Hey, millennials- tattoos may be trendy now, but they aren’t temporary

LOS ANGELES — These days, it seems like tattoos are all the rage, particularly the quarter-sized, easily hidden pieces that flood Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and countless other social media outlets. These types of tattoos are rapidly growing more and more popular with the millennial age group, with young celebrities garnering new pieces left and right and searchable compilations like, “Best 25+ Paw print tattoo ideas” or “Best 10+ Pineapple tattoos ideas” on Pinterest.

If you take a walk down Melrose Avenue, you’ll find a host of tattoo shops, including Body Electric Tattoo & Piercing, which has operated on Melrose since 1992. Inside, there are framed photos of tattoo designs hanging on the walls, along with a painted sign that states all customers must be at least eighteen years of age for service.

“A lot of younger people are coming in,” one of Body Electric’s resident tattoo artists said, who goes by the name Awz. “There’s even people as young as sixteen trying to come in and get tattooed, but obviously that’s illegal.”

This phenomenon isn’t only happening in Los Angeles, but all over the country. Yet, much of pop culture originates right here in the City of Angels, perhaps influencing this large group of young people.

A study conducted by The Harris Poll in 2008 revealed that 14 percent of adults had at least one tattoo, which climbed to 21 percent in 2012, and most recently grew to 29 percent in a 2015 study. In a study released in 2014, it was found that Los Angeles is the most likely to be inked city in the United States. With the rise of tattoos in pop culture, Los Angeles could very well still hold the lead today.

“Right now, a lot of the pop singers and all that, people in reality T.V. shows, everybody’s very impressionable on the younger generation I think,” Awz said. “That’s pretty much why I think they’re coming in, because, you know, pop culture just puts a big impression on them.”

Pop culture is a strong influence on millennials, since so many of those included in this group are young and constantly changing, especially those in their teenage years. As superstars like Bella Thorne and Miley Cyrus showcase their many tattoos on social media, percentages of younger people with tattoos are rising.

“A lot of trends are hitting right now, and those trends are micro-tattoos, like really small tattoos. There’s not so much large scale tattoos anymore. Everybody’s just getting really dainty items,” Awz said.

Carly Souza, a 19-year-old Los Angeles native, and her friend got matching lightning bolt tattoos on the inside of their middle fingers this past summer.

“There was really no reason behind us getting the lightning bolts,” Souza said. “During one summer night, we were really bored and just decided to go and get them done.”

According to a 2015 study by the Harris Poll, 47 percent of millennials have at least one tattoo, compared to 13 percent of Gen Xers and only 10 percent of Matures. Gen Xers include people born roughly between 1965 and 1984, while Matures include people born roughly between 1927 and 1945.

While tattoos are all the rage for millennials right now, they could very well be out of style in just a few years. The bigger questions are, will this trend continue upward, or crash in the near future? Will millennials be happy with their micro-tattoos years down the road? Trends aren’t forever, but tattoos are permanent.

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