Elshoubasi is the head piercer at Tattoo You in Columbia. He said adults and minors should look to make sure employees are clean. 

"Make sure you can see it's single use packaging and stuff like that. You know, they have disposable containers for needles," Elshoubasi said.

Anyone who chooses to get a tattoo or piercing should get instructions from the artists on how to properly care for his or her new tattoo or piercing. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tattoos generally take two weeks to heal. Someone with a new tattoo should avoid direct sunlight or wear sunscreen, and avoid soaking it in water. 

Elshoubasi said he is always sure his clients understand his directions.

"Whenever a client gets pierced I go through really thoroughly what they need to do," Elshoubasi said. 

Dan Ryan is a tattoo artist at Tattoo You. He said clients should be careful not to get tattoos from someone who works out of their house because it may not be sterile. 

He said although it is often cheaper for clients, those artists usually do not have the proper equipment or area to work in.

Some tattoo shops, like Tattoo You, do not tattoo or pierce minors younger than 16. They may also require a minor to come in with a parent or guardian before getting the service. Tattoo You requires both the parent and the minor to provide a from of identification issued by the state or government. 

"Driver's license, non driver's license, military ID, passport. Those all work," Elshoubasi said.

He said students should know that students IDs will not be accepted.

Tattoo You also requires parents and minors to show proof of address, which must match. He said they suggest minors bring in their birth certificate just in case there is a discrepancy.