Tattoo risks | Health risks of body piercing | Health line


A tattoo is a form of body art that is created when ink is inserted, with a needle, into the layer of the dermis of the skin. This changes the pigment of the skin and can be used to create almost any imaginable image.

Permanent makeup is also a form of tattoo. This is when permanent ink is used to mimic the appearance of eyeliner, lip liner, eyebrow pencil or other makeup.

Tattoos have become more and more popular in recent years. According to the Pew Research Center, almost four out of 10 people born after 1980 have at least one tattoo.

Piercing is another popular form of body art. This is a type of body modification where a needle pierces a hole in the body. The jewelry is inserted in this hole. Ears, noses, eyebrows, tongues, lips, navels, nipples, genitals and other parts of the body can be pierced. The most dramatic body modification procedures include the use of jewelry to stretch the earlobe, the implantation of pearls into the skin, the deliberate healing of the skin (scarification), the use of dermal perforations to create a hole in the cartilage and many more.

Although piercings and tattoos have grown in popularity, these procedures have health risks.

Risks to the health of the body modification.

Before making the decision to modify your body, it is important to understand the adverse side effects associated with these procedures.

Risks to the health of tattoos.

When you receive a tattoo, a tattoo artist uses a hand machine with an attached needle to prick the skin. Each time this device makes a hole, it injects ink into the dermis, the second layer of skin under the epidermis.

Tattoos are a common form of self-expression, but they also damage the skin and can cause complications. Complications may include:

  • Allergic reaction to tattoo dyes, which may develop years later; Signs of an allergic reaction include a rash on the tattoo site

  • skin infection, such as a staph or tuberculosis infection

  • Development of inflamed tissue nodules called granulomas around the tattoo site.

  • Keloid formation, which are excessive growths of scar tissue.

  • bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and tetanus; These can be contracted through the use of contaminated tattoo needles that have not been disinfected

  • Interference with future magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests

  • Burning or swelling in the tattoo site

The long-term effects of tattoo ink and dyes remain unknown. Until recently, no government regulatory agency has closely examined the safety of tattoo ink.

More than 50 dyes used in tattoos have been approved for use in cosmetics, but the risk of injecting them under the skin is not clear. These pigments are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Until now, the FDA has only analyzed whether these pigments are safe for external use, not for injection under the skin. No dye has been officially approved for injection under the skin.

Risks to the health of body piercings.

Modifying your body with perforations also involves a measure of risk, such as the risk of a bacterial infection. Some people develop an abscess after getting a perforation. This mass filled with pus can develop around the perforation. This is a serious side effect. If left untreated, there is a risk of sepsis or blood poisoning.

Sepsis is a potentially deadly response to an infection that can result in organ failure and death. Symptoms of blood poisoning include high fever, chills, fast heartbeat and rapid breathing. Infections are more common with piercings in the mouth and nose because these areas contain more bacteria.

Other risks associated with body piercings include:

  • swelling around the perforation site

  • Formation of a keloid around the perforation.

  • bleeding caused by a damaged blood vessel

There are also specific risks of location with perforations in the body. A perforation of the tongue can cause damage to your teeth and make it difficult for you to speak. Also, if your tongue swells after the piercing, the inflammation can block the airways and make breathing difficult.

A genital piercing can cause pain in sex and urination. The risk of complications is higher if you have other medical conditions such as:

  • diabetes

  • allergies, especially if you have ever had a reaction that caused redness, swelling of the throat or shortness of breath

  • Skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis.

  • a weak immune system

Talk to a doctor before performing a perforation if you have any of these conditions.

Precautions for tattoos and piercings.

You can reduce the possibility of health complications with a tattoo or a perforation if you take some simple precautions.

Safety precautions for tattoos.

  • Get a tattoo in an accredited and accredited facility. The regulations and tattoo requirements vary by state, so check with the local health department for the latest safety laws.

  • The needles and blades should not be reused. Be sure to watch your artist remove the needles from a new, sealed package.

  • Make sure your artist is wearing a new pair of gloves and washing his hands before beginning the procedure.

  • Work surfaces, chairs and non-disposable equipment should be properly cleaned and sterilized among customers. Choose another facility if there is evidence of poor sanitation.

  • The area of ​​skin that is being tattooed should be cleaned with a disinfectant, such as rubbing alcohol, before tattooing.

  • Fresh tattoos should be covered with a sterile gauze or bandage. Follow the artist's instructions to care for freshly tattooed skin.

Safety precautions for piercings.

  • A piercing gun should only be used on the ear lobes. A hollow needle should be used to pierce other parts of the body to prevent crushing of delicate tissues.

  • The drillers should wash their hands and put on a pair of new disposable surgical gloves.

  • Piercings on the body should be done with a single-use needle, which is discarded after each use.

  • The equipment and the drilling surfaces must be disinfected and cleaned after each client.

  • Jewelry must be sterilized before inserting through the body.

Postoperative care for tattoos and piercings.

There is also a lower risk of infection and complications of bodily modifications with appropriate steps of subsequent care.

Take care of a tattoo

  • Keep the new bandaged tattoos for 24 hours. Apply antibiotic ointment to the skin after removing the bandage.

  • Gently clean the tattoo with soap and water and then dry.

  • Use a mild moisturizer on freshly tattooed skin throughout the day.

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun during the first weeks.

  • It will take up to two weeks for your skin to heal. You can reduce the risk of infection by not touching the tattoo until it heals.

  • Gently clean the new piercings with a saltwater solution. Soak the clean gauze in the solution and then apply the gauze on the new perforation.

  • Only clean the piercings twice a day. Excessive cleaning can irritate the skin and delay the healing process.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap before touching or cleaning the piercings.

Taking care of a body piercing.

Signs of an infected tattoo or piercing include redness, inflamed skin, fever and an abscess. Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect an infection.


Tattoos can be removed, but not always completely or with satisfactory cosmetic results. The process is expensive and requires repeated visits to a doctor. Scarring is also likely. The FDA recommends laser surgery performed by a dermatologist as a safe technique to remove tattoos. Consult your doctor if you are thinking about removing a tattoo.

The reversion of the perforation is usually as simple as removing the jewels and allowing the hole in the skin to heal. Perforated cartilage, stretched skin and other bodily modifications may require surgical correction.

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