Skin Paintings (Tattoos) Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

Woman getting tattooed
Tattooing, a technique of marking the skin with colors, is not new. Some people view tattoos as works of art. Others see them as identifying with a group or as being different.

Permanent tattoos are applied with a machine that pierces the skin with needles. Tattooing is illegal in some states and heavily regulated in others, mostly because in the past many tattoo parlors were known to operate without concern for the health and safety of their customers. Today a major health concern of tattooing is the spread of hepatitis B and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. While there are no documented cases of someone contracting HIV because of getting a tattoo, the threat is still there.

To help prevent the spread of disease, professional organizations for tattoo artists now recommend certain procedures that they say all professional tattooists should follow. Some of these organizations even hold classes for tattooists to teach them cleanliness and sterilization techniques. They say that anyone considering a tattoo should ask the tattooist whether he or she has taken the class and ask to see the certificate of completion.

Getting a tattoo can be a painful experience. A small tattoo can take up to an hour to complete. Once a tattoo is finished, proper care is essential until the area has healed. Some complications include adverse reactions to the dyes used, which is rare, and infection. Infection typically can be avoided with proper care.

Although tattoos are meant to be permanent, there are methods for removing them but they are costly and can be painful.
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