A tattoo is a form of body art using ink to create permanent impressions on the skin. This is completed through a needle that tears the dermis part of skin, adding the pigmentation to create an image that a person wants. Despite the high popularity, not many people know about the dangers and side effects that come with a tattoo. Surprisingly these risks extend to more than just skin infections, inflammation, and blisters urging all tattoo lovers to know about the potential risks before getting inked.
Based on some recent surveys, between 30 % to 44 % of US adults have at least one tattoo on their bodies and many of them have multiple tattoos. With all this popularity and fame, tattoo side effects are also becoming common and they are not confined to the skin only.
The tattoo ink contains dozens of allergens that may be involved in various infections. It also includes some metallic substances as well as organic pigments that are largely ignored especially in the North American region. A recent study on the side effects of tattoo ink collaborated between KTH Royal Institute of Technology at the Center of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Sweden), and the University of Graz (Austria). This study analyzed 73 samples of tattoo inks taken from different suppliers, including online retailers that were most popular in the US.
The results showed that most of them do not even meet the safety standards and may be behind the side effects associated with tattoo inks. Many other countries also have this increasingly high trend of getting inked which is why dealing with these after-effects of tattoo ink needs better handling as well as a prevention plan in the first place.
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The most common of all is an allergic reaction that may show up after any body change including getting a tattoo, piercing, or even after trying a new skincare product. These allergies are just a normal response of the body that it shows after it spots something new, unusual, and potentially dangerous. Not only the permanent tattoos but temporary and removable tattoos may also trigger allergies, eczema, and other conditions with potentially life-threatening outcomes.
The rules in European countries require all product manufacturers to provide information regarding the contents, with full bio, date, and location of the manufacturing unit. This information should also contain the batch number, duration to use, and some specific requirements for the tattoo inks, i.e., presence of metals, impurities, etc. There is a limit to these substances and all manufacturers are required to meet these standards for customer safety.
The availability of tattoo inks online has made it all super easy to get any ink, even if they do not provide any background information, content disclaimer, or any relevant information. Many of these inks are produced in the US especially in areas where there are almost no rules or legislation over their production. The researchers also believe that most suppliers lie about their facilities and produce fake products that often go unchecked.
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In this current study, nearly 93% of samples showed ink that does not goes well with the legislative requirements. The dermatologists do not accept the patch testing method and allergy test as the best way to test them. Many times, the testing can itself trigger an allergic reaction exposing the body to a continuous risk of many side effects.
Some of these tattoo inks contain nickel, mercury, chromium, arsenic, copper, and lead among others, all of them are highly infectious if exceed a certain limit. These samples also showed pigments that are unfit and harmful for humans including red 22, blue 15, green 7, violet 23, violet 19, and many more. The Red pigment showed most substances whereas white and black showed the least of them. These results reveal that the tattoo inks should be checked, and the production units should be controlled to prevent side effects later. The complete study results are published online in Contact Dermatitis.