The tattooing process can result in a variety of medical problems. Because it requires breaking the skin barrier, can

process entail certain health risks, including infection and allergic reactions. Modern tattooists reduce such risks by following universal precautions. General measures in question are working with disposables and sterilize their equipment after each use. Many countries require that tattooists have a medical education regarding blood borne pathogens, these are given by among others the Red Cross.

Dermatologists have observed rare but severe medical complications from tattoo pigments in the body, and have noticed that the tattoo interested rarely assess health risks before they get their tattoos. Some doctors have recommended increased regulation of pigment in the tattoo ink. The wide range of pigments that are currently used in tattoo inks can create unforeseen health problems.


Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and body fluids, diseases may be transmitted if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized. Infection risk from a modern tattoo studio, however, is very low, involved tattoo artists do not in most cases be well aware of the risk and usually disposable items. With beginners and amateurs, such as those applied art form in prisons or in a friend’s basement, there is an increased risk of infections and contagions. To solve this problem, introduced a program in Canada in summer 2005 that provides legal training for tattoo interested in prisons, both to reduce health risks and to provide inmates a marketable skill. 

In the United States, prohibits the Red Cross a person who has received a tattoo from donating blood for 12 months (FDA 2000), unless the tattooing process was conducted on a state regulated and licensed studio, using sterile technique. Not all states have a licensing program, which means that people who get tattoos in these countries in the 12-month deferral regardless of the hygienic standard in the studio. Similarly, the UK is not certification of tattooing, and blood donation is prohibited without exception for six months after a tattoo done.

Infections that can theoretically be transmitted through unsterilized tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV. It is, however, no officially declared an HIV infection by an applied tattooing process. There is also a risk of tetanus, though it is an EU standard with tetanus injections, be sure to have an up-to-date treatment.

In 2006, the CDC reported 44 cases of 
methicillin-resistant staphylococcus *  infection traced to unlicensed tattoo artists.


* Meticillin of S. aureus are not caused lactamases. In bacterial cell wall structures are called penicillin-binding protein (PBP). It is at these lactam attaches when to attack bacteria by disrupting bacterial cell wall. S. aureus has four PBP (PBP 1-4). The most important of these is called PBP2 and S. aureus has this in two copies, one has very low “willingness” to attach to beta lactam antibiotics and it therefore creates resistance.

When to investigate whether a bacterial sample contains MRSA, one looks for two genes. They are mecA, which provides its MRSA methicillin resistance, and the nuc which is a unique gene right of S. aureus. This is possible thanks to the Nobel prize-winning art PCR.



Reactions to the ink

Perhaps because of the mechanism by which the skin’s immune system encapsulates the pigment particles in the fibrous tissue, tattoo ink has been described as “remarkably non-reactive”. However, some allergic reactions medically documented. No calculation of the total incidence of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are. Allergy to latex is much more common than ink. Many artists use latex-free gloves as a standard.

Allergic reactions to tattoo pigments usually seen with red, yellow and sometimes white. Reactions can be triggered by exposure to sunlight. People who are sensitive or allergic to certain metals may react to pigments in the skin, swelling and / or itching, and / or oozing clear fluid called serum. Such reactions are quite rare, however, and some artists will recommend performing a prick test.Since mercury and azo chemicals in red colors are more commonly allergenic than other pigments, seen reactions more frequently in tattoos with the reds. Uncommon allergic reactions occurs against black, purple and green pigments.

Traditional metal salts are common in tattoo ink. A 3 × 5 inch tattoo may contain 1-23 micrograms of lead, lead exposure has been linked to birth defects, cancer and other reproductive harm. Organic pigments (ie light metal pigments) can also cause health problems. The European Commission noted that nearly 40% of organic tattoo dyes used in Europe had not been approved for cosmetic use, and that over 20% of the dyes containing a carcinogenic aromatic amines.

Radiography complications

A few cases of burns on tattoos caused by MRI ie surgical X-ray machines, have been documented. Problems tend to occur with subjects that contain large areas of black ink because black typically contain iron oxide, magnetic camera makes the iron heated by inducing electric current waves. Burns may also occur on smaller tattoos as “permanentmakeup”, but this is rare. It should be emphasized that the tattoo burns are rare, so just to have a tattoo should not be a reason to not get an MRI if needed.

Other adverse effects
Other documented condition caused by tattoo pigments are cancer, hyperplasia, tumors, and vasculitis. Keratoacanthoma can also occur, making the removal of the affected area obligatory.
Sometimes, when a blood vessel is punctured during the tattooing process, a hematoma (bruise) is. Bruises generally heal within a week. Bruising can appear as halos around a tattoo, or as blood pools, as a large bruise.

Some pigment migrates from the punctured area to the lymph nodes, where large particles may accumulate. When larger particles accumulate in the lymph nodes, inflammation can occur. Smaller particles, such as those created by a laser treated tattoo, is small enough to be carried away by the lymphatic system and not lumped.
Lymph nodes may be discolored and inflamed by the presence of tattoo pigments, but the discoloration and inflammation are also visual indicators for melanoma, therefore, it is difficult to diagnose melanoma in a patient with newly made ​​tattoos, and special precautions must be taken to avoid misdiagnosis.