Skip to content

    Allergies Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Tattoos Can Pose Health Hazards, Doctor Warns


    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Tattoos have become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, but along with that comes a rise in problems such as allergic reactions and infections, an expert says.

    More than one-third of Americans aged 18 to 25 report getting a tattoo, according to the Pew Research Center. But if you're thinking about getting "inked," there are some things to consider before you head to the tattoo parlor.

    "Since tattoos are not regulated in any way, there are many unknowns that could pose potential problems for consumers in terms of the inks and tools used," Dr. Michi Shinohara, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

    "It is especially important for consumers to be aware of the potential risks, report any problem that develops to the tattoo artist and see a board-certified dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment," Shinohara added.

    Tattooing inks have changed a great deal over the years and many modern tattoo inks contain organic azo dyes with plastic-based pigments that are also used industrially in printing, textiles and car paint. Many unknowns exist about how these new tattoo inks interact with the skin and within the body.

    Allergic reaction to the tattoo pigments is one of the most common problems associated with tattooing. Infections also can pose a serious threat to health. Along with localized bacterial infections, there have been reports of people being infected with syphilis and hepatitis B and C due to non-sterile tattooing practices, Shinohara said.

    Skin cancer is another potential risk associated with tattoos because they can make it hard to detect cancer-related changes in moles. If you get a tattoo, make sure it's not placed over an existing mole.

    A tattoo can also cause a reaction that creates a bump that resembles a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Because it is hard to distinguish from skin cancer, the bump could lead to potentially unnecessary and expensive skin cancer treatment, including surgery, Shinohara said.

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz