Getting your skin inked? Think well before you step in
We are living in the times where traditions are not really defined by the practices that have been followed from 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 or rather various tattoos in several parts of their body in numerous designs, colors, and meanings. Tattoos have often been considered as common forms of self-expression but now they are also becoming symbols of being young and cool or a rebel. In basic understanding, 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. From the hygiene of the artist to the needle and the ink used to your skin’s reception to it, permanent tattoo arts are way more than what meets the surface.
The ink used in the tattoos breaches the skin, exposing it to skin infections and other health concerns. Some of the possible health complications include:
· Allergies: The ink used for tattoo as well as the tattoo dyes especially the colored ones, are more likely to allergic skin reactions, triggering certain allergies in the skin like itchy rashes at the tattoo site, 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 meets the hygiene standards, it can be contaminated with someone’s infected blood which can in turn lead to several blood-borne diseases in the person getting a tattoo.
· 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 a major concern of getting Hepatitis, which is known to exclusively transfer from persons who share needles.
· Affect your sweat: Tattoos have also been noted to often reduce the amount of sweat released from a person’s body which in turn can impact the body temperature and other internal functioning.
Hence, it is very important to well research about the artist and the place you are getting your tattoo done from and also to take necessary care and precautions. Some tips to keep in mind before and after getting a tattoo are:
§ Be sure about getting a permanent tattoo.
§ Know your tattoo artist and the tattoo parlor. Ensure the hygiene of the place and the instrument used.
§ Keep the skin where the tattoo is done clean.
§ Wash it gently and avoid soap or direct streams of water on the newly tattooed skin.
§ Keep the area moisturized. Pat it and not rub.
§ Avoid harsh sun exposure and even swimming for some time.
§ Do not wear sticky clothes in the area you have got the tattoo.
§ Allow at least two weeks for it to completely settle and heal. Discuss with your tattoo artist as well.
§ If you face excessive continued itching over a prolonged period in the tattooed area or any other infections or concerns, check with your doctor.
The impacts of tattoo on your skin might not always show up immediately but can visit as long-term effects on various body organs like the immune system, pathology specimen interpretation, and other unforeseen health complications like the ones mentioned above. It is therefore important to know the whereabouts and think well before you get your skin inked.
Dr. Kisalay Saurav, Consultant – Dermatology, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal