-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Tattoos have become
increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, but
along with that comes a rise in problems such as allergic reactions
and infections, an expert says.
More than one-third of Americans aged 18 to 25 report getting a
tattoo, according to the Pew Research Center. But if you're
thinking about getting "inked," there are some things to consider
before you head to the tattoo parlor.
"Since tattoos are not regulated in any way, there are many unknowns that could pose potential problems for consumers in terms of the inks and tools used," Dr. Michi Shinohara, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.
"It is especially important for consumers to be aware of the potential risks, report any problem that develops to the tattoo artist and see a board-certified dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment," Shinohara added.
Tattooing inks have changed a great deal over the years and many
modern tattoo inks contain organic azo dyes with plastic-based
pigments that are also used industrially in printing, textiles and
car paint. Many unknowns exist about how these new tattoo inks
interact with the skin and within the body.
Allergic reaction to the tattoo pigments is one of the most
common problems associated with tattooing. Infections also can pose
a serious threat to health. Along with localized bacterial
infections, there have been reports of people being infected with
syphilis and hepatitis B and C due to non-sterile tattooing
practices, Shinohara said.
Skin cancer is another potential risk associated with tattoos
because they can make it hard to detect cancer-related changes in
moles. If you get a tattoo, make sure it's not placed over an
A tattoo can also cause a reaction that creates a bump that
resembles a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
Because it is hard to distinguish from skin cancer, the bump could
lead to potentially unnecessary and expensive skin cancer
treatment, including surgery, Shinohara said.
She offered the following advice for people who want to get a
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
tattoos and permanent makeup.
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