A tattoo is a permanent form of an image imprinted on your skin with the help of dyes
A tattoo is a permanent form of an image imprinted on your skin with the help of dyes

A tattoo is a permanent form of an image imprinted on your skin with the help of dyes or pigments and a needle. The tattoo artist uses a machine that looks like a sewing machine. The machine contains one or two needles that inject inking droplets just under your skin.

Any arm, right or left, would be good for a tattoo. The choice boils down to your personal preferences. Just make sure your skin is free of moles.

How to make tattooing a safe procedure

Before getting a tattoo on your skin, make sure you really want to go for it. Do not do it under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, remember that your pregnancy and weight gains can stretch the tattooed skin and distort the tattoo’s shape.

Once you make up your mind on getting a skin tattoo, ensure to follow all safety precautions at the tattoo studio. Here are a few things that you should look out for:

  • Go to a reputable studio with a state license and that employs trained professionals.
  • See to it that the tattoo artist washes their hands well and uses a fresh pair of gloves before they proceed to make a tattoo on your skin.
  • Ensure that the tattoo artist uses fresh needles, new dye, sterile trays, and containers for your tattoo.
  • Make sure that the artist sterilizes the non-disposable instruments/equipment well in the autoclave before using them for you.

What are the risks involved in tattooing?

Tattooing involves penetration of the skin. Hence, it can cause problems such as:

  • Allergic reactions: You can develop an allergic reaction in the form of rashes to the colored dyes used for your tattooing. This can happen immediately or even several months or years after the procedure.
  • Skin infections: You can develop any skin infections such as boils (staphylococcus) and herpes rash.
  • Keloids and granulomas: If you develop abnormal scars, the tattooed skin, instead of healing normally, can develop big, thick, raised dark-colored patches of scar known as keloids. The inflamed scar tissue is known as a granuloma.
  • Bloodborne diseases: The instruments used for your tattooing may get contaminated with germs if they are not sterilized well. You may get diseases transmitted through blood such as hepatitis B and C.

A study found that nanoparticles of the inking pigments can migrate from the skin to the lymph nodes and enlarge them. Some ingredients in the dye such as nickel and chromium are known to be carcinogenic. Although scientists are not sure if tattoos can really cause cancer in the long run, they cause a life-long exposure to toxic elements.

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How to care for your tattooed skin

If you want to keep your tattoo healthy and long-lasting, you should take care of the following things:

  • Tattoos can cause your skin to become dry. Apply a water-based lotion or cream to the tattooed part.
  • Apply a sunscreen of a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or above on the tattooed skin 15 minutes before going out in the sun. Reapply it every 2 hours.
  • Stay away from tanning treatments. These can not only fade the scars but also cause a painful skin reaction. You may also increase your risk of skin cancer.
  • Get your tattoos done on mole-free skin. If the moles turn cancerous, it may be difficult to detect changes under the mask of tattoos.

If you want to get rid of your tattoo, consider visiting a dermatologist to find the right options for tattoo removal that would work for you. Some tattoo removal kits contain acids that are known to cause skin injuries, so play safe.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/18/2021
References
Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/tattoos-and-piercings/art-20045067

CARING FOR TATTOOED SKIN. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/tattoos/caring-for-tattooed-skin