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Five Potential Side Effects of Getting a Tattoo

Posted on October 18 2018


5 Risks of Getting a TattooIn truth, one the most prevalent potential side effects of getting a tattoo is probably regret. Not everyone regrets the decision obviously, but it is pretty common. With it being a permanent image that’s effectively cut into your skin, the possibility of you growing tired of it is pretty significant. Most people willing to spend the money on it and endure the pain are probably well prepared for this. And for some, even if they like the specific tattoo less than when they got it, they just like being inked in general. So regret is a potential side effect, but it’s not exactly a serious one. However, for millions of people tattoos are the ultimate in self expression and in some ways the human body is the ultimate canvas. Tattoo culture is now a prevalent part of our collective consciousness. Over 45 million people have tattoos in the U.S. Anyone planning on getting a tattoo should consider all the pros and cons.  Some side effects can be serious however, here’s five that you might want to look out for when getting a tattoo.

  1.    Allergic Reactions

The trouble with people who are getting their first tattoo, is that it’s hard to know whether or not your skin will actually accept it. You could be allergic to the ink, and one of the worst things about this is the fact that it might not start affecting you for a long time after you get the tattoo. And on top of that, you may just be allergic to one colour. Different chemicals are used for different coloured ink, with the lighter colours tending to be the most commonly problematic. The reaction itself could range from minor irritation such as a small, itchy rash, to a much more serious, more painful result that becomes harder to deal with. It has happened that people have had to get tattoos surgically removed when the infection gets too serious. Find out what chemicals will be necessary for the design you want and then have yourself checked for any kind of allergy to it. If you do end up with an allergic reaction that’s not too serious, some essential oils may be able to help relieve the pain. Lavender in particular has been known to be useful for the type of allergies usually associated with ink.

  1.    Hidden Skin Cancer

Unfortunately this is something else that has been known to happen to people. It’s a pretty scary thought. It becomes hard to tell whether or not a mole or lesion is beginning to look suspicious if the area is covered in ink. The ink itself can infringe on the pigmentation of a lesion which will not only make it difficult to examine, but also to even notice in the first place. The cancer could be growing for years without you even realizing it because the area is covered with layers of colours. Best thing to do is keep a close eye but also avoid getting tattoos in any areas where you have moles or birthmarks.

  1.    Bacterial Infections

5 risks of getting a tattooHaving all of these chemicals inked onto yourself can cause the protective layer of skin there to weaken and make you more susceptible. Bacteria can spread easier into damaged skin and while this can sometimes just lead to mild irritation, it can also lead to more serious issues. The staphylococcus is a particularly dangerous one which can cause toxic shock syndrome if untreated. And as we said earlier, some of these afflictions can go untreated on account of being harder to spot and harder to analyze amidst all of the ink. There’s a lot of talk these days about switching to more natural skin care products to avoid putting yourself at risk of bacterial infection, and in a way it applies to tattoos too. It’s just another chemically-infused product that you’re applying to your skin at the end of the day, and this can raise problems.

  1.    Scanning Complications

Again, this really comes down to how obscured your skin becomes when you cover it in excessive amounts of ink. It might not be a problem straight away, but as you get older and it becomes more important for you to keep track of your health on a regular basis, this becomes an issue. When you get an X-Ray or an MRI scan, tattoos could obscure the scan, and serious issues could fly under the radar. There’s some ways around it. Different tests can be administered if your tattoos are causing insufficient results, but that’s going to cost you more hassle and money. There isn’t really any way around this, so if you’re set on getting a tattoo, just be ready for this potential problem.

  1.    HIV or Hepatitis

Things to Think About When Getting a TattooThis is a potential side effect that happens if you’re not careful about who you are getting the tattoo from. It should be common sense among tattoo artists that using un-sterilized needles can cause these serious, sometimes fatal, blood diseases but that doesn’t stop some of them. Most reputable tattoo studios will use something called and autoclave to sterilize their equipment. An autoclave uses pressure and high temperatures to kill bacteria and blood borne pathogens. The temptation to get your ink done in a cheap tattoo parlor is always there, especially if you’re low on cash, but you should avoid it. Go somewhere reputable. You get a lot of laziness and lack of awareness in these back-alley places and the possible consequences just aren’t worth it. Save up and spend the money you need to in order to get a high quality tattoo from a clean respected tattoo studio. There's no need to risk your health for a tattoo.


Like any other decision that you’re going to make about your body, getting a tattoo comes with its own potential complications. If you want to do it safely, with minimal side effects there are certain questions to ask yourself beforehand and some essential research to do. Take your time, research your artist and make sure the tattoo studio you go to cleans their equipment regularly.

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