Know the Risks before Getting Yourself Inked

From tribal culture to the mainstream, tattoos have come off a long way. Once a traditional rite, a signifier of precarious associations and a symbol of freakish deviance of the establishment and conventions, tattoos have evolved a way too much. In the 21st century, tattoos are more of a trend, a style statement; commercialized and is readily available for everyone who wants to get inked. Multiple markings with colourful and quirky designs have become the hot items of today’s fashion industry.

But, with its growing popularity, tattoos are also associated with a host of serious skin disorders. Several reports published by FDA have blamed unregulated tattoo inks and unhygienic practices for causing infections, allergies, rashes, blisters and many other serious skin disorders including skin cancer (melanomas).

So, before you think of getting yourself inked, contemplate on the risk factors of tattooing listed below:

Infection, the Biggest Concern

So far, most of the clinical reports have linked the tattoo inks with major skin infections. Apart from unpleasant itching or swelling, infection comes with a number of serious concerns. Even with the sterilized needle, one can get infected while tattooing. This happens when bacteria contaminate the ink. Some tattoo infections don’t even respond to antibiotics and over time turns out fatal.

Allergies, that occur immediately

Allergies occur as soon as the tattoo ink seeps into the skin.  Many people don’t know about this fact till the time they get themselves tattooed.  In some cases, allergic reactions are delayed and come to surface months after the tattoo is done. Skin rashes, redness, blisters are common symptoms of allergic reactions which happens as an aftereffect of this body art.

Permanent Scarring that Leads to Unwanted Spot

Tattoos often develop scar tissues that resemble small bumps on the tattoo site. It forms when your body is attempting to remove the foreign substance (the ink) out of it. Probably, the tattoo pigment is causing severe injury/trauma to the skin. This is also clinically known as ‘Keloid’ formation.

Formation of Granulomas

The exogenous pigment of the tattoo ink that the body at times perceives as a foreign element- is also extremely injurious. Often it develops small nodules at the tattoo site filled with pus.  Blisters may also appear alongside.

MRI Complications

People with tattoo have experienced swelling and inflammation in the tattooed area during the MRI procedure.  Although it’s pretty rare, the symptom continues to stay for a month or two after getting the MRI done.

Risk of Removal

That’s indeed the regrettable chapter of getting a tattoo. You have to go through several laser or painstaking dermabrasion sessions, which are expensive and potentially painful. Moreover, the tattooed skin will never get back its original tone even after safe removal. There will be scar tissues in the inked area. Apart from the dermabrasion techniques, modern day state-of-the-art laser sessions also tend to create serious side effects.

According to Dr. Linda Katz, director of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, getting a tattoo comes with its own share of risks. So, always think twice before getting tattooing done, because once painted, removing the ink can be really excruciating.

She has also offered some good advice about the preventive measures that one should take after getting a tattoo.  It will keep the risks of infection at bay.

Tattoo Aftercare

  1. Do not remove the bandage from your tattoo before 24 hours. It’s important to keep away the air borne bacteria away during the initial phase.
  2. Keeping the tattoo area clean and dry is extremely important. Immediately after removing the bandage, wash the tattooed place with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Avoid rubbing. Instead pat it dry with a soft towel. Repeat the process for several weeks.
  3. Apply any antibiotic ointment, rich in Vitamin A and D, immediately after cleaning the tattooed zone. It will keep the infection causing agents at bay. It’s also important to keep the tattooed site moisturized.
  4. Keep away from sun and UV exposure as much as possible. Apply a Sunblock of SPF 30 before going out in the sun. Furthermore, wear lose clothes to avoid perspiration.
  5. There will be peel offs and scab during the healing phase. It can also be itchy as the scabs start to flake off. But, instead of scratching the tattooed place, apply moist compress to make the scabs soft. It will help to stop the itching and also remove the scabs easily.

And finally…

Getting yourself inked is undoubtedly stylish.  But, remember also to follow the safety measures, so that your favourite tattoo don’t become a disaster overnight.