A tattoo is a form of body art that’s created when ink is inserted, using a needle, into the dermis layer of the skin. This changes the skin’s pigment and can be used to create almost any image imaginable. Tattoos are a common form of self-expression, but they also damage the skin and can cause complications.While receiving a tattoo, a tattoo artist uses a handheld machine with an attached needle to puncture the skin. Every time this device makes a hole, it injects ink into the dermis (the second layer of skin below the epidermis). Some of the skin risks include:
Allergic reaction to tattoo dyes, which may develop years later; signs of an allergic reaction include a rash at the tattoo site skin infection, such as a staph infection or tuberculosis.
Development of nodules of inflamed tissue called granulomas around the tattoo site, formation of keloids, which are overgrowths of scar tissue.
Blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and tetanus; these can be contracted by using contaminated tattoo needles that haven’t been sanitized.
Interference with future magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, burning or swelling at the tattoo site.
The long-term effects of tattoo ink and colorings remain unknown. Until recently, no government regulatory agency has closely examined the safety of tattoo ink. More than 50 colorings used in tattoos have been approved for use in cosmetics, but the risk of injecting them beneath the skin is unclear. Such pigments are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationTrusted Source (FDA). So far, the FDA has only looked at whether these pigments were safe for external use, not for injection under the skin. No coloring has been officially approved for injection under the skin.