Cancer And Other Dangerous Health Risks Of Tattoos

Health24.com – Do you know someone who is thinking about getting a tattoo? You might want to share these potential health risks.

Transmission of serious infections like HIV and hepatitis, as well as allergic reactions, may occur.

Here are other complications you could experience after getting a tattoo.

1. You could be allergic to the ink

Nicola Hickman decided to get a tattoo of a heart on her ankle to show her love for her daughter. Everything was fine until six weeks later.

“I noticed that the tattoo was bumpy and the red color was fading. I went back to the tattooist to ask his opinion, and he said he would be happy to top up the color when the bumps went down,” Hickman told the Daily Mail.

However, the bumps just worsened. “I tried to ignore it but it got to the point where I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wear proper footwear and I couldn’t sleep on it.”

According to an article in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, “classic pigments and their degradation products used in tattooing, such as dichromate (green), cobalt (blue), cadmium (yellow) and mercury salt (red)-based pigments are responsible for these kind of reactions.”

This reaction can occur shortly after the tattoo – or years later.

2. A tattoo could hide skin cancer

A man wanted to have multicolored tattoos removed from his arms and chest. However, doctors noticed a suspicious-looking mole inside one tattoo, and recommended having the mole removed before starting laser therapy; however the man refused and began laser therapy.

Forty-seven surgeries and seven years later, the mole had to be removed and was diagnosed as stage 2 melanoma.

Dr. Robert Shmerling, editor at Harvard Health Publications, says tattoo ink may hide changes to moles, making them difficult to evaluate. The ink can also move into underlying tissues and resemble the spread of metastatic melanoma.

3. It could affect how you sweat

Tattoos may interfere with how your skin sweats – compared with non-inked skin, tattooed skin releases about 50% less sweat.

Your skin usually reabsorbs sodium and electrolytes released during perspiration, but he says tattoos may partially block this reabsorption.

4. It could raise your risk of a bacterial infection

A man who got a leg tattoo and then swam in the Gulf of Mexico. He was admitted to hospital with an infection with the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus. He suffered from skin necrosis and septic shock for two months before dying.

5. A tattoo may lead to complications during medical procedures

A man received second-degree skin burns in two tattoos while having a cervical spine MRI. He complained of a burning sensation on his arm – his tattooed skin was raised and swollen. Read more. 

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