Millennials Opting To Correct Radical Tattoos And Piercings


While millennials are well known for their self expression and dramatic image, more and more are conforming to the idea that radical tattoos and piercings are a thing of the past.

More and more doctors are taking on young patients for reconstructive surgery due to over piercing.  

Dr. Harris Sterman, chief of plastic surgery at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, feels like “Some people get really carried away.” While some choose more than one hole, the real damage is seen from the many large heavy objects people are placing in those holes, rather than the piercings alone.


Photo Credit: (Anna Mazur)

The corrections are not just happening to the ears. As stated in, “Many are seeking to reverse the impulsive, perhaps keg-fueled decisions of their not-quite-lost youths. That tongue piercing, that bone through the nose, that conspicuously placed tattoo you got in college may not go over so big now in a job interview, or in the boardroom.”

According to a 2012 Pew Research study, an estimated 36 percent of Americans have at least one piercing somewhere other than an earlobe, with as much as 56 percent for those between 17 and 25.

Dr. Laurence Milgrim, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Teaneck, said, “There has been an influx of people, millennials in particular, who have a lot of body piercings — mainly facial piercings — that they are looking to change. These are large earring holes, larger than the usual stud hole. When the earlobe and other parts of their bodies are expanded, they have trouble in the classic work force. Nose piercings, ear piercings … and tattoo removal, especially on the neck, where it’s noticeable, has become popular.”

By millennials “pushing the fashion envelope, like seen with gauge earrings, ” they are advancing the rate at which their tissue weakens. The discs placed inside of a piercing causes the tissue to stretch rapidly leaving the skin looking like a string of pasta when the piercing is removed.


While deformities do play a large role in the removal of the extreme piercings, it is believed that due to the fact that young adults are moving into a more conservative phase of their life, the piercings are no longer desirable.

Eugene Gentile, director of the Undergraduate Career Management Office at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick said, “We tell people take your nose ring out. But then you’re looking at that great big hole. One thing I teach is when you’re on an interview, you want a person focusing on your eyes and your mouth. Not to be distracted by whatever adornment you have on your body.”

“A lot of things that are great for the club are not great for the interview,” he adds. “One of the things we teach is wear a very conservative suit. And I get push-back on that. ‘Do you want us all to look the same? You told us to differentiate ourselves.’ It sounds contradictory, but I want a dark suit and a light shirt or blouse so that people are looking at your face and listening to what you say. The tattoo doesn’t help. It is incredibly distracting.”

With the increased desire to remove piercings and tattoos, there are now several corrective options.

For piercings, reconstructive surgery using special techniques to aid the healing process and reducing the scarring that can occur. The 10 to 15 process is even covered by some insurance plans.


Photo Credit: (The Untattoo Parlor – Portland, Oregon)

As for tattoos, “removals over the years have gotten so much better. We have better lasers, and today, the removal is not as noticeable as it used to be,” Milgrim says.

Prior tattoo removal options would often leave residual tattoo particles on the skin.

Tattoos can be challenging to remove depending on the color used.

Milgrim quoted ear reconstruction costing between $1,000 and $2,000, while tattoo removal can be anywhere from $500 to $1,500.



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