Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Think Before You Ink: Tattoo Medical Issues

Consider getting a tattoo for the first (or umpteen) time? You are certainly not alone: as of late, tattoos seem to be everywhere, or more precisely - on everyone. The celebrities are, as always, leading the trend: from actors to sportsmen, tattoos are proudly displayed to the public eye. It's obvious that getting "inked" is more than just a passing fad: a trend that started in the early nineties in America is now sweeping over the world.
The artwork that was previously associated only with sailors or prisoners has become mainstream. Nowadays, it is not that only people perceived by the society (and in some cases, by themselves) as misfits choose to get tattooed: it seems like everybody does! The popularity of tattoos only continues to grow, but so does the concern about the safety of the procedure.
The truth about tattoos is that they're undeniably cool looking, that the procedure of getting a tattoo can sometimes hurt a lot - and that getting a tattoo can be risky! Getting "inked" is not only an esthetic issue: there are considerable medical risks associated with tattooing your body. How you ever wondered how safe tattoo inks are? What are some potential health risks of a procedure?

Since tattooing includes piercing of the skin, there is a potential that you could get an infection of the skin. When getting a tattoo, unwanted scarring (keloid formation) might occur. An obvious concern is the use of unsterilized needles: tattoo equipment could be contaminated and pass an infectious disease - even a serious one like staph, tetanus, hepatitis or HIV - from one person to another. For the first week after getting a tattoo, the tattooed area will need special care to guard against skin infection.
Some people will react with an allergic response to the ink being used. Rarely, phototoxic reactions might occur when your tattooed skin is exposed to the sunlight. You could also get granulomas, nodules (small bumps on the skin) that form around the material that your body sees as foreign - such as tattoo pigment. The pigments used in tattooing are not FDA approved for injecting in the skin. Henna, a pigment used in temporary tattoos, is only approved for use as a hair dye.
Some people will experience temporary swelling and burning in their tattoo while having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure done. This is certainly not a reason to avoid doing an MRI - just inform the technician that you have a tattoo beforehand, so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
To avoid any regrets after you get a permanent tattoo, you should familiarize yourself with any potential health risks in advance. This way, you can be sure that you have prepared yourself to get "inked" and that you will enjoy your new tattoo!
Think Before You Ink: Tattoo Medical Issues


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