Dr. Schlessinger discusses the risks of tattoos
Whether you’re considering your first tattoo or you’re a long-time tattoo parlor veteran, it’s important to review the health risks associated with permanent ink. First, note that tattooing is not closely regulated by the FDA. Though the FDA has reviewed the contents of tattoo ink, the actual practice is generally mandated by individual county and city governments. This means that in addition to your own immune system’s reaction to the procedure, you must consider the safety and sterility of the tattooing facility, as well as the equipment and ink.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger notes that tattoo ink could be unsanitary due to unclean manufacturing processes.

The safety of your tattooing procedure begins with the sterility of the ink. The FDA does not regularly inspect ink-manufacturing plants for sanitation, and any of the ingredients or machines at the facility could harbor harmful bacteria. In a recent case, it was discovered that water used to dilute the ink was contaminated. Similar cases are reported each year. A bacterial infection could be mild to severe, ranging from a red, swollen rash with discharge to fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms. There is also a risk of bacteria spreading through the bloodstream, a potentially life-threatening condition called sepsis.

In addition, a number of viruses can be transferred to the skin via unsterile tattooing equipment. Cases of warts and more serious blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B have been reported.

Though allergic reactions are rare, they can happen, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Even if the ink, facility and equipment are safe, there are still risks to keep in mind. Tattoo ink ingredients vary depending on brand and color, but they could contain common allergens, like nickel or mercury. Allergic reactions to tattoo ink are considered relatively rare. However, they could produce a painful, itchy rash resulting in infection, and lead to permanent scarring down the road. You could even experience an allergic reaction years after initially getting the tattoo.

Also, note that everyone heals differently, and even with proper after-care, complications could arise. There is a risk of developing granulomas, painful bumps that form when the body’s immune system attempts to ward off foreign substances like tattoo ink. The skin could also form keloids, raised, pink, shiny lesions that form within scar tissue to produce a permanent mark.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger discusses tattoo removal.

Though the risk of infection is a real concern, the most common risk you’ll encounter is tattoo regret. Though Dr. Schlessinger has produced excellent tattoo removal results at his Omaha, Nebraska clinic, not everyone is a good candidate. The color and location of a tattoo play a large role in successful removal, and your skin may still bear some discoloration. It’s crucial to consider the health concerns of your tattoo, as well as the social and personal implications.

Do you have a question about the risks associated with tattoos? Let us know in the comments section.

Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 3:13 pm
Filed Under Category: Tattoo Removal
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