These days more and more people are sporting a tattoo to look cool, adventurous or trendy. This has been made all the more popular by the celebrities. Although tattoos may represent impressive body art, they are also associated with causing skin infections and other health-related risks if proper safety precautions are not taken.

Body Tattoo and Safety Concerns

Machines with needles (like sewing machines) cut through the skin and then pour pigmented ink into the scar. This is how tattoos are made. Do you realize that during tattooing, external objects come in contact with your blood which heightens the danger of cross-contamination? Here are some known health risks of getting a tattoo:

  1. Skin infections
  2. Allergy reactions to the ink manifesting as rashes, itching, skin bumps etc.
  3. Blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis B and C, HIV, tetanus and tuberculosis
  4. Dyes may have carcinogenic effect

Tips to get a Safe Tattoo

  1. Take your time to research, discuss and think through before you get a tattoo. It is going to be permanent, painful and expensive. Don’t take a hasty decision.
  2. While choosing the right tattoo artist, the priority should not be price but reputation, hygiene and safety practices.
  3. Visit the shop beforehand to talk to the tattoo artist and his experience, check the facility and how they operate.
  4. Tattoo studios should be very clean and must have an autoclave to sterilize the equipment.
  5. Staff should be wearing fresh single-use latex gloves which they dispose of after each procedure.
  6. Anything (gloves, needles etc.) that touches your skin should be sterilized and unwrapped before you.
  7. If you suffer from any medical condition, first check with your doctor and also inform the tattoo artist.
  8. Get your tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations done.
  9. The tattoo artist should disinfect the skin area that needs to be operated on.
  10. Tattoo artist takes ink from a single-use cups which are later disposed of. Ink should never be taken or returned from the source bucket because it can be contaminated.
  11. Don’t be lured by cheaper prices.

Related Article: Health Implication of Tattoo Removal. – is it safe?

Follow the aftercare instructions like:

  • Remove bandage after 8-12 hours
  • The tattoo takes a couple of weeks to heal so during this time gently wash with a recommended antibacterial soap and don’t rub or itch, apply ointment till scabs flake off. Avoid swimming or soaking water till completed heal.
  • After fully healed, apply a good moisturizing and sunscreen lotion to avoid damage from sunlight.