How Homemade Tattoos Are Affecting Teens

Stick and pokes can lead to harmful consequences


Brett Sayles, Pexels

Stick and poke tattoos must always be done with good hygiene. Even so, having a stick and poke puts at risk of life-threatening infections and hepatitis.

Lily Moore, Reporter

“Stick and poke” is a form of body modification most popular in teenagers. This is done by pushing ink into the dermis (inner layer of skin) in a coordinated manner to create an image. By doing this, you are injecting a foreign liquid into your body which can become harmful. This form of expression is one of the only ways teens can create permanent art. 

While stick and pokes can be done well and safely, the majority of the time they are done poorly and with disgraceful hygiene. This form of art was popular during medieval times, considering it was the only way to have tattoos. The oldest known stick and poke was from 300 BC on a woman named Hathor Amunet (who is now worshiped as a deity). 

Sophomore Sammy Knickmeyer wanted to get a tattoo about a year ago to represent a symbol she uses every day. 

“I always use the smiley emoticon so when my friend asked if I wanted a stick and poke that’s the first thing I thought of,” Knickmeyer said.  She has her tattoo on the inside of her finger which is a common place for these. However, it can be hard to hide, as most people with this form of tattoos are hiding them from parents or guardians. 

“I had to hide it from my family for a while which was stressful,” Knickmeyer states. The reason being that this is the only form of tattoo art that is easily ‘DIY-able’ meaning you don’t need the money, time, or professionality of going to a shop. 

Kirk Nitzsche of Threshold Body art studio in St. Charles, claims that this is an unsanitary and unwise practice. 

“I feel it is (a) very unsafe practice and it’s not very smart, and the technological advancements in sterilization have made the industry much safer,” Nitzsche said. He also claims that “good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good” by stating that he reiterated the fact that by getting a stick and poke done you are not only putting yourself at risk you are also putting a design on your body that is more times than not, unprofessional and poorly done. Instead, he suggests, “go to a reputable clean licensed establishment.”

So all in all, stick and pokes are a form of body modification that is going out of style. If you want to give yourself or someone else a stick and poke make sure it is done well and with good hygiene. Remember, that by having a stick and poke you put yourself and others at risk of life-threatening infections and hepatitis.