Are Tattoos Safe? Health Risks Related to Tattooing

Tattooing is as ancient as civilization, yet even though we’ve been permanently painting our flesh for a thousand years, it’s still not risk-free. Here are some of the issues that might arise as a result of tattoos.

Infections can be spread by using tattoo instruments. Blood and body fluids come into touch with these instruments. They can spread infections including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, TB, and HIV if not adequately sterilized.

Most current tattoo shops utilize single-use needles. Thus this is an uncommon occurrence. Amateur tattooing is hazardous (for example, in jails or unregulated tattoo parlors).

Allergic reactions to tattoo inks are uncommon, although they can happen. When a tattoo is exposed to sunlight, it can cause red, yellow, and even white ink to react on the skin.

Allergic skin responses take the form of a rash. Tattoo inks often used include metallic salt and may contain lead, although not in dangerous proportions. Organic colors that are free of heavy metals may pose a greater risk. According to the European Commission, 40 percent of organic tattoo colorants used in Europe are not permitted for cosmetic use, and 20% of them include a carcinogenic aromatic amine.

Large regions of black ink in tattoos might create issues during MRI scans in rare situations. Iron oxide is found in black ink, and an MRI scanner can heat it by passing an electrical current across it. As previously said, this is an uncommon occurrence, and having a tattoo should not prevent you from getting an MRI if required.

Tattoo pigments can cause granulomas, lichenoid illnesses, cement dermatitis, collagen deposits, discoid lupus erythematosus, eczematous eruptions, hyperkeratosis, and parakeratosis, and keloids, among other skin disorders.

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Tattoos can create difficulties even if they have been on the skin for a long period. Eczematous dermatitis, for example, might emerge anywhere from months to twenty years following the previous tattoo.

When a tattooing needle punctures a blood vessel, it might result in a hematoma (bruise). These bruises can form as halos around tattoos or as a single bigger bruise if blood pools in a pool, and they normally recover in a week.

Large particles from the ink pigment might build up in lymph nodes, irritating. Lymph nodes may also become stained due to the pigment, which, when combined with inflammation, can provide a false positive for melanoma. This can make it harder to diagnose melanoma in a patient who has tattoos.

Blood thinners (drugs that stop blood from clotting) might make tattooing more difficult since they increase bleeding. As a result, they prolong tattoo healing time, and because they “wipe away” the ink, it will take longer (and more tattooing) to get enough ink into the skin.

The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate tattooing or tattoo ink in the United States, a major issue.

Nobody knows for sure what’s in tattoo pigments, especially those used in the ultraviolet (UV) and glow-in-the-dark inks. “Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade hues acceptable for printers’ ink or vehicle paint,” according to the Food and Drug Administration.