Tattoos are considered to be more popular and socially accepted nowadays. Tattooing is a trend that started growing during the early 90's. According to a recent study, more than 36% of Americans and Europeans have at least one body tattoo on them. Medias play a great role in increasing the popularity of tattoos through reality shows and magazines with the photographs of celebrities with tattoos on them. Many feel that, beautifying their body with permanent ink helps them to profess their individuality. If you are really interested in getting a tattoo, it will be better to study up on the risks associated with this particular form of body art, and take necessary precautions before going for it.
The biggest risk in getting a tattoo is the selection of your tattoo artist. Consider the following hints before choosing your tattoo artist;
- Go to a professional tattoo artist and try to avoid home-made tattoos, especially made with Indian ink.
- Take a look around the tattoo parlour to conform whether the place is clean, hygienic and brightly lit.
- Make sure that the artist uses new sterilized equipments for each client or thoroughly cleans and sterilizes the equipment using autoclaves.
- Make sure he uses standard safety precautions to prevent infections and he wears rubber gloves.
- Never go to a parlour with less sanitary conditions to get an inexpensive tattoo. Your health matters more than money.
- Make sure that the tattoo artist has credentials, a license and experience.
As tattooing requires the breaking of the skin barrier, it may cause various health risks, including infections and allergic reactions. Getting a tattoo at an accredited professional tattoo parlour is comparatively risk free, but, still it puts you into the following risks;
- As needles are inserted under your skin for tattooing, there is an increased risk for the diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. There are no reported vaccinations against HIV and Hepatitis C. But, you can take vaccinations against the contracting Hepatitis B.
- In addition to these viral infections, there is a risk of bacterial infections and allergies to dyes and needles. Some infections may be mild and treatable. But some may turn sever.
- Infections that can be transmitted due to the unsterilized equipments or contaminated ink includes tetanus, tuberculosis, herpes simplex virus, staph, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, HIV etc.
- It may cause skin infections such as impetigo or school sores.
- Long-term skin diseases like psoriasis, dermatitis and even tumors have been reported as a result of tattoos.
- Thick scars called keloids are more likely to appear among dark skinned people.
- Mental distress due to regret after getting a tattoo. This is reported as one of the main risks after getting a tattoo.
- Occasionally, when a blood vessel gets punctured during the tattooing procedure, a bruise or hematoma may appear.
- Allergic reactions due to some metals present in the ink, especially colored inks, have been medically documented. Nickel present in the ink, mainly caused the metal allergy. Other metals that cause allergies include mercury in red cinnabar, cadmium sulphite, cobalt blue, lead, lithium, copper etc.
- In some temporary tattoos like henna, problems have been reported. Henna tattoos contain a dark brown dye; para-phenylenediamine (PPD) that causes delayed allergic reactions. The reactions include skin necrosis, scarring and hypo-pigmentation. By analyzing some henna dyes, toxic chemicals used in textile and hair dyes has been found in addition to PPD.
- Some hospitals and testing centers will refuse to do MRI scanning of the person with tattoos as there are metal particles in the tattoo which causes a burning pain for them.
- Even if you wish to remove a tattoo, some colors like yellow will breakdown into toxic chemicals and spread in your body.
If you are still planning to get a tattoo, then it's imperative you follow the proper safety precautions. Make sure you are getting a tattoo in a place away from food, hazardous waste and other unsanitary conditions. Finally, after receiving your tattoo, get proper aftercare procedures from your artist and be sure to follow it.