Health Risks Of Getting Tattoos

Tattoos are an increasingly intrinsic part of American life. Nearly 30% of Americans have a tattoo. Despite this rising prevalence, tatoos are still seen as being some kind of underground, deviant expression of an unhealthy lifestyle. Consequently, people with tatooes face stigmas, stigmas which extend to health disparities: people with tattooes who contract HIV or lung cancer are more likely to be blamed for their illness than those without. Many of these taboos are unfounded, and detract from educating people about the real, though admittedly rare, risks of tatooes, so that people thinking about getting tattoos know what to do to stay safe.  

Some People Have Bad Reactions to Tattoo Ink

Reactions to tatoos are normal. You should expect mild inflammation, redness and soreness after getting a tattoo. A few people though do experience more acute reactions, specifically, they develop allergies or infections, even years after the tattoo. These skin reactions display a variety of symptoms, such as bumps; blisters; chills; fever; severe pain; or pus emanating from the tattoo. The causes of these reactions are either the use of tainted tattoo ink, or, the use of unsterilized equipment or unsafe practices. The tattoo ink industry is largely unregulated because they are seen as being cosmetic aides. Consequently, unlessthere are avderse medical reactions associated with tattoo ink, the Food and Drug Administration does not provide any safety guidance. Over the 2004-2016 period, the FDA reviewed 363 instances of adverse reactions to tattoo ink. Tainted tattoo ink has been known to cause many health ailments, such as blood-borne diseases and skin reactions.

Mild Evidence of Links to Cancer 

We do not have any definitive evidence that tattoos cause cancer. Some cases of melanoma skin cancer have been found in tattoos. A 2018 study unearthed just such cases, but, it could not establish if the tattoos caused the cancer or occured in the same areas as already cancerous skin. In 2015, a study gave the example of a man suffering with melanoma on his chest in those areas in which he had a tattoo with red ink. The study opined that the tattoo artist may have transferred existing cancer cells from one area of his chest to another while designing the tattoo. 

A 2017 study discovered that titanium dioxide particles from tattoo ink can spread out to and accumulate in the lymph nodes. Nevertheless, the study could not make any definitive statements regarding whether this was, ultimately a negative for long-term health. The study brought to the fore concerns over links between tattoo ink and cancer, especially given that titanium dioxide is officially classed as a possible carcinogen. The European Union moved to regulate the tattoo ink industry as a result of these concerns.  Titanium dioxide can also appear as if it is metastatic cancer growing in the lymph nodes, making it difficult to diagnoze disease. There is still a long way to go regarding research into the link between tattoo ink and cancer. So, when you visit a good tattoo parlour, such as Mystic Owl Tattoo, discuss the risks with them so you can make an educated decision.