Tattooing: A Major Route Of Infections
Tattooing is a serious art form, and the world seems to be
addicted to it. It is, a permanent marking -- once it's there, you
can't simply wash it away. For many, it is an aesthetic choice or an
initiation rite. Some women choose permanent makeup as a time saver or because
they have physical difficulty applying regular, temporary makeup. For others,
tattooing is an adjunct to reconstructive surgery.
According to, Dr. Dan Meler, plastic surgeon for 32 years,
"The worst danger in tatoos is that people don't like the results and then
they want to get rid of the tatoos, but there is always a scar. I think that
doing a tatoo on the body because of the beauty in it, is not justified. You
need to be careful because there is no way back. When people want to
remove a tatoo it could turn out to be horrible. There is no way back, its
not like a hair cut."
Cause of infection:
The alleged cause of the problem was improper sterilization of instruments
and the use of contaminated pigments. Tattoo operators have
little or no training and often don't know how to sanitize equipment to prevent
the transmission of blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis or even AIDS.
Although a number of color additives are approved for use in cosmetics, none is
approved for injection into the
skin. Using an unapproved color additive in a
tattoo ink makes the ink adulterated. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not
approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are
suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint.
A tattoo is like an open wound, so you have to dress it and protect it by
applying an antibiotic cream (such as Neosporin) and wearing sunscreen or
covering it with a patch if you'll be in the
sun. It's recommended that you wear
a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 on the tattoo for
the rest of your life.
Tattooing has been shown to transmit infectious diseases, including
hepatitis B, syphilis, leprosy, tuberculosis,
skin cancer, psoriasis, toxic shock syndrome or even behavioral changes.
The risk of scars from infection- Despite advances in laser technology,
removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several
treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be
impossible. Others develop thick scars called keloids. And believe it
or not, the most common problem that occurs because of tattoos is regret! Many
people find that they later wish they hadn't gotten a tattoo.
Removing a tattoo is a
painstaking process, usually involving several treatments
and considerable expense. Complete removal without
scarring may be impossible.
Transmission of hepatitis B- Hepatitis B poses the greatest risk, and this
virus has been transmitted through sharing of tattoo needles. See your health
care provider if symptoms are present
Transmission of AIDS- Tattooing also contributes to the spread of HIV .
People use hollowed out ballpoint pins and pen ink to create tattoos stand a
larger risk. Getting HIV though a tattoo is uncommon, but it is always a
possibility if the tattooist is not following proper infection control
Increased risk of cancer- New
inks are being introduced into the market everyday, such as the new
glow-in-the-dark inks. The problem with these new inks is that, in most cases,
they cause severe skin irritation and they fade quickly. Another negative
point is that the long-term effects of the inks are not known yet. These inks
can possibly cause skin cancer. You're also at risk of developing skin
infections such as impetigo and other complications such as dermatitis (severe
skin irritation). If you already have a skin condition such as eczema, you may
have flare-ups as a result of the tattoo.
If you think there is a
chance that you may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B
or hepatitis C, testing can be done by a doctor, health
clinic, or by contacting your local health department.
Vaccination against Hepatitis B is also available.
Transmission of hepatitis C-
Getting a tattoo could be a key infection route for hepatitis C, the most
common chronic viral infection affecting almost 2 percent of the United States
population, according to a study by a UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
researcher. The study found that people who had received a tattoo in a
commercial tattoo parlor were nine times more likely to be infected with
hepatitis C than people who did not have a tattoo. Hepatitis C can be passed
through tattooing by reuse of tattooing needles or dye, inadequate
sterilization of tattooing needles between customers, or breaks in sterile
technique such as the artist pricking the back of his or her hand to test the
needle's sharpness. For detail story,
Insist on fresh, single-use, disposable needles and fresh
ink in new disposable containers, and make sure that all equipment is
disinfected and sterilized with an autoclave. Be aware that cleaning with
bleach or any other disinfectant doesn't always kill the hepatitis C virus.
Before going in for a tatoo, Check:
Is there an autoclave?
Is the person a licensed practitioner?
Are "Universal Precautions" followed?