Problems after getting a tattoo
Tattoos and permanent makeup have been used by most cultures for centuries and recently have become very popular with both men and women. Most people who have a tattoo do not develop any problems. Home treatment can help speed healing and prevent problems.
A tattoo is a series of puncture wounds that carry dye into the different levels of the skin. At first, the tattoo may be swollen and there may be some crusting on the surface. It is normal for the tattoo to ooze small amounts of blood for up to 24 hours, and it may ooze clear, yellow, or blood-tinged fluid for several days.
Problems with tattoos include:
- Infection at the tattoo site.
- Minor skin reactions (contact dermatitis) or serious allergic reactions to the tattooing method or dye.
- Scarring, which can include raised scar tissue (keloids).
- Spread of infectious disease, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), if a dirty method or equipment is used.
Be sure to consider all aspects of getting a tattoo. A tattoo should be considered permanent. Tattoo removal is hard and may cause scarring. It may not be possible to completely remove a tattoo and restore your normal skin color and texture. If you have not yet made a decision about tattooing, see the Prevention section for information about tattooing.
Temporary tattoos, such as henna tattoos (mehndi), may also cause problems. Although most of the ingredients in temporary tattoos are safe for application to the skin, there have been reports of allergic skin reactions (contact dermatitis) to the ingredients in some of the tattoos. Henna tattoos are not approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Henna is a plant-based dye and is approved for use only as a hair dye.
Consumers and health professionals are encouraged to report adverse reactions to tattoos and permanent makeup, as well as reactions to temporary tattoos.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.