Before You Get A Tattoo
Some facilities will not serve individuals who have an inflammatory skin condition like psoriasis, regardless of whether the disease is active or not. Furthermore, some state laws prohibit parlors from tattooing people with skin conditions. Make sure you ask ahead of time.
It is also a good idea to check the state laws regarding tattoo sanitation, including the use of protective gear, disposable needles, and sterilization equipment. Most states require some form of licensing which you should check in advance of your appointment.
Woman Horrified As Severe Psoriasis Destroys Her Tattoo
A woman has been left devastated after severe and quick-spreading psoriasis covered her entire body and turned the rose tattoo on her arm into an unrecognisable, blurry mess.
When Kelly OHanlon, 35, first noticed her scalp was itchy and flaky, she thought it was simply dandruff, so she started using a specialist shampoo.
But when that made little difference, she saw her GP and was diagnosed with psoriasis an incurable condition which sees the skin become covered in crusty patches.
Over the next few years, Kelly who has two children tried all sorts of treatments, including topical creams and UVB light therapy, but nothing controlled the condition for long.
I went from having a patch of psoriasis the size of a 50p to my legs, arms, stomach and even face being covered in red, sore patches, says Kelly.
The tattoo on my arm, which I got in 2017 and have always loved, was particularly affected. One day it was there, and the next it had disappeared into a blurred, distorted mess.
The initial patch on Kellys scalp began to get grow and get incredibly itchy, but Kelly admits she never expected the condition to spread as quickly as it did.
Over the next three months, Kellys symptoms worsened until her hairline and the skin behind her ears were also covered in crusty patches.
In September 2011, she was officially diagnosed with plaque psoriasis the most common form of the condition and given some prescription-strength coal tar shampoo.
What Skin Care Routine Should You Follow After Getting A New Tattoo
You should treat your new tattoo like a new wound. That means you want to keep a close eye on the area and keep it clean. Here are some things you can do:
Keep it clean by washing the area twice a day with a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
Apply a thin layer of a cream-based moisturizer or Aquaphor healing ointment to prevent it from drying out.
Avoid pure petroleum products , which can fade tattoo pigment.
Avoid touching the area until it is healed keeping it covered can help with this.
Continue this regimen until your tattoo is fully healed, usually between 1 and 3 weeks.
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Do Psoriasis And Tattoos Mix
Tattoos are a form of self-expression and have been around for centuries. On any given day, youre apt to see someone with a visible tattoo while walking down the street.
With the ever-growing popularity of tattoos, you may be wondering about the safety of tattoos if you have psoriasis.
Below, weve outlined some safety considerations for you about psoriasis and tattoos.
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 .
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Issues With Stiffness/pain During The Procedure
Keep in mind that you may need to keep still for a long period of time during the procedure. This could be more challenging for people with arthritis, who can have pain and stiffness in joints when theyre immobile. Its important to let your tattoo artist know about your disease and your concerns. When selecting a tattoo artist, ask around and look for recommendations of people who will be sensitive to your health needs. You may need to take more frequent breaks during the procedure, for example.
Can You Get A Tattoo
Just because you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it does not mean that you cant get some ink done! There has been a lot of research done into the areas of tattoos and psoriasis, and both doctors and tattoo artists have been conducting studies on how psoriatic skin reacts to the tattoo gun. However, if you have psoriasis, getting a tattoo can be a challenge.
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Tattoos And Arthritis: Understanding The Risks
Id never tell a patient that they cant do something they really want to do , says Alexa Meara, MD, rheumatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. For someone with RA, their risk of infection can be higher. When it comes to patients who want a tattoo, I recommend researching to find a clean, well-reviewed, and reputable place, she says.
Here are some concerns that people with arthritis or related musculoskeletal pain need to think about before deciding to get a tattoo:
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Why Ink Color May Matter
The exact extent of adverse reactions to tattoos is not well understood in the United States. The color of the ink may be related to the risk of inflammation, allergic reactions, and hypersensitivity, because of certain ingredients, including chromium in green ink, cadmium in yellow ink, mercury salt in red ink, and cobalt in blue ink.
In one study of people with tattoos who were selected at random in New York Citys Central Park, 10% had an adverse reaction to a tattoo. For 42% of those who described the reaction as related to the colors used in the tattoo, red was the culprit.
While 90% of those surveyed had black ink in their tattoos, only 25% reported a reaction. The authors of the study conclude that such reactions to tattoos are common.
Testing the ink with a patch test on the skin may or may not be helpful. People who had a reaction to a tattoo who were later given a patch test with red ink did not have the same reaction.
Its thought that the process of receiving the ink during the tattoo session is different enough from a patch test that they are not equivalent. However, reputable tattoo artists will help with completing patch tests when clients have a concern about an allergic reaction.
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Can I Get A Tattoo If I Have Psoriasis
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Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition, in which inflammation inside the body causes symptoms called plaques to develop on the skin. Plaques are areas of raised, red, scaly skin that can occur anywhere in the body.
People with psoriasis often wonder if it is safe for them to get a tattoo. Tattooing involves injecting ink into the skin using a needle. The process of tattooing involves causing trauma to the skin for people without psoriasis or other skin conditions, the skin usually heals relatively quickly.
However, people with psoriasis will need to think carefully about getting a tattoo, because trauma to the skin is a common psoriasis trigger. A psoriasis trigger is something that causes a persons psoriasis symptoms to flare-up and become worse1.
When trauma to the skin causes psoriasis symptoms, the condition is called the Koebner phenomenon. It happens in around one-quarter of people with psoriasis, and the new plaques can develop in areas of skin that were not tattooed or that have never had plaques before. People usually develop new plaques between 10-20 days after the skin injury, but they can take up to two years to develop2. The Koebner phenomenon can also cause a person to develop psoriasis for the first time4. It is more common among people who developed psoriasis at a young age, and can affect people with mild, moderate, or severe disease3.
State Rules And Laws Regarding Tattoos For People With Psoriasis
State laws vary regarding tattooing people with psoriasis.
For example, tattoo artists in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Louisiana arent permitted to work on any area of the skin where there are lesions. Louisiana even has a clause that specifically mentions psoriasis.
South Carolina also prohibits tattooing on skin with any type of irregularity, such as a rash, sunburn, lesion, or pimple.
Finding out your states tattoo laws will be an important part of your preparation process.
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Be Sure Of Your Decision
As always, think carefully about your decision to get a tattoo and avoid any impulsive tattoos. Tattoos are permanent. Despite advancements in tattoo removal techniques, laser removal is not 100% effective and is a long, painful and costly process. Having it surgically removed will always leave behind a scar.
What Is The Koebner Phenomenon
The Koebner phenomenon refers to the development of skin lesions following an injury to healthy skin.
It can result from a simple scratch, but it can also be a response to tattooing, especially in people with psoriasis.
For example, a person with psoriasis may choose a location for a tattoo where they have never experienced skin changes.
After having the tattoo, however, a psoriasis-like flare might occur. This typically occurs weeks later, though some people have reported reactions occurring later still.
A 2013 paper in the journal CMAJ cites figures suggesting that around 25% of people with psoriasis will experience the Koebner phenomenon after sustaining a skin injury such as a tattoo.
In the Koebner phenomenon, symptoms usually only affect the area where skin damage has occurred. It is not an infection, and it is not contagious.
Doctors do not fully understand why the Koebner phenomenon occurs. They know that it is common in people with psoriasis, but they cannot predict who will experience it after getting a tattoo and who will not.
A person with psoriasis should be aware of the risk of experiencing lesions on the tattooed area, even if psoriasis plaques have never occurred in that area before.
The Koebner phenomenon is a temporary change. Treatments that are suitable for other types of psoriasis can usually help resolve it.
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When Is The Best Time To Get A Tattoo
People with psoriasis should not go to a tattoo parlor when they are experiencing psoriasis symptoms, even if the flare-ups are not where they want to place their body art. The immune system is already reacting to psoriasis flares, and a new tattoo may worsen the problem.
Some states have laws that will prohibit tattoo artists from taking a client with active skin lesions, skin infections, or allergic reactions on the skin. I went for a tattoo recently and had to leave because I had a few spots of psoriasis on my arm, a MyPsoriasisTeam member reported.
Recommendations For The Day Of Your Tattoo Appointment
Based on our experts guidance, the ideal time to get a tattoo is when a person is completely flare-free. Dr. Lio said that ideally the skin location for a tattoo should be eczema-free for at least a few months: in other words, the eczema should be under excellent control before getting a tattoo. Artists Lori Rowe and Jayne Jezebelle agreed, and Sarah Walls added several key reminders to consider the night before the appointment:
- Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep
- Drink plenty of water until youre fully hydrated
- Dont drink alcohol the night before the appointment
- Dont get sunburned the day before your appointment
- Dont take Aspirin or Ibuprofen the day before the appointment because they can thin the blood
- Eat a full breakfast so you dont come into the appointment on an empty stomach
Sarah said that people with eczema are often better prepared for their own skincare. Ive seen people with eczema who take much, much better care of their skin than some of our customers. I know I do, she said. In some ways, our customers with eczema already know so much more about how to care for their tattoos than people coming in who dont know much about their own skin. This may include bringing in specific soap or lotion or towels that work best for your individual skin: customizing the experience to meet each persons individual needs, Sarah said, is an important part of the first appointment: Comfort is everything.
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Q: What Are The Biggest Risks Of Getting A Tattoo
A: Tattoo ink contains various chemicals, such as aluminum, iron oxide, manganese, and mercury sulfide. These ingredients can cause an allergic reaction such as a rash or swelling. Yellow and some red tattoo inks that contain cadmium sulfide pose the greatest risk of a photoallergic reaction, which is triggered by exposure to sunlight.
Psoriasis Can Affect The Appearance Of A Tattoo
The problem with psoriasis is that, if it develops within the tattoo, it can cause the tattoo to fade, discolor, or even disappear from the skin of the individual. For an artist, this may be unacceptable. For some, they have to touch up the area for others, the artist may feel that this is not possible. The option to fix tattoos that have contracted psoriasis is entirely up to the artist themselves. Those that won’t take the risk of not being able to fix a tattoo will turn you away.
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Getting Tattoos With Psoriasis
This is my thought and approach for those who choose to get tattoos. That the decision is 100% your choice, and I will not judge you either way. I love tattoos. I enjoy looking at them and thinking through potential new ones, its a creative process. Though, having psoriasis can complicate this artistic journey.
So if youre looking to get a tattoo with plaques or risking a potential flare, I invite you to take into consideration the tips Ive provided below.
Psoriasis And Tattoos Opt Biologicals
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Safe Tattoo Practice With Psoriasis
Consider the fact that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the plaques on your skin are caused because your body perceives itself to be foreign and is attacking itself.
Any time you introduce something that is foreign to your body, you risk infection if your body is in a current attack phase, it may be unable to fight the infection.
Knowing that Koebner phenomenon can happen to one in four people with psoriasis, you also must assess whether you want to take the risk of worsening your psoriasis. If the risk is worth it to you, there are steps you should consider when selecting a tattoo parlor.
Following these guidelines will minimize your risk of infection, although they will not reduce your risk of the Koebner phenomenon:
Not All Tattoo Shops Are the Same
Once you have decided you would like to get a tattoo, you should do your research before going in for a tattoo. After all, not all tattoo shops are the same and not all follow guidelines established by OSHA and state law.
If you decide you want to go a specific tattoo parlor, make sure you verify the following about the tattoo parlor:
- If it is reputable
- The shop and artists are properly licensed
- The shop is clean
- Artists wear gloves during tattooing
- Artists understand proper sterilization of all tools
- Ink cups are only used for the one person getting the tattoo and thrown out afterward
- Fresh needles are used each time
Are There Risks Of Getting A Tattoo If You Have Eczema
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is caused by an immune system reaction. You may develop eczema as a child, but its also possible to get it later as an adult, too. Eczema tends to run in families and may also be triggered by:
- chemicals or air pollution
Anyone who gets a tattoo risks certain side effects. When you have eczema or other preexisting skin conditions such as psoriasis, your skin is already sensitive, so you may be at an increased risk.
risks of tattooing sensitive skin
- increased itchiness from the skin healing
- eczema flare-ups, including increased itching and redness
- hyper- or hypopigmentation, especially if youre using the tattoo as a cover up on your skin
- an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink used, which is rare, but possible
- scarring from a tattoo that hasnt healed properly
- development of keloids
If youre thinking about getting a tattoo to cover up scars from an old eczema flare, be aware that youre still at risk of developing side effects. In turn, its possible that the scar youre trying to cover up could worsen.
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