TLC Star Shauna Rae Says Her 4 Tattoos May Help Her Look Older — But 'I Got Them for Personal Reasons'

"I have them to help me carry on moments in my life," Shauna Rae Lesick tells PEOPLE

Shauna Rae Lesick has no regrets when it comes to her tattoos.

The 22-year-old TLC star stands at 3'10" and often gets mistaken for an 8-year-old, but Lesick says the sole purpose of her tattoos isn't to look older.

"I think deep down they could be correlated, but it's also just something that I naturally picked up because of the people I hang out with," Lesick says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. "It may help me look older, but at the end of the day, I have my tattoos for personal reasons. I have them to help me carry on moments in my life."

When she was 6 months old, Lesick was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that required surgery and three years of chemotherapy. The treatments were successful, but when Lesick was 5, doctors discovered that her pituitary (which is responsible for producing hormones in the body that control metabolism and growth) had been rendered dormant.

Synthetic hormone injections helped her grow another 8 inches in height, but when she hit puberty at 16, her bones permanently fused, leaving her just shy of 4 ft. tall. She was diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism.

For more on Shauna Rae pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

Patty gets a good look at Shauna’s fresh ink by artist Joel Macdonald.

In her reality series, I Am Shauna Rae, Lesick shares what it's like to be a young, single woman with her condition which affects less than 8,000 people in the United States.

Lesick, who also uses a vape and drinks socially, says, "It's what I'm comfortable with doing. It's a personal decision. And as I mature in age, those things will change."

Left to right. Patty (Mom), Shauna, Una (dog with red collar), Rylee (Shauna sister), Mark (Shauna step dad), Koda (dog in front of Rylee) and Tara (Shauna sister)

During one episode, Lesick's stepdad Mark suggests that she sometimes dresses more proactively to overcompensate for the fact that people mistake her as much younger than she is.

"I guess I half agree," she said, adding, "Because personally, I dress the way I want to dress. I don't care what anyone thinks. I dress for myself, not for anyone else. If that's a little more provocative, if that shows a little more skin, then that's how I dress. It makes me comfortable to be who I am."

I Am Shauna Rae airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.

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