Tattoos: Think before you ink

What you need to know about the potential health risks

Tattoos can take any number of forms and appear in all kinds of spots on the body. They have become more and more popular in recent years. However, before making the decision to modify your body, it is essential to understand the possible side effects associated with tattooing.

Allergic reaction

The body’s response to tattoos can vary from a serious inflammatory reaction to allergic hypersensitivity. Tattoo pigment, mainly red, blue, green and yellow, can provoke allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo area. This may occur years after getting the tattoo.

Bloodborn diseases

Several medical conditions can result from tattooing. Bloodborne diseases, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and tetanus can be contracted by employing contaminated tattoo needles that haven’t been sterilized. To diminish the risk of spreading pathogens, tattoo artists must use sanitized equipment.


More than 50 colorings utilized in tattoos have been accepted for use in cosmetics, but the risk of injecting them underneath the skin is ambiguous. The long-term consequences of tattoo ink and colorings are still unknown. Until now, no regulatory agency has closely inspected the safety of tattoo ink.

Skin problems

The two most common dermal reactions to tattoo pigments are skin infections and granulomas, a condition that is characterized by bumps appearing around tattoo ink. Furthermore, tattooing may result in keloids, which are even, hard, benign growths that develop when scar tissue grows significantly.