5 Potential Health Risks To Be Aware Of Before Getting A Tattoo
In contemporary society, tattoos have been popularized by music, fashion, and pop culture. The art of permanently marking the skin with ink has been practiced all around the world from ancient times. Today, people usually get tattoos for their aesthetic appeal or for the associated symbolic and personal meaning. As beautiful as the process may be, it is essential to keep in mind the possible health risks associated with it. Read on to find out more.
How Many People Have Tattoos?
Tattooing became popular initially in a few subcultures and soon took the leap to mainstream culture. Some celebrities started sporting ink and some tattoo artists become celebrities. Tattoo culture eventually got their own TV shows and religious audiences. According to statistics published by Pew Research Center, “Gen Nexters, Americans in the 18-25 age bracket, are not afraid to express themselves through their appearance and tattoos are the most popular form of self-expression — more than one-in-three (36%) now has one.” The report also shows that at least 40% of the previous generation (Gen Xers) had tattoos.
Possible Health Risks
1. Risk Of Infection
Getting tattooed in an unhygienic setting or while using equipment that isn’t sterile poses a large risk of infection. Apart from the sanitation standards followed by your tattoo artist, another aspect to be cautious about is the tattoo ink itself. In some cases, infection can arise as a result of using ink that has been contaminated by bacteria or mold. Non-sterile water that is used to dilute the ink may also be a possible factor for the spread of infection. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “There’s no sure-fire way to tell if the ink is safe. An ink can be contaminated even if the container is sealed or the label says the product is sterile.”
2. Risk Of Developing Allergies
It is possible although rare, for people to develop an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink as they may contain allergens such as nickel and mercury. This allergic reaction may leave the skin inflamed, scarred, red, scaly, or swollen. The most common allergic reaction is acute inflammatory allergic reaction. Apart from this, the skin may also develop allergic reactions as a result of direct exposure of sunlight on the tattooed area. If you develop a persistent allergic reaction, consult a dermatologist immediately.
3. Other Skin Reactions
Because the process of tattooing involves depositing ink beneath the layers of the skin, it is not uncommon for your skin to react to it adversely. There is a possibility of developing scar tissue over the tattooed area. This usually occurs when the needle is inserted deeper than necessary causing tissue damage. According to the FDA, it is also possible to develop granulomas which are small knots or bumps that forms around the substance that the body perceives as foreign.
4. Tattoos And MRI Scanning
There have been reports that state that the radio frequency waves produced by an MRI scan may be hampered by the ingredients in the tattoo ink. Few studies have reported patients experiencing first degree burns as a result of the exposure to an MRI after getting a tattoo. Although the damage in most cases is mild, it’s best to inform your medical service provider that you have a tattoo or are planning to get one.
5. Tattoo Removal And Permanent Scarring
Tattoo removal is not as simple as getting a tattoo. It involves the use of a laser to break down the pigments beneath the skin and dissolve them. The FDA reports that they are not yet aware of the short and long-term consequences that this will cause. Apart from this, the process can be painful and may cause permanent scarring.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.