Permanent tattoos are created by injecting colored ink below the surface of the skin. While it is true that tattoos can be removed, usually through laser removal, it is expensive and painful. The laser removal may also not be able to completely remove the tattoo, so it's important to think before you ink.
What are the risks of tattoos?
You've probably heard about the risk factors associated with unsterile instruments, but there are also other risks that come with getting a tattoo. Here are a few to look out for:
Infections — Dirty needles can pass infections, such as HIV or hepatitis, from one person to another.
Allergies — Allergic reactions from ink pigments in both temporary and permanent tattoos have been reported.
Scarring — Unwanted scar tissue can form as a result of getting a tattoo or having it removed.
Granulomas — When the body senses foreign material entering the body, it sometimes causes small knots or bumps to form.
MRI complications — Swelling or burning have been reported when people with tattoos have received MRIs. These complications occur rarely and do not last long.
If you decide to get a tattoo ...
If you decide to get a tattoo, make sure you check the safety precautions of the tattoo studio. Here are some questions that you can ask:
Does the tattoo artist wear gloves? For every procedure, the tattoo artist should wash his or her hands and wear a new pair of sterile gloves.
Does the tattoo artist use proper equipment? Before the procedure begins, make sure the tattoo artist takes the needles, tubes, pigments, trays or containers out of sealed packages to ensure sterility.
Does the tattoo artist sterilize non-disposable equipment? The tattoo artist should use a heat sterilization machine on surfaces such as tables, drawer handles, and sinks in between procedures. Using bleach solution or commercial disinfectant should also be common procedure.
Take good care of your tattoo
- Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Apply antibiotic ointment to the tattooed skin while it is healing.
- Keep tattooed skin clean. When cleaning the tattoo, use plain soap and water. Avoid contact with direct water flow and pat, don't rub, the area dry.
- Use moisturizer. Apply moisturizer to the tattooed area several times per day.
- Avoid sun exposure. For the first few weeks, avoid direct sunlight on your tattoo.
- Avoid swimming. Stay out of pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water while the tattoo is healing.
- Allow up to two weeks for healing. Don't pick any scabs while your tattoo is healing. This can increase the risk of infection as well as damage the design and cause scarring.
From the calendar
Just remember, before you get a tattoo, think about whether or not you really want to have it for the rest of your life. If you decide that you do, be sure to take precautions to keep yourself safe.
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