Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists warn of dangers concerning tattoo placement

Tattoo placement can make melanoma detection difficult according to Dr. Joel Schlessinger and other dermatologists

Visiting the tattoo parlor continues to be a growing trend in America. While many inked individuals just want new pieces of work, others may be looking to cover a birthmark or mole that makes them uncomfortable. This idea may seem like a sensible solution, but according to new research in the journal JAMA Dermatology, it may not be the healthiest choice.

Placing a tattoo over a mole or birthmark can make detection of melanoma or other forms of skin cancer very difficult. For example, there is a young man who developed skin cancer on a pre-existing, colored skin lesion during and between phases of laser tattoo removal. He is just one of 17 cases described in English-language journals where a tattoo has masked melanoma.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is one of many dermatologists warning against covering birthmarks or moles

A dermatologist in New York City pointed out that fifty percent of all melanomas develop in pre-existing moles. When a tattoo is placed over a mole, the ink can disguise irregularities that help diagnose skin cancer. Tattoos can also interfere with tools used for detection. Many dermatologists, like Dr. Joel Schlessinger, advise patients to avoid any area with existing moles or birthmarks when planning for a tattoo.

Tattoo removal can also become dangerous on these areas, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger

During removal, a laser is used to remove pigment from the tattoo, but it can also affect the color of melanoma. This leaves the affected area more difficult to diagnose and can lead to a more severe case of skin cancer. Dermatologists suggest having moles covered by tattoos checked two times each year rather than one and biopsied prior to a removal treatment. If there is any suspicion of melanoma, affected moles should be removed prior to laser tattoo removal.

Read the full article in HealthDay to learn more. If you have experience with this concern, share your story in the comments.

Posted Monday, August 5th, 2013 at 9:20 pm
Filed Under Category: Uncategorized
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


Leave a Reply