Think Before You Ink: Health Complications of Tattoo

October 04, 2019

We live in times where traditions are not really defined by the practices that have been followed for generations but rather the trends that go viral widely across the world. One such raging trend among youngsters has been that of getting themselves a tattoo.

A tattoo is a form of body art which is created by a tattoo artist using a handheld machine that has a needle attached to it which punctures the skin. The ink is inserted through this needle in the dermis (the second layer of skin below the epidermis).

While tattoos might help you stand out, they are also known to come with various skin complications if not properly handled. It is crucial for anyone planning to get a tattoo to understand the process, be informed about the possibly involved risks and take note of the basic safety precautions and care after getting inked. The ink used in the tattoos breaches the skin, exposing it to skin infections and other health concerns.

Health Complications of Tattoo

Some of the tattoo related complications include the following conditions

  • Allergies
  • Skin infections
  • Blood diseases
  • MRI complications
  • Hepatitis
  • Affect your sweat

Allergies

The ink used for tattoo as well as tattoo dyes, especially coloured ones, are more likely to cause allergic skin reactions, like itchy rashes, redness, etc. at times even years after getting the tattoo.

Skin infections

Skin problems or a skin infection is the most obvious form of health concern that can arise after getting a tattoo. Sometimes a granuloma (an area of inflammation) can also be formed around the tattoo ink or keloids, which are raised areas as a result of an overgrowth of scar tissue.

Blood diseases

Since the ink penetrates through the skin, if the instrument used does not meet the hygiene standards, it can be contaminated with someone’s infected blood, which can in turn lead to several blood-borne diseases.

MRI complications:

In some cases, tattoo pigments can interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams due to swelling or burning in the affected areas during MRI, which is a result of getting permanent tattoos. Although the prevalence of this is quite rare.

Hepatitis:

Getting a tattoo also comes with the major risk of getting Hepatitis, which is known to exclusively transfer from people who share needles.

Affect your sweat

Tattoos have also been noted too often reduce the amount of sweat released from a person’s body, which in turn can impact the body temperature and other internal functions.

Hence, it is very important to research well before getting inked.

Author:

Dr. Kisalay Saurav (Consultant – Dermatology)

Columbia Asia Hospital, Bengaluru

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