Is it safe to get a tattoo?

Author: Ruth Wren  Date Posted:30 May 2017 

A tattoo can be extremely meaningful to many people, but unfortunately, having a tattoo doesn’t always go as planned. You can contract an infection from a variety of causes -- anything from unhygienic practices to contaminated tattoo inks -- and you can suffer an adverse reaction to the inks or even from scarring.

This is why tattoo parlours need to use an autoclave and sterilization pouches to ensure that their equipment is free from contamination, as well as hospital grade disinfectant, and a hand rub or antibacterial sanitizer to prevent cross infection between clients or from themselves to their clients.

Of course, you also need to consider how the tattoo will age and whether you will still want the same tattoo when you are 80! Not forgetting that your employer may not appreciate seeing tattoos on your face, neck or hands.

So let’s take a look at some of the safety factors and the health effects of having a tattoo.

Safety concerns with tattoo parlours

You can become quite ill if the tattooist doesn’t maintain good personal hygiene practices themselves, as well as from poorly sterilized equipment and from contaminated inks. This is why it is important that you go to a reputable tattoo parlour, where the experienced tattoo artists use the correct sterilization techniques, understand the issues with cross infection and wear disposable gloves to protect themselves and their clients.

Always watch and see if your tattooist uses a hand sanitizer or a hand rub and wears gloves, and if you have any concerns about the health and safety practices at a tattoo parlour, don’t hesitate to leave and find a safer establishment.

Health concerns and risk of infections

Contaminated equipment and unhygienic practices can result in a number of health problems. These include skin infections at the site of the tattoo, and even hepatitis B and C, as well as tetanus. The skin under the tattoo can also form small unsightly bumps, called granulomas, and some people can suffer from permanent keloid scarring. These are some of the reasons why using sanitizer and a hand rub, as well as sterilization pouches is so important to your health.

If you suffer from any health concerns following a tattoo, always seek medical advice as soon as possible.


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