There are a number of tattoo problems that can occur. One of the problems with sticking yourself a thousand times a minute and injecting, hopefully noninfectious, ink into your skin, is not everyone has the outcome they expect. Infections with hepatitis, a type of liver infection, antibiotic resistant bacteria, or even HIV/AIDS are a possibility with each tattoo visit, in fact with each needle stick! While individual states monitor and inspect tattoo parlors, they simply don’t have the resources to provide the oversight needed to prevent infections entirely. Not to mention the illegal ‘private’ tattoo artists that organize and attend tattoo parties in homes across the country. There is NO regulation or oversight of these criminals who use poorly cleaned needles, inferior or expired ink, and the fact that most who attend have been drinking, coupled with the peer pressure, to entice under-aged teenagers to adopt a tattoo, and a possible life-threatening infection.
Another potential tattoo problem is the association with hepatitis C. Scientists are monitoring the incidence of hepatitis as the number of tattoos increase, and there is a curiously direct relationship in the growth of both tattoos and hepatitis C. A recent study confirmed the increased risk of hepatitis C associated with tattoos independently.
There are, of course, no definitive answers to how many infections come from getting a tattoo, or even your specific infection rate from each parlor visit. But everyone agrees your chances for acquiring this type of liver infection are significantly increased by getting a tattoo. Read the post Tattoos and Hepatitis C for more information.
The increase in people getting inked has also seen an increase in lawsuits related to bad outcomes and other tattoo problems. People are suing for damages related to the permanent scars, poor art quality, misspellings, misrepresentations and more . . . all related to tattooing.
There have been recent reports that some are mysteriously developing skin cancer at the site of certain tattoos and/or certain colors. One of the ways to determine if you have skin cancer is a change in the color of your skin. If your skin is colored with ink, how can you detect redness, or a mole that is changing character? These issues need to be considered especially if your family has a high rate of skin cancer.
When the ink gets absorbed by your body, it can end up in your lymph nodes. Doctors have confused ink in a lymph node with cancer (or an indication of cancer spread). Small tattoos will give very little risk for this but larger tattoos should be considered.
Inspect for Infectious Sources
Your local health department inspects area tattoo parlors to ensure they have adequate protective measures, a clean environment, appropriate sterilization techniques, new needles, sound procedures, and more. These inspections serve a vital purpose to help the tattoo parlors ‘do the right thing’. Without someone keeping then honest, many more infections due to cost cutting measures would appear. The needles, the ink, the ink guns, alcohol, and time cleaning, all cost money and impact what a tattoo artist takes home at the end of the day. Make sure your tattoo artist takes their time, and schedules you at a time that allows for all precautions needed, and allows you the opportunity to ask questions and get adequate answers.
Obviously getting a tattoo in a run-down, dark, dirty parlor is definitely a bad start to your tattoo experience. For much more on what could go wrong buy, Tattoos: Should I or Shouldn’t I?
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
- Unclean Tattoo Parlor
- Bad Tattoo Artist
- Bad equipment/needles
- Unclean technique
- Heavy Metal Poisoning
- Keloid scarring
- Skin Cancer
- Hepatitis B & C
- Can’t donate blood for a year (because they don’t want your blood!)
- Heart Valve Problems
- STAPH Infections
- Tattoo too big
- Tattoo placement is wrong
- Allergic reaction to certain inks
- Possibly prevented from getting MRI
- Outdated tattoo