What Are the Long Term Effects of Tattoos?
When considering a tattoo, most people think about the actual design, the placement, and even the tattoo artist that they want. However, the long-term effects of tattoos on the body aren’t at the top of most people’s list of considerations. Interestingly enough, when it comes to removing a tattoo, people will research day in and day out to see what’s written about the removal process.
So what’s the big deal? We’ve written before about how important it is to find reputable laser tattoo removal services and which tattoo removal methods to avoid, but the truth is that your problems can start long before you even consider having your ink erased.
While your tattoo may not be forever, as soon as the ink is placed in the skin, there’s no turning back. While not commonplace, there are people that experience adverse reactions to the ink that they then have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Although getting a tattoo is an artistic and even fun thing to do, it can have lasting effects on your body.
Here are some things to know about the long term effects of tattoos on our bodies.
Do Tattoos Have Long Term Effects on Our Bodies?
When thinking about the lasting effects of a tattoo most people think of how it may impact their chance for employment, at least in the past. However, what about the long-term physical effects? Can tattoos cause health problems?
There’s a lot of information floating around and it can be tough to sort through and find the answer.
Can Tattoos Cause Health Issues?
Most tattoos are done by piercing the skin repeatedly with a hand-held machine to insert pigments into the skin’s top layer. This process punctures your skin and often causes a small amount of bleeding.
With this, you are automatically opening up your body to the possibility of infection. This is why taking all necessary precautions is essential to getting a safe tattoo. Some potential other risks include allergic reaction, skin infection, bloodborne diseases, complications with MRIs, and other skin issues like keloids or inflammation known as granuloma. Although many of these conditions can be treated, they should not be taken lightly.
When considering getting a tattoo, there are plenty of things that may deter you from a studio. We’re sure you know the obvious red flags:
- Tattoo studios that are dirty (this could lead to cross-contamination)
- Tattoo artist doesn’t share aftercare instructions before your appointment
- No use of prepackaged needles or disposable cartridges
- Tattoo artist doesn’t change out of their gloves
- Expired ink (noticeable when the paint begins to separate from the oil)
Protect yourself by watching out for these red flags and trusting your gut. While the above list is certainly important to keep an eye on, they are not the only red flags or concerns to monitor.
One long-term health issue with tattoos that many people don’t know too much about is ink toxicity. Discuss with your tattoo artist beforehand about what type of ink they use, ask questions, and do your own research. Make sure that you have no allergies to the ingredients and see what other people are saying about their experience with the same ink.
Do Tattoos Weaken Your Immune System?
The jury is still out on tattoos and their effect on the immune system, but the reasoning behind the conversation comes from the curiosity of how our body will react to foreign substances.
We know that when we get a cut or a splinter or even ink that macrophages (a type of white blood cell) will rush to the site of the wound and start eating up what they perceive to be intruders.
The macrophages then absorb the ink and go on their way. Some cultures, like Samoan, believe that tattooing properly can actually strengthen your immune response. If you’re in the market for some fresh ink it’s worth exploring this topic more.
You Can Keep Yourself Safe After a Tattoo
The information in this article is very important, but it shouldn’t scare you! Just think of it as a welcome reminder of some items to keep in mind when considering a tattoo. Most importantly, don’t skimp on the aftercare.
You can do all the research in the world and schedule with an amazing tattoo artist, but if you don’t follow up with proper aftercare your body is still at risk of long-term issues.
Remember, a reputable tattoo artist will discuss proper aftercare techniques with you, but in general, here are a few reminders:
- Avoid swimming in pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes, etc. This can give your body proper time to heal and avoid having to fight off any infection that could come from these bodies of water.
- Stay out of the sun for a few weeks.
- Let your skin breathe and choose clothes that won’t stick to or irritate your new tattoo.
- Stay moisturized by applying an artist-recommended moisturizer multiple times a day.
- Give yourself time! Allow up to 2 weeks for healing and do not pick at any scabs that may form.
Safely Remove a Tattoo with MEDermis
While you may already have had your ink for a while and you’re ready to take the steps to erase, we can help. Remember, protecting your skin is worth the wait and our team of Certified Licensed Laser Technicians will walk you through the entire process, with your safety as the top priority.
Have questions about how laser tattoo removal works? Or are you ready to schedule your FREE consultation? Get in touch with MEDermis Laser Clinic today by calling our Austin clinic at 512-637-5277, the San Antonio clinic at 210-402-4030, or by filling out our online contact form.