Getting a tattoo is a serious procedure, and there are many health risks that come along with the process. Before you get inked, there are a few things you should know about the safety of tattoos.
Because a tattoo requires the breaking of skin, it is possible to contract an infection from your tattoo parlor, artist or the tools being used. A number of viruses can be transferred to the skin through unsterile equipment including cases of warts or more serious blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B. The FDA does not closely regulate tattooing, so there are not country-wide health standards for tattoo parlors. Instead, individual county and city governments mandate the practice, leading to wide-ranging tattoo safety standards that vary by location.
Additionally, the FDA does not regularly inspect ink-manufacturing plants for sanitation. Any of the ingredients or machines used to produce tattoo ink could harbor harmful bacteria. Reports are often filed regarding contaminated tattoo ink, which can lead to mild to severe bacterial infections ranging from a red, swollen rash with discharge to fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms. There is also a risk of bacteria spreading through the bloodstream leading to a potentially life-threatening condition called sepsis.
Even if the ink, tattoo parlor and equipment are all sanitary, there are still risk factors to keep in mind when considering a tattoo. Ink ingredients vary depending on brand and color, but they could contain common allergens such as nickel or mercury. Though allergic reactions to tattoo ink are relatively rare, they could produce a painful rash resulting in infection or lead to permanent scarring. There is also potential to experience an allergic reaction years after initially getting a tattoo.
Keep in mind that everyone heals differently. Even with proper care, complications could arise as your tattoo heals. There is a risk of developing granulomas, painful bumps that form when the body’s immune system attempts to ward off foreign substances like tattoo ink. The skin could also form keloids, which are raised, pink, shiny lesions that form within scar tissue to produce a permanent mark.
Along with the risks of infection, tattoos carry the risk of regret. Though tattoo removal often produces excellent results, you may not be a good candidate for the procedure. The tattoo’s color and location play a large role in determining the success of its removal, and your skin may still be slightly discovered after the procedure. Consider all of these potential health and personal risks before getting a tattoo.
Do you have questions about the safety of tattoos? Ask in the comment section.