YOUNG people are being urged to "think before they ink" amid concerns teenage tattoos can damage future employment chances.
According to recruitment specialists and even tattooists themselves, a visible design could put off potential employers, although several firms that spoke to the Advertiser insisted they would have no qualms about hiring someone with body art.
Sydney Kerosene, receptionist at tattoo and piercing shop Timebomb, in High Street, said: "Although so many people have tattoos these days, there is still a stigma among some employers. We're aware that many 18-year-olds don't know what they want to do yet, so we rarely tattoo hands or necks if it is their first tattoo.
"When I've gone for interviews myself before I've covered up my tattoos as best as I can. You never know if the employer will be put off otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I love tattoos, but some people see a problem with them."
Toni Camilleri, recruitment agent in Central Croydon, agreed that some body art could cause problems in interviews.
She said: "If a tattoo is in an obvious place, like the face or hands, then it can affect their chances of getting a job. Employers can be judgemental on a person's appearance, especially if they're in a role representing the company a lot, or for senior positions like a doctor or a lawyer."
In contrast, employers such as Miranda Ferrara, manager of Velvet beauty salon in Wickham Road, Shirley admits she has no fear of the needle.
"It's a way of expressing yourself" she said.
"Who doesn't have them these days? It doesn't affect a person's work. I'm all for tattoos."
In some industries image is crucial. Up and coming actress Natalie Martins, of Farleigh Road, Selsdon, said: "I'm fairly new to the industry so it's important to keep the door as wide open as possible. By getting a tattoo I run the risk of limiting myself to fewer roles.
"If I was a tattoo-covered star like Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp I'd be able to get away with it.
"If I have tattoos up my arm and I'm auditioning to play the part of a schoolgirl, I can guarantee I wouldn't get the job."
Mercedes Rajner, receptionist at Carpe Diem tattoo studio in St George's Walk, said young people are influenced by celebrities.
She said: "Often customers ask for stars on the back of their neck, like Rihanna, or a sleeve like The Rock. Their fans regularly want the same design.
"I believe tattoos are becoming more accepted in society, so many people have them nowadays."Employers want ink work covered WE ASKED businesses in Croydon whether they would employ someone with a tattoo... Kenneth Mathews, of DC Tann Butchers, in South Croydon said: "As long as the person isn't covered in tattoos then it shouldn't be a big issue. "But if they have tattoos all down their arm then it can look as though they're from a more shabby place, which isn't the impression we want to give to customers. So they just have to make sure they can cover them up if they work for me." Financial adviser Mark Pugh, founder of Support Business, in Windmill Road, said: "If someone is thinking of being a lawyer then tattoos can be an issue if they are visible, but if they have a suit and tie on, who cares?" Debbie Estaron, owner of Croydon Fancy Dress in Stoats Ness Road, Coulsdon, said: "If a person is able to cover up a tattoo then it shouldn't be a problem. So many people have them nowadays." Nicila Serpillo, owner of Todays Cafe, in Brighton Road, said: "It's a rare issue that I don't have to think of very often. If somebody only has a few tattoos then it wouldn't put me off hiring them."