Tattoo Talk

The time of year when tattoos are being shown off has approached. Tattoos have gone through phases over the decades in terms of popularity. It seems the young folks have a thing for them at the current time (my 20 year old step-son included). There are some risks to your skin that you probably never thought of that I think you should know before deciding to get a tattoo. Risks other than the idea that maybe you aren’t going to want your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s name tattooed on your right buttock forever. Here are a few things to consider for your skin health before you tattoo it forever.

1. Infection- I think people are of the idea that if they go to a “clean” or “reputable” tattoo parlor then they don’t have to worry about infection. Here is the thing.  Any time you break the skin barrier you are opening yourself up for infection. Ever heard of CA-MRSA? It stands for community acquired methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus which is a bacteria that lives all over our city and a lot of antibiotics don’t work at getting rid of it. If you come in contact with it and your skin is intact then you could probably be carrying it without any symptoms at all, then you get a tattoo and boom! Cellulitis or even an abscess (boil) in your tattoo that could then require drainage or antibiotics or worse, surgery. This could result in damage to the way the tattoo looks and likely a whole lot of unwanted pain.

2. Allergic Reaction- You could be allergic to the tattoo ink. And since every color and type of ink used is different you could have lots of tattoos and then all of the sudden get one to which you have a reaction. This can cause the tattoo to raise up and itch and get crusty and flat out miserable and ugly-not what you were going for I’m sure. Sometimes we can inject steroids into the tattoo to help this problem, sometimes we have to laser it to try to get the ink out of your skin. Sometimes they have to be cut out and replaced with a scar. If it’s a large tattoo this can be a real problem.

3. Skin cancer can hide in your tattoo- Think about it. If you have a black spot of melanoma arise on your natural colored skin it is going to be much easier to recognize than a black spot hiding in a black tattoo. It could delay diagnosis if hiding well enough. If you do have tattoos be aware of this and check them even closer for new or changing moles.

4. You change- Not only do your opinions, likes, dislikes and beliefs change with age but your skin changes too. Not only do you have to worry about the fact that you may not like the tattoo in 40 years, you also have to worry about whether or not a tattoo on your belly is going to look the same after 3 kids. I mean a stretch mark through a heart could actually look cool, turn it into an arrow or something. My eyebrows are lower than when I was 20 so keep this in mind when you ladies go get permanent make-up…. your eyelids most def will be lower in 30 years after all that gravity takes its toll.

5. They hurt- This isn’t a risk really, more like a fact. It’s just one of the main reasons I don’t have a tattoo, ouch! It amazes me how many people fear getting their blood drawn yet have multiple tattoos? huh?

I actually do like tattoos, on other people. I just feel for the people that have one of the above happen to them and feel helpless or feel like no one ever told them these things could happen. I’m for sure not saying don’t get a tattoo, I just want you to be educated on all the risks so you can weigh them against the benefits properly. IF you change your mind after a tattoo just remember, Johnson Dermatology has a laser to help you get rid of it!

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you’ve ever imagined.”  -unknown

Have a happy week, hope to see you at the clinic this week because it’s my last week before maternity leave! Talk atcha soon, Nina


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