The Importance Of Aftercare
Its worth noting that tattoo artists should offer some guidelines about skin care after receiving a tattoo. According to one study of licensed tattooists in New York City, 56% received training on tattoo-related skin conditions, but 92% were consulted about skin issues by their clients.
Most tattoo artists are interested in learning more about skin conditions related to tattoos. However, with only about half reporting being trained, its important to note that adverse reactions may need to be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Some tips to keep in mind before and after getting a tattoo:
- Seek out a reputable, licensed tattoo artist, and ask questions about tattoos and autoimmune conditions.
- The skin in the area to be tattooed should be disinfected before starting.
- Tattoo artists should wear gloves while working.
- Equipment used should be from sealed packages to ensure they are sterile and only used once.
- Nondisposable equipment should be cleaned using a machine that sterilizes them with heat .
- After the tattoo is complete, keep the area clean with soap and water, avoid exposing it to the sun, use a moisturizer, and dont go swimming.
- Dont scratch or pick at any scabs that form on the tattoo.
- It can take a few weeks for a tattoo to heal, so its important to continue any aftercare instructions during that time.
What Can I Do To Reduce My Risks
There is no such thing as a totally risk-free piercing or tattoo, but getting your body art done at a reputable studio can reduce your risks. The best way to find a reputable studio is to visit the studio and ask questions. Before making an appointment for body art, ask someone who works there if the artists use:
An autoclave: This device sterilizes equipment and other supplies. Staff should use an autoclave to disinfect non- disposable equipment after each use. If the studio does not have an autoclave, look for another studio.
A commercial disinfectant or bleach solution: This is necessary for disinfecting items too big to fit in an autoclave. Anything that an artist might touch while working on you should be disinfected. This includes drawer handles, tables, and sinks. Be sure to ask what they disinfect.
New, sterile equipment: The artist should use a new, sterile needle for each piercing. If youre getting a tattoo, watch the tattoo artist. Make sure the needles and tubes come from sealed packages. Inks should be poured into a single-use disposable container. The tattoo artist should throw out unused ink.
Body piercings only
If you want a body piercing, you also should find a studio that uses the following:
Single-use piercing gun: You should not get a piercing from a piercing gun unless the part of the gun that touches your
skin is both sterile and unused . Most piercing guns do not fit in an autoclave.
Tattoo before laser removal treatments
When To Hold Off On Getting A Tattoo
There are some clear situations, according to experts, when people with eczema should not get tattooed. If youre experiencing eczema flare-ups, you should wait. If theres any sign of anything wrong with a customers skin, thats an instant no for us, said Lori Rowe, whos worked for 18 years as a tattoo artist in Portland, Oregon. Most people are pretty cautious, but sometimes we still have to turn people away. Flaring skin may indicate a system-wide elevated immune response, even if the location of the prospective tattoo isnt actively flaring. Dr. Peter Lio, dermatologist at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine, echoed Loris caution. Id probably try to talk someone out of getting a tattoo if they were flaring, he said. Even if a person is flaring in a small, distant area, we still consider inflammation as abnormal in the skin as a whole.
Your skin may appear flare-free where you want to get a tattoo, but, if youre flaring elsewhere, the ink from the tattoo can still affect your entire body. Dr. Ari Zelig, an allergist based in Miami, Florida, explained that flaring skin can be worsened by allergens and irritants, especially the dye used in some color tattoo inks. While black ink is potentially less likely to exacerbate a flare up, Dr. Zelig and Dr. Lio advised patients to wait until their flaring skin had calmed down. If any of the following statements are true for you, according to Dr. Zelig, it means you should not get a tattoo :
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Why Do Tattoos Fade Over Time
But if tattoos are permanent, why do they fade? Think of it this way: your tattoos become a part of your skin and they will change, wrinkle, and discolor along with your skin. Aging and sun exposure are the two main factors that impact a tattoos appearance. The UV rays from sunlight are able to break down the pigments in your skin, causing fading, and aging can lead to less skin elasticity and stretching which can change the tattoos shape.
Tattoos in areas that receive more sun exposure and also substantial friction like the hands, feet, mouth, and face are also more prone to fading so keep that in mind when choosing placement.
Research On The Best Tattoo Ink For Your Skin
The ink you are going to use plays a significant role in the affects you will have after getting the tattoo. Generally, tattoo inks come in many varieties. Ensure that you consult the tattoo artist you choose about the right ink for your sensitive skin. Choosing an ideal ink means that you will not have terrible side effects like itching and scaring off your skin. Also, tell the tattoo artist about your skin conditions early enough because most of them usually pre-order the tattoo inks. Telling them earlier will ensure the pick the right ink, considering your skin condition. You can also read about the ink people with eczema are using for their tattoos on Reddit.
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Skin Reactions Caused By Tattoos:
If youre having a skin reaction, heres what may be happening with your skin and what you can do to prevent it.
- Skin Rashes:
You can develop an allergic reaction at any time. It can happen:
- Weeks or years later
Some people develop an allergic reaction after having medical treatment. This reaction is most likely to occur if you:
- Start anti retroviral treatment for HIV
- Have joint-replacement surgery
Signs of skin rashes may include:
- Chills and shivering
- Open sores in the tattoo
Medical help is recommended and also talk to your tattoo artist if anything you can apply to diminish the infection.
- Sun allergy:
After getting a tattoo, some people may also develop a sun allergy on their inked skin. This reaction can happen each and every time the skin is exposed in the sunlight.
Signs of a sun allergy appear within a few minutes of the sun hitting your tattoo or hours later. You may notice any of the following symptoms:
- Swelling and redness around a tattoo
- Itchy rash
- Blisters or hives
You can prevent your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen lotion of SPF-30 just 15 minutes prior to heading out in the sun and staying in shady areas while stepping outside. Covering the tattoo may also relieve eczema symptoms.
- Ink Allergy:
You can develop an allergic reaction any time as soon as you get a tattoo. It can happen:
- Weeks or years later
- Redness and swelling
Dont Rush To Get A Tattoo
If you experience itching or redness on your skin when you plan to have your tattoo, it would be best to reschedule your appointment. Itchiness and redness are a sign that you may experience flare-ups soon. So it would be best to wait until the flare-ups have passed, and consult your dermatologist before getting the tattoo.
Besides, I wouldnât advise you to rush to get a tattoo. When you want to get a tattoo, you want something that you will always admire. Hence, the design of the tattoo matters a lot. It is another reason why you should go for an excellent tattoo artist. Elite tattoo artists will be able to provide you with the best design, but it may take some time. Thus, thereâs no need to rush if you want an excellent tattoo just because your skin is clear that day.
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Allergic Reactions To Tattoo Ink
Allergies are the most common post-tattoo complication. Reactions cause the tattoo to become itchy and swollensometimes following sun exposure. They also lead to the development of somewhat severe lesions which usually itch.
In most cases, this phenomenon affects just one color in the tattoo . These reactions are unpredictable and can arise any time, from a few weeks later to more than 40 years after getting the tattoo. To this day, we have no way of knowing when such a reaction will occur.
These allergies are treated with the application of topical corticosteroids. These treatments provide discouraging outcomes, however, because the ink is still inside the skin. Laser treatment or surgery to remove the tattoo is sometimes necessary.
Having a tattoo test zone done on a hidden patch of skin would be of no use whatsoever. No allergy test performed prior to getting the tattoo is able to detect an allergy to tattoo ink.
Europe recently began enforcing regulations on tattoo ink composition. Such regulations could reduce these sorts of complications in the future and provide better advice to clients in case of a known allergy to an ingredient.
For now, if you have a pre-existing allergy to a tattoo ink , you should avoid that color no matter what the brand, as different inks could all have ingredients in common.
What are the risks associated with tatoos in case of atopic eczema?
All the same previously mentioned complications apply .
Why Are Tattoos Permanent
First of all let’s answer the big question: why are tattoos permanent? What is going on in your skin to make tattoos last forever?
When you get a tattoo, your tattoo artist is depositing ink into your dermis, the layer of skin beneath the outer epidermis, using a tattoo gun which delivers thousands of ink-filled needle pricks into the skin per minute.
Your body senses something is wrong because, well, having ink forcefully driven into your skin isnt all that natural, so your bodys immune response is to send white blood cells called macrophages to clean out any foreign material, and prevent it from delving deeper into your body. Macrophages eat up the ink, keeping it locked in their cell membranes, and they continue to suck up and store the ink repeatedly until they die. Then new macrophages arrive and repeat the same process on and on forever, and thus, the tattoo ink stays put.
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Is There Special Ink For Sensitive Skin
Just as you can get a variety of inks to make art on paper, tattoo inks come in different varieties, too. Some tattoo artists already have ink for sensitive skin on hand. Other shops may have to order it in advance.
Its also important to know that a tattoo artist may not have the legal right to work on your skin if you have any lesions related to your eczema flare-up. Youll need to wait until your skin has healed before getting a tattoo.
Questions for your tattoo artist
If you have eczema, before you get a tattoo, ask your tattoo artist these questions:
- Do you have experience with eczema-prone skin?
- Do you use ink made for sensitive skin? If not, can it be ordered before my session?
- What aftercare recommendations do you have?
- What should I do if I get eczema underneath my new tattoo?
- Are you licensed?
Can I Get Rid Of A Tattoo
If you no longer want a tattoo, you should talk with your dermatologist. Dermatologists have the medical expertise to tell you what you can expect from tattoo removal. Some tattoos can be removed completely. Nearly all tattoos can be faded. Dermatologists also have the medical knowledge to help you avoid potential side effects from tattoo removal, such as burns, scars, and infections.
Most patients who want a tattoo removed will receive a series of laser treatments. Before recommending a treatment though, a dermatologist considers many factors. One factor is how deeply the ink penetrates your skin. If the artist placed the ink very deeply in the skin, the laser may have a more difficult time reaching it.
Your dermatologist also will consider the colors in the tattoo, where the tattoo appears on your body, and whether you smoke. Research shows that laser tattoo removal is less successful if the person smokes.
If laser treatment is not an option for you, a dermatologist may recommend another treatment. Smaller tattoos are sometimes removed surgically.
A board-certified dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating the medical, surgical, and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org or call this toll-free number 462-DERM .
Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides
American Academy of Dermatology
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Tell Me About Your Experience
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on June 06, 2014:
Thanks for your comment G-sleeves yes, I found it interesting as well when researching, especially the point of view from the artists themselves. As a rule, most of the artists that have been around know what psoriasis is and the effects that may or may not happen to their work. Some will, some wont its really up to the artists. The one thing that I would do is tell the artist that you have psoriasis, he/she will let you know where they stand with it. The good artists will already have experience with psoriasis, but like I said in the article, some will be okay with it, others will refuse. Peace. Kawi.
Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on June 05, 2014:
Hi Kawi. This is an interesting and informative article, both in its general comments and the more specific issue of tattoos and psoriasis.
Although Im not personally a sufferer, I did have a girlfriend who is, so I am sure any article like this which spreads the word and shares advice, must be welcomed. Voted up.
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on May 24, 2013:
Hi Bobski a good support group is always good to have. More than that, an artist that is familiar with your condition would be awesome! Thanks for your comment. Peace. Kawi.
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on May 24, 2013:
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on May 24, 2013:
Bobby from U.K on May 23, 2013:
TurtleDog on May 22, 2013:
Combining Medication And Natural Approaches
Try alternating your meds with more natural approaches. Once you have lived with your condition, you will have a better understanding of your body, and you will know how your body reacts to certain meds and certain natural remedies. Include exercise and any form of meditation or relaxation to help you build up defenses against stress.
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What If I Want A Tattoo
If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, you should understand that tattoos are permanent. Tattoo removal is difficult, expensive, and may not be completely remove the tattoo.
Before getting a tattoo, make sure you have had all your immunizations . If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, a weak immune system, or a bleeding problem, talk to your doctor before getting a tattoo. Also, if you get keloids you probably should not get a tattoo.
Even though tattoos are generally accepted, having one may hurt your chances of getting a job or advancing your career. If you get a tattoo, career coaches recommend you get one that’s easy to cover with work clothes.
You And Your Tattoo: Together For Life
Tattoo aftercare is one of the most important parts of the tattoo process. Tattoo care can mean the difference between having a vibrant, colorful tattoo and having the colors and/or lettering fade more quickly.
The days and weeks after getting a new tattoo are critical. Proper tattoo care is essential during the healing process and after your new ink is fully healed.
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What Are The Risks
If you decide to get a tattoo, chances are everything will go as planned. Some people have allergic reactions to the tattoo ink, causing itching, bumps, and rashes that might happen days, weeks, or longer after the tattoo was placed. Tattoos might make eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions flare up.
Serious problems can happen if you try to do a tattoo yourself, have a friend do it for you, or have it done in any unclean environment. Skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can happen if the skin is not cleaned properly, or the ink or needles are contaminated. Sharing needles, ink, or other equipment without sterilization increases your chance of getting HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
Tips To Help Your Skin Heal
When it comes to basic tattoo care, youll want to follow the routine we recommended above. Keep in mind that your skin is still healing up to four weeks after getting your ink .
To help the healing process along, here are a few more things you can do:
- Avoid direct sunlight if at all possible.
- Dont scratch.
- Dont rub or pick at the flaking skin.
- Dont go swimming, and stick to short showers until your tattoo has fully healed, as water can also affect a tattoo.
- Dont shave. When you can slide your fingers over your tattoo without feeling any bumps, you should be good to go.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Take good care of yourself. Remember that your body is healing!
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