According to a 2012 Harris poll, 21 percent of U.S. adults have at least one tattoo. This is up from 14 percent in 2008. With this growing number of people opting to express themselves with tattoos, it is important to ask the question: Is it safe? The answer to that question is – it depends.
Since the tattoo industry is not regulated, it is important for consumers to be aware of potential dangers. If you are thinking about getting inked, you should be aware of the following health risks of tattoos:
- Having an allergic reaction to tattoo dyes is relatively rare but can occur even years after a tattoo is applied.
- Since blood is involved, infections such as tetanus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can occur from unsterile procedures and equipment.
- Skin cancer is a potential risk since it’s harder to detect changes to moles. It is recommended to avoid tattooing over moles.
- People with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema or keloid scarring should check with a dermatologist prior to getting a tattoo.
Since getting a tattoo is often a spontaneous decision, it’s important to first consider the risks and do your research before taking the leap. Being diligent will ensure your new body art doesn’t come at a price. Before getting a tattoo, make sure:
- The tattoo parlor is professional and the artists are experienced.
- The inks being used are manufactured for tattoos.
- The tattoo parlor is clean and follows appropriate safety procedures.
- All needles, inks, gloves, ointments, etc. are single-use.
- If you suspect that you have an infection from a tattoo, call your doctor.
Do you have a tattoo, or are you considering getting one? Tell us below.