We all know getting a tattoo can be pretty painful, but according to a new study, that pain can linger for more than just a few days. In time, tattoos are prone to cause various skin problems, such as itching, infection, inflammation and swelling.
It is estimated that one in ten people who get tattoos will develop such skin problems, as reported in the June issue of the Contact Dermatitis journal.
Co-author Dr. Marie Leger, dermatologist from the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, says she is definitely not against tattoos, which she thinks are beautiful. However, she also warns that getting a tattoo comes with certain risks.
More than 300 people sporting at least one tattoo were surveyed for the study. Researchers picked the participants randomly in Central Park in New York. Roughly 10 percent of the respondents said they had, at some point, suffered from skin problems caused by their tattoos.
Some of the people in the 10 percent experienced just momentarily complications, mostly bacterial infections, swelling and itching that appeared right after getting the tattoos. But that was not the case with all the people in this response group.
Recurring problems have been reported by 6 out 10 people, but surprisingly, researchers found that almost none of them considered seeing a doctor regarding the complications.
During the study, the team also discovered that even though both tattoo artists and their parlors are strictly regulated in the U.S., it turns out that same scrutiny does not necessarily apply to the inks they use.
Some previous studies conducted in the Europe identified that carbon-based pigments often exist in the black ink. The red one isn’t any better because of the nitrogen-compound-bearing “azo-based hues.”
Not all cases of post-tattoo complications could be tracked to a clear cause, but researchers also found that some of the respondents turned out to develop allergies to the tattoos they get.
Leger explained that all the symptoms are there: they get a red tattoo, no reaction. Some years later, they would get a second red tattoo – and suddenly, both the new and the old red tattoo become itchy and swollen.
The leading dermatologist thinks a lot of people seem to not care about the skin problems they may face if they get a tattoo. Because in the end, nobody does it because tattoos are completely safe – people like to feel a bit rebellious and against the culture which says “tattoos – bad.”
However, Ledger strongly suggests people should consult a specialist in case they have complications after getting a tattoo – even if, in some extreme cases, that might mean safely removing the tattoo.
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