As with many American states, Oregon places age restrictions on which individuals may receive a tattoo. Just as state and federal governments restrict minors from activities like voting, drinking and smoking, laws placed on body art aim to protect minors from possible abuse or coercion due to their age and inexperience.
In Oregon, individuals must be at least 18 before receiving a tattoo. Violation of this law results in a fine and possible revocation of the artist's license to tattoo in the state. The Department of Health determines the fine.
Oregon does not allow an exception for parental consent or supervision for tattooing a minor. If any individual under age 18 receives a tattoo, under any circumstances, it is illegal.
Tattoo artists in Oregon must have received at least 368 training hours at a tattooing school approved by the Oregon Department of Education. Oregon requires the artist to clean and shave the area of the tattoo, keep records for each client and provide both written and verbal instructions of immediate tattoo care. Those applying for a tattoo-artist license must have graduated from high school or received an equivalent degree.
Comparison to Other States
While Oregon prohibits all tattooing of minors, several other states -- including neighboring Idaho -- allow minors to receive tattoos with a parent or guardian’s in-person or written consent. In Idaho, a minor as young as 14 years old may receive a tattoo with a guardian’s in-person consent. Other states bordering Oregon -- including California, Nevada and Washington -- prohibit the tattooing of minors. The most restrictive age limit is in Illinois, where it is illegal to tattoo anyone under 21 -- with no exception for parental consent.