How Can Getting a Tattoo Be Dangerous?

From not taking adequate hygienic measures, we could contract diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis.

A lovely drawing on the skin may seem attractive to lots of people, but its side effects, of which we are not always informed, can also be dangerous. Before you get that amazing tattoo, you should educate yourself about what it means and what consequences it can have for your health.

The tattoo artist usually uses an electric machine with disposable needs that injects colored inks into the lower layer of the skin, the dermis. The upper layer, or epidermis, does not retain the color but rather sheds it as the skin is renewed as following an injury, which is why the ink is deposited into the lower layer of the skin where it will stay permanently, which is why it is so difficult to remove a tattoo.

Why is it dangerous?

First and foremost, you should seek out a salon approved by your country’s health authorities, where the professionals are qualified, you can be sure that the instruments and products used are of the best quality, and where only the best hygienic measures are taken to avoid contagion of such diseases as HIV, tetanus, hepatitis, and any other infection that is transmitted through the blood.

In any case, tattoos can produce a variety of skin complications such as granulomas (an inflammation caused by an auto-immune reaction) and kelloid scars that can appear suddenly from inflammatory or allergic reactions even years after you get your tattoo. You should also avoid getting a tattoo that covers a mole as it can later impede proper analysis of the skin should you find yourself at risk of cancerous complications.

How can I prevent complications?

Even a salon has been fully authorized to practice by health authorities, it is still important to make sure on your own time that they take the best precautions to avoid contagion or contamination of tools. For example, you should make sure that the salon uses new disposable needles for each new client. You should also confirm that they properly dispose of used ink and ink receptacles, as they can also be a dangerous source of infection.

You should also make sure that the establishment has an autoclave, to sterilize all of its tools, and that the surfaces of the establishment are regularly cleaned with disinfectant. The tattoo artist should wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap and use disposable latex gloves. Once they are done, they should provide you with a guide on how to care for your tattoo in order to avoid infection and maintain your tattoo intact. It is in your best interest to discuss all of these issues before you make your final appointment.

To keep in mind…

Before you get something permanently etched into your skin, you should take time to remember that if you ever get sick of it, getting rid of it is expensive and extremely painful. You could also end up with a scar where your tattoo formerly was. There are so many people that go to health centers to get rid of old tattoos because of the complications that have arisen from them over time.

You should also take into account that you may one day gain weight, which may cause your tattoo to stretch and warp. The same is also true of pregnancy, which is why it is best for women to avoid tattooing their chests and stomach area as an artistic canvas.

Modern alternatives

If you want a tattoo but you are not sure if you’ll still like it later, you’re in luck. Biodegradable inks that are less toxic and much easier to get rid of than the traditional ink are currently being developed. The only inconvenience of these inks is that they’re much more expensive than the regular ink and also can be quite difficult to come by.

It is very important to keep in mind and check for the ink quality, because even if you think you’re saving money at the start, cheap tattoos can end up being quite expensive if they later require medical attention or need to be removed due to complications. There are several things you should know about the way inks and pigments can be contaminated:

  • The use of contaminated ingredients during production.
  • Manufacturing processes that introduce contaminants.
  • Anti-hygienic practices that contaminate the ink receptacles.
  • The use of water that has not been properly sterilized to dilute the inks.
  • The use of inks that are past their expiration date.

Images courtesy of Renato and Luis Fernandez.