Understanding Tattoo Health Risks

When you decide that you want to adorn your body with permanent artwork in the way of tattooed ink, you probably don’t trouble yourself unduly about the prospective health risks. These days, you don’t have to worry so much about the possibility of dirty needles and the like; any respectable operation will use an autoclave to clean its tools, and artists will utilize rubber gloves and disposable items like plastic ink pots and individually wrapped needles if they don’t want to risk getting shut down. So you’re likely more worried about the skill of the artist doing your ink, not to mention the placement of your artwork and, of course, the imagery you’ve chosen to eternally affix to your body. But before you get started, you should know that other health-related complications could arise after the fact. Chances are you’ll have no trouble, but just in case you have some kind of adverse reaction, you might want to know what to expect. Here are just a few tattoo health risks you should understand going into the process.

So long as you scout out shops in your area before you settle on one to patronize, you’re certain to find a clean establishment. In this case the risk of bloodborne diseases transferred through dirty needles is pretty low. Whereas you once had to worry about contracting diseases like hepatitis B or C, HIV, or tetanus, the risk of such occurrence is extremely low so long as you find a reputable shop that follows laws pertaining to cleanliness. But even a spotless establishment and an extremely careful artist might not stop you from getting an infection after the fact. Consider that a tattoo is basically an open wound and therefor susceptible to environmental contaminants. So once you leave the shop you need to follow directions pertaining to proper cleaning and sanitizing until your tattoo has healed.

Rarely, it happens that people are actually allergic to the ink used for tattoos, and if you are amongst this unfortunate number, you’ll want to know what symptoms to look for. First of all, you should know that allergic reactions are often linked to chemicals used to create specific colors, and red shades are the most likely to trigger an allergy. If it turns out you have allergies, you’ll probably notice symptoms like itching, redness, swelling, rash, or other common signs of skin irritation. Of course, this can likely be easily treated by a doctor or dermatologist, hopefully without marring your tattoo.

More commonly, tattoo recipients suffer from granulomas or the formation of scar tissue (keloids) caused by inflammation from the tattooing process. While this generally isn’t exactly a life-threatening occurrence, it can ruin your tattoo and leave you with unsightly marks on and around the area. Unfortunately, you may not know you have this proclivity until it’s too late, but if you know you’re prone to these issues you should probably avoid tattoos. Of course, most people will never have any negative health effects related to their tattoos. So browse through the photos at to your heart’s content in search of your next tattoo. As long as you know what to watch out for and you care for your tattoo accordingly, you should be more than ready to deal with any problems that may arise.