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Tattoo artists in Utah warn against dangers of DIY ink

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 23:54:28-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Tattoo artists say it's a concerning trend that's sweeping through Salt Lake City and much of the country.

Do-it-yourself tattoos using ink and medium-sized sewing needless, as well as other various easy-to-find items, are popping up more and more.

"It's terrible, and dangerous," said Luke Jensen, co-owner of Aloha Salt Lake Tattoo.

Jensen said he's seeing more and more parents walking in with their kids who have tried a do-it-yourself tattoo at home, and failed.

“It happens so often, to be honest. Especially recently,” Jensen added.

The style of DIY tattoos is called Stick'n'poke, and it was once synonymous with prison-style tattoos. However, thanks to instructions on YouTube, supplies at local fabric stores, and even all-in-one kits for purchase, relatively anyone can try to make their own tattoo from home.

"We started Googling them," Jensen said. "They start anywhere from $45 to $80 bucks."

That's a far cry from the price you'll pay in a shop. Jensen thinks that's one of the reasons for the trend. He thinks another is age.

Many tattoo shops in Utah won't tattoo anyone under the age of 18. And not coincidentally, many of the people buying the online kits or trying the DIY tattoos at home are under the age of 18.

However, the decisions they are making right now could last for a lifetime.

"These tattoos are real, and can be permanent," Jensen added. "They can also cause infection. The Health Department holds us to high standards, and there's a reason for that."