Health Risks and Precautionary Measures You Must Know Before Getting A Tattoo



Tattoos were thought to be in the domain of prisoners, gang members and the military men but it is becoming a common thing in the modern world. There is an increase in the use of tattoos by musicians, athletes, actors and other professions. Research shows that approximately 15% of United States citizens have a tattoo and therefore it is important to know the health risks and precautionary measures that should be adhered to before getting one.

The risks associated with tattoos

A tattoo is made permanently on the skin using a sharp object. Tiny droplets of ink are inserted into the skin while it is being punctured repeatedly. The process can be done with or without anesthetics and there is a possibly of bleeding. The risks that are likely to occur after a tattoo include:

Allergic reaction

The dyes that are used to make a tattoo are likely to cause an allergic reaction on the skin. This occurs at the site where the tattoo has been made and it can be in the form of swelling, redness or an itchy rash. This is common with dyes of varied colors like blue, green, red and yellow. The reaction may occur years after one gets the tattoo.

Skin infection

The skin is the outer covering of the body. Getting a tattoo involves piercing the skin and this breaks the first line of defense. This means that the skin is left exposed to bacteria and this can be a cause of an infection.

Skin problems

The skin may react after getting a tattoo and this can cause skin problems like granulomas around the inked area. These are bumps that occur on the skin. There is also a likelihood of getting keloids and this is where the skin is raised because of overgrowth of scar tissue when the area is healing.

Blood borne conditions

There is increased risk of getting blood borne conditions when getting a tattoo especially in cases where equipments used are contaminated. The instruments used should be sterilized before they are used on another person to prevent transmission of these illnesses. The conditions that can be transmitted include Human Immunodeficiency Virus, hepatitis C, hepatitis B and tetanus.

Safety precautions

It is important to ensure that safety precautions are adhered to before getting a tattoo. One should ensure to check the following safety measures:

  • It is advisable to go to a piercing or a tattoo studio that has trained professionals who are certified. This ensures that they are maintaining hygiene, using the right dyes and that they use sterile instruments when piercing the skin.

  • The artist should clean the hand aseptically before starting the procedure and they should also wear a clean pair of sterile gloves.
  • One should ensure that new tubes and needles are used for the procedure. The trays, containers and pigments being used should be sterilized and unused. One should ensure that equipments are removed from containers that are sealed to show that they have not been used before. The needles should then be thrown in a biohazard container after using them.
  • One should ensure that the studio is not using guns for piercing. This is because guns cannot be sterilized and the rate of infection is increased with the use of guns.
  • It is also important to think and make a wise decision on whether to invest in a tattoo. This is because the mark is permanent and one can have regrets later. It is advisable to ask other family members, friends and trusted adults on their take before making the final decision.

NOTE: Pregnant women are strongly advised against getting a tattoo because in case one gets an infection it can be transferred to the unborn child. The small amounts of chemicals that are using during the process may not be harmful to an adult but can have a bigger impact on a growing baby.


Tattoos have increased in the modern world and therefore it is important to know the health risks and precautionary measures associated with them. The health risks that are likely to occur after getting a tattoo include allergic reactions, blood borne diseases, skin infections and other problems of the skin like keloids. The main precaution is to ensure that the studio is certified and the professionals working in it are trained.


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