Health Risks of Tattoos

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 26, 2011
Quick Bites

Tattoo breaks the skin and makes it weaker, contracting all sorts of skin problems you never imagined.

  • Studies in the past have pointed out to Hepatitis infections being a common disease in people with tattoos.
  • Ingredients in tattoo ink can be a cause for allergic reactions that you may be less known to.
  • Scarring is a common consequence of less cared-for tattoos.

A tattoo breaks the skin and makes it open to different risks that are associated with the process itself such as contracting blood-borne diseases, allergic reactions and skin infections or disorders.

Man with tattooed armsIf you have been hung on the thought of getting yourself inked, there are a set of health risks associated with the trend that you must give a though to before going for it. According to Sayer, author of Body Piercing and Tattooing: The Hidden Dangers of Body Art, “All body modification involves some damage to and healing of the body to complete the process. When considering the options, it is important to learn as much as possible about the modification itself, how it heals, and how you should care for it.”

[Read: Tattoo Removal Techniques]

Infection: One is at a great risk of infection as the tattoo instrument comes into contact with blood. Unsterilised tools can lead to serious infections of the skin while many life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV amongst many other blood borne diseases are the risks. A deadly skin infection like cellulitis is a health risk. A study done in 2001 by the University of Texas South-western Medical Center suggested that it is likely that the risk of popularity in tattoos and the increase in Hepatitis C infections is correlated. For the study, about 600 patients were surveyed and it was found that about 22 per cent of the patients with tattoos were infected by infected by the virus because of the procedure and as opposed to just 3.5 per cent of Hepatitis C patients who did not have tattoos.

[Read: Different Types of Tattoos]

Allergic reaction: According to the book, Dermatologic Complications with Body Art, “Tattoo colors consist of inorganic pigments and mostly organic dyes, or both.” These dyes or pigments can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Swelling, itching accompanied by secretions can be some forms of allergic reactions. Sometimes, an injury to the tissue may also occur. Skin reaction such as contact dermatitis is a common risk as well.

Scarring: Improperly done tattoos put you at risk of scarring along with raised scars or keloids. Also, if you do not take good care of your tattoo and pick at the scab, there is a high risk of infection and scarring that may also, alter the tattoo’s design.

Complications during MRI: There is a chance that tattoos may lead to swelling or burning in the affected area when one is going through an MRI scan. In some people, the pigments present in the tattoo ink, can interfere with the quality of the design when going through an MRI scan.


Read more articles on Body Art & Tattoo.

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