Tattoos used to be reserved for sailors, marines, convicts, deserters and indigenous tribes, but today tattoos are all the rage for men, women, and even teens. But, are tattoos safe?
Permanent tattoos are created when a tattoo artist uses needles to inject indelible colored ink into the dermis layer below the skin's surface to change the pigment. While tattoos are relatively common now, and many people suffer no adverse effects, that does not mean tattoos are safe. In fact, there are a number of illnesses and other issues associated with tattoos.
The FDA lists a few tattoo risks on its website, including:
- Infection from dirty needles.
- Allergies to various ink pigments in both permanent and temporary tattoos.
- Scarring from getting or removing a tattoo.
- Granulomas around the pigment.
- MRI complications resulting in swelling or burning in the tattoo.
Unsanitary tattoo parlors are particularly risky, and infections like hepatitis, HIV, and even MRSA bacteria can be passed from one person to another. Dirty needles and artists who are hosts to illness can cause numerous health problems. Bacteria and disease can be passed from the artist to the client, from a tool to the client, or even from the client's body to themselves as the needle pierces the skin.
In addition, there is always the risk of allergic reactions from latex gloves or the inks themselves, and keloids or other lumps or knots may form around the tattoo.
New research indicates some pigment migrates from the tattoo site to the body's lymph nodes. It is not yet known if this can cause problems.
It is important to note that the FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin so no tattoo pigments are approved by the FDA.
Since tattoos are permanent, tattoo removal introduces a whole new set of potential health problems.
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