Tattoos and health risks

Tattoos and health risks – Tribune Online

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I want to know if there are any health risks associated with tattoos.

Abiodun (by SMS)

 

A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on the skin with tattoo ink. Usually, a tattoo artist uses a handheld machine that acts much like a sewing machine. The machine has needles that pierce the skin many times. With every puncture, the needles insert tiny drops of ink into the top layer of the skin. Tattooing causes a small amount of bleeding and some pain. As they create tattoos, tattoos artists usually don’t use medicine to ease pain, called anesthetic.

The process of getting a tattoo breaks the skin. That means skin infections and other health problems can develop afterward. The risks include: Tattoo ink can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. This can happen even years after getting a tattoo. Red ink tends to be more prone to allergic reactions that other tattoo ink colors. A skin infection is possible after getting a tattoo.

An infection might be due to contaminated ink or equipment that isn’t sterilized correctly. Getting a tattoo at a studio that doesn’t follow good safety steps also can raise your risk of a skin infection. Sometimes an area of inflammation can form around tattoo ink. This is called a granuloma. Tattooing also can lead to keloids. Keloids are raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.

If equipment used to create a tattoo has infected blood on it, you can get diseases that are spread through blood. Examples include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. To lower your risk, get vaccinated for hepatitis B before you get a tattoo.

Rarely, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam may trigger burning pain in the tattooed area. Sometimes, tattoos can lower the quality of an MRI image. You might need medicine or other treatment if you develop an allergic reaction, infection or other health problems because of a tattoo.

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