Throughout history much has been written about tattoos, which are designs on the skin made with needles and colored ink, and body piercing, which is the practice of puncturing a part of the human body to create an opening in which jewelry may be worn. Naturally there are many opinions why people will wear tattoos and have body piercing. People often have preconceived, negative opinions when they see someone with tattoos and body piercings. Many people claim they get tattoos as a means of self-reflection of their identity, life goals, and interests. Since tattoos and piercing are so popular, this must be true. The purpose of this article is not to encourage or condemn tattoos and body piercings. The purpose is to explain what tattooing and body piercing are, explain the dangers, and express the necessity to carefully evaluate the choice to get a tattoo or piercing.

Tattoos are designs on the skin made with needles and colored ink. Permanent makeup is a type of tattoo. The word tattoo comes from a Tahitian word which means ‘to mark’ and it dates back to 3300 BC. Tattoos were found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies that date back to about 2000 BC.

Body piercing is the practice of puncturing a part of the human body to create an opening in which jewelry may be worn. One can have body piercing almost anywhere on the body. The history of body piercing is obscured by a lack of scholarly reference and because of popular misinformation; however, evidence exists to show it has been practiced since ancient times, in various forms and by both sexes, throughout the world.

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