Facebook Pixel

Do tattoos make you sick?

By March 6, 2008 - 11:43am
Rate This

Can tattoos cause an illness?

I've only heard positive things about tattoos from people I know who have them -- they love the art that they can wear and show off, or not show off. But I read something recently about a woman who developed an autoimmune disorder that her doctor claimed was caused by the ink from her tattoo bleeding through her skin and getting into her bloodstream. Even scarier, when she had a baby, her child ended up with an autoimmune disorder as well that was apparently caused by this tattoo issue. Has anyone heard anything about this kind of problem with tattoos? I wonder if it's a real concern, and if so, we need to make women aware of it.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I simply cannot look at anyone who has conspicuous tattoos. They make me feel ill. I don't understand why people want to desecrate their skin in this way. My aversion has to do with unhappy childhood memories.

July 5, 2013 - 1:57pm

A friend of mine got a jail house tattoo which to me is probably the dumbest thing in the world there is so many things that can go wrong with that. In fact when he started getting symptoms of hepatitis he went to the doctors and low and behold he tested positive for hep c. The same thing can happen anywhere even in clinics like what happend in vegas. So if your not ready to deal with those issues maybe you should stay away from tats.

April 15, 2013 - 3:29pm

I know a lot of people who enjoy their tattoos as well, but there do seem to be risks any time you take a needle to the skin. Here a few words of caution from the FDA about tattos and permanent make up. Maybe it's something consumers can keep in mind the next time they head out for their fix of skin art.

Infection. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus ("staph") bacteria*. Tattoos received at facilities not regulated by your state or at facilities that use unsterile equipment (or re-use ink) may prevent you from being accepted as a blood or plasma donor for twelve months.
Removal problems. Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible.

Allergic reactions. Although FDA has received reports of numerous adverse ractions associated with certain shades of ink in permanent makeup, marketed by a particular manufacturer, reports of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments have been rare. However, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.
A material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.

Keloid formation. If you are prone to developing keloids -- scars that grow beyond normal boundaries -- you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo. Keloids may form any time you injure or traumatize your skin. Micropigmentation: State of the Art, a book written by Charles Zwerling, M.D., Annette Walker, R.N., and Norman Goldstein, M.D., states that keloids occur more frequently as a consequence of tattoo removal.
MRI complications. There have been reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to occur only rarely and apparently without lasting effects.
There also have been reports of tattoo pigments interfering with the quality of the image. This seems to occur mainly when a person with permanent eyeliner undergoes MRI of the eyes. Mascara may produce a similar effect. The difference is that mascara is easily removable.

The cause of these complications is uncertain. Some have theorized that they result from an interaction with the metallic components of some pigments.

However, the risks of avoiding an MRI when your doctor has recommended one are likely to be much greater than the risks of complications from an interaction between the MRI and tattoo or permanent makeup. Instead of avoiding an MRI, individuals who have tattoos or permanent makeup should inform the radiologist or technician of this fact in order to take appropriate precautions and avoid complications.

March 7, 2008 - 1:49pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.



Get Email Updates

Beauty Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!