« | Home | »

Tattoos have high rate of long-term complications

By jeremyc | May 25, 2015

According to a new study, tattoos have a high rate of complications that are often long-term, like skin rashes, infections and itching.

The study was led Marie Leger, MD, PhD, of New York University’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, who said, “We were rather alarmed at the high rate of reported chronic complications tied to getting a tattoo. Given the growing popularity of tattoos, physicians, public health officials, and consumers need to be aware of the risks involved.”

The researchers estimated that every one in five Americans gets a tattoo, which can also include cosmetic tattoos like a permanent eyeliner.

Leger said, “The skin is a highly immune-sensitive organ, and the long-term consequences of repeatedly testing the body’s immune system with injected dyes and colored inks are poorly understood. Some of the reactions appear to be an immune response, yet we do not know who is most likely to have an immune reaction to a tattoo.”

The researchers interviewed around 300 people in Central Park, New York City in June 2013. Around 6 percent of the tattooed adults reported rashes, itching and swelling for over four months. They also reported infections, pain and delayed healing a few weeks after getting their tattoo.

Black and red ink were found to be linked to most of the skin reactions. Almost half the reactions were related to red ink, despite the fact that red ink only made up around a third of tattoos. The adults typically had less than five tattoos. Many of the people opted to return to the tattoo parlor for assistance with their complications, instead of opting for medical care.

Leger said, “It is not yet known if the reactions being observed are due to chemicals in the ink itself or to other chemicals, such as preservatives or brighteners, added to them, or to the chemicals’ breakdown over time. The lack of a national database or reporting requirements also hinders reliable monitoring.”

Topics: | General Health News | No Comments »

Comments are closed.