How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Tattoo in Illinois in 2023?

With the increasing popularity of tattoos in society and the clear increase in the number of tattoed folks, nations throughout the world were forced to loosen their anti-tattooing legislation.

In some situations, this meant letting people of all ages acquire tattoos, while others imposed age restrictions.

When it comes to tattoos and minors, each state in the United States has its own set of rules. Some states allow minors as young as 14 to acquire tattoos with parental approval, while others require minors to be 18 to get tattooed.

But how old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Illinois?

If you’re a minor in Illinois looking for your first tattoo, you’re certainly curious about the state’s rules. And you’re in the right place.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Tattoo in Illinois?

If you’re still under 18, unfortunately, you’re unlikely to appreciate the following news:

As things stand, Illinois strictly prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from getting a tattoo. There are no exceptions for parental approval or anything else. So, even if your mom and dad are on board with you getting inked up, it’s still illegal.

Simply put, there’s no other way but to wait until you turn 18. Once you’re of age, you can get tattooed without any legal issues.

What’s more, the state even forbids minors to stay on the premises of tattoo shops. So, if you’re under 18 and enter a tattoo studio in Illinois, you can be asked to leave.

Without a doubt, the “Prairie State”, as it’s commonly known, has one of if not the strictest tattoo laws in the country.

Do keep in mind, however, that these laws are subject to change at any time, so it’s always best to check with your local body art establishment or an attorney before getting inked.

Neighboring States as Alternatives

Of course, if you’re hell-bent on getting a tattoo before your 18th birthday, you could always cross state lines to take advantage of more lenient legislation.

For example, in Indiana, minors as young as 14 can get tattoos with parental permission. In Missouri, the minimum age is 16. So, depending on where you live in Illinois, either of these neighboring states could be a viable option.

What’s more, if you live close to the Wisconsin border, you can freely get tattooed there at the age of 16 without any parental approval required.

Artist Has the Final Say

Bear in mind that even if you travel to a state with more lenient age restrictions, it’s ultimately up to the artist whether they want to tattoo you or not.

In other words, they can legally refuse to give you a tattoo if they think you’re too young, even if you meet the state’s requirements. So, don’t be surprised or offended if a tattooist turns you away.

They may refuse to tattoo someone under the age of 18 for a variety of reasons, including personal views, the parlor’s policy, and so on.

The best way to minimize frustration and wasted time is to phone around and inquire! Some tattoo businesses may have a policy prohibiting kids from being tattooed, while others may be receptive to it on a case-by-case basis.

Should You Get a Tattoo Under 18?

Tattoos are undeniably permanent – once inked, they’re there for good (unless you go through the painful and expensive process of laser removal).

So, before making such a significant decision, consider whether you’re certain about the design, placement, and, most importantly, whether you’re certain about getting a tattoo for the rest of your life.

It’s fairly uncommon for people who acquire tattoos while they’re young to come to regret their decision later in life. So, if you’re not sure about having a tattoo, perhaps wait a few years till you are.

In the meantime, you may get a temporary tattoo or henna tattoo to hold you over until you reach the age of 18 and can get the real thing!