True work of art, the tattoo can be a means of conveying a message or simply an aesthetic choice aiming to mark his body in an indelible way.
This ancestral practice has been known since the 1970s, a craze that does not seem to be running out of steam. But, is getting a tattoo dangerous for your health?
Symbolic or decorative designs made by injecting ink under the skin, between the dermis and the epidermis, tattoos have become a cultural and social phenomenon. According to an Ifop survey carried out in 2016, 14% of French people (or 7 million) wear at least one tattoo. But are there any risks in getting a tattoo?
Reasons to worry before getting a tattoo
Indeed, one can fear the emergence of a public health issue between these practices – whose methods are evolving more and more – and the development of skin infections/reactions or diseases.
What health risks are we exposed to when we get a tattoo?
First, during a tattoo session, needles pierce the skin: unhygienic practices and non-sterile equipment can be the source of serious infections or contamination of blood-borne viruses (hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, and Ebola).
Then, this wound which heals after a few weeks remains a gateway for bacterial infections.
The use of non-sterile water to dilute pigments or even ink contaminated by bacteria or mold also exposes to the risks of skin infections and other undesirable effects: warts (after healing), redness, itching, eczema in the tattooed area, chills, tremors, sweat, allergies, and high fever which may require serious medical treatment (antibiotics, hospitalizations).
Finally, in some rare cases, some individuals develop swelling of the skin at the level of the tattoo, following an MRI.
Pigments and tattoo inks: what do they contain?
According to research conducted by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (France), the Food and Drug Administration (United States) and supported by the warnings of the National Union of Dermatologists-Venereologists, the components inks injected under the skin contain toxic metals: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chromium, copper, mercury, aluminum, nickel, cobalt … But still, pigments used in automotive paint or printer toners.
Furthermore, in a report, the FDA revealed that it had approved ” no pigment for injection into the skin for cosmetic purposes”.
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How to properly prepare a tattoo session?
Once the project is defined and before launching, it is important to choose a professional and renowned tattoo artist. For that :
- Search for the right addresses for tattoo artists, get information, and learn about dedicated forums and those around you.
- If the opportunity arises, visit a tattoo convention and if not, different studios.
- Ensure the technical and artistic skills of the tattoo artist, and that he respects the Charter of the National Syndicate of Tattoo Artists.
- Consult his book.
- Check if hygiene and sanitary rules are respected throughout the studio: asepsis of instruments, autoclave sterilization, use of sterile disposable gloves and needles
Our last little tips
Winter is the perfect season to get a tattoo! Indeed, it is strongly recommended not to be exposed to the sun for a minimum of two weeks so that the healing of the tattoo lasts so that the sharpness of the drawing is not altered, and obviously, not to burn the wound and facilitate the regeneration process.
On the other hand, it is also not advisable to get a tattoo on the skin that has just taken the sun, because it is then thicker and prone to flaking. So no need to rush into a living room just before going on vacation, or else you will have to choose a place that will remain well hidden!
The day before the appointment for the tattoo of his dreams, it is better:
- rest well so as not to be overly sensitive,
- do not drink alcohol, take anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin to avoid blood thinning,
- eat well.
Finally, if you are a woman, avoid as much as possible, and make an appointment at the time of menstruation, because the sensitivity is more acute during this period.