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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Tattoo Problems - Prevention

Preventing tattoo problems

You can prevent problems from developing at your tattoo site. Review the following guidelines and information before making your decision to tattoo a part of your body.

  • Do not get a tattoo while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Get a tetanus shot before your tattooing if you have not had one in the past 10 years.
  • Choose an experienced person who uses sterile gloves and sterilized equipment to do the tattoo. Ask the person doing the tattoo how he or she cleans the equipment and what safety standards he or she follows. Sterile gloves and sterilized equipment should be used. A fresh pair of gloves should be used for each procedure. Make sure that the operator washes his or her hands before putting on the gloves. Ask the operator to change his or her gloves if he or she answers the telephone or does anything else during your procedure.
  • Check the studio and see whether it looks clean. Ask the operator about sterilizing techniques and safety standards.
  • If you think you may want to have your tattoo removed at a later date—dark blue, black, and red are the easiest colors to remove with lasers. Bright colors—blue, green, and yellow—are hard, if not impossible, to remove.
  • If you have had an allergic reaction to tattoo dye in the past, do not get any more tattoos. Be sure your health professionals know about these allergies.
    • Wear medical alert jewelry such as a MedicAlert tag if you have had an allergic reaction after a tattoo.
    • If you have had an allergic reaction to the henna used in a temporary tattoo, you have a higher chance of developing a skin reaction to hair dye. Mix up a small amount of the dye solution and paint it on a small patch of skin, such as the inside of your wrist, to see if you are going to have a reaction to it. Do not use the hair dye if your skin turns red or itches.
  • Check with your city or county health department to find out whether there have been any complaints about the studio you are thinking of using.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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