"As cool as getting an ‘artsy’ tattoo done by one of your friends is, you need to keep in mind the danger you’re putting yourself in." - Avynn STanley
Over the past couple of years stick and poke tattoos have become popular in the high school setting. Here, at Oakland School for the Arts, a survey I conducted showed that a large percentage of high school students have stick and pokes or knows someone who has them/does them. Stick and pokes are a less painful way of getting a permanent tattoo, but can still be extremely dangerous especially when done by teenagers using the wrong materials on each other.
Stick and poke is a form of body art that can be found all over the world. It is traditionally performed using a sharp point and a liquid that can stain-- usually a type of ink. The sharp point is used to repeatedly puncture the skin until the tattoo is visible and seems permanent.
These repeated punctures can potentially bring foreign bodies, bacteria or viruses into your own body. This can cause dangerous complications. While some stick and poke tattoo complications are minor, others can also lead to major issues. Depending on your tattoo equipment, techniques and environment, the likelihood of these problems varies.
As cool as getting an ‘artsy’ tattoo done by one of your friends is, you need to keep in mind the danger you’re putting yourself in. There are many good reasons as to why people choose the stick and poke tattoos—one of which is how inexpensive they are. But are they worth it? Stick and poke tattoos are growing in popularity, but this doesn’t make them free of risks. Stick and poke tattoos dangers do exist, just like with other forms of tattoos. Skin plays a protective role for the body, and a needle repeatedly passing through this protective barrier can cause potential risk.
Probably one of the most common infectious risks has to do with bacteria that can enter the skin through the “pokes” of a home tattoo. Either a non-sterile needle or improperly cleaned skin can lead to bacteria entering breaks in the skin. This can lead to infections such as cellulitis, which can spread rapidly and that, when severe, can require treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
Three common dangers of stick and poke tattoos when done incorrectly:It would be simple to say don’t get stick and pokes entirely, but because most tattoos don’t get infected, people, especially youth, are more likely to still want and get them. Taking into consideration the risks and how permanent they can be before receiving one can go a long way.