Don’t take this an some sort of “anti-tattoo” article, because it’s really nothing of the sort. It’s just worth knowing a few things before you go ahead and get yourself inked.
Tattoos have been a thing for humanity thousands of years before Christ. The oldest tattoo recorded belongs to Ötzi, an Austrian-Italian who died around 3300 B.C. and was buried beneath a glacier. He was fairly well preserved considering he’d be buried for near 5000 years, and has been identified to have had 61 tattoos across his body.
While tattoos are obviously not going to kill you or anything daft like that, there is the VERY rare chance of something going wrong. It’s certainly a lot safer nowadays compared to back in Ötzi’s times, but it’s usually down to the implementation of the tattoo and equipment used, and not the tattoo itself.
Even when you do your research on the best people to work with, there’s still a few things you probably should know about getting yourself inked regarding your health, among other matters, that you may not have known beforehand. I’ve put together a few here based on personal experience and research, so you won’t have to trawl through the web!
Here’s quite an off chance, and I had to get Paddy to make sure I worded this right, but tattoos can sometimes cause interference with medical testing. It’s probably one of the lesser worries in such a situation, but any rogue ink can specifically interfere with dermatological body scans.
It can be important to have an annual skin check, but sometimes you may undergo what feels like an unnecessary biopsy. The ink can cause some confusion in the clinical picture, so anyone examining you must be sure. Like I said, it’s very specific, but at least you now know!
Ink Won’t Always Keep Put
Here’s that rogue ink I mentioned before that could interfere with your dermatological body scan. Life isn’t perfect, unfortunately. Ink doesn’t always stay where it’s supposed to.
While the tattoo artist’s needle punctures your skin up to a possible 100 times a second, ink is delivered in the dermis which is your second layer of skin. However, your immune system decides it knows better, and some cells engulf the pigment. From here, the ink can end up in your lymphatic system and your lymph nodes and remaining there indefinitely.
No-one really knows any long term effects of this lingering ink, but I think we’d know if it was bad by now. The worst it gets for now is triggered the previous point when it comes to medical testing.
Inked Skin Sweats Less
This might seem like a blessing but if we weren’t meant to sweat, we wouldn’t. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling system, which also happens to make us smell pretty bad, but I guess it stops us completely overheating.
However, a tattoo needle can actually scar the sweat glands on your skin. The ink camouflages the scarring too, so you might never even notice it. Studies indicate that tattooed sections of skin tend to sweat less as well as the sodium concentration of sweat collected from tattooed skin being significantly higher.
If you’re really keen on getting inked, then this could be something of nightmares. There is that slim chance that a new tattoo could trigger some sort of allergic reaction to your skin. The symptoms can range from bumps, skin thickening, itchy rashes all the way through to feelings of fatigue and weakness.
It’s severely unlucky if it does happen, and not all tattoos are equal offenders in the case. Apparently, red ink is the one that most commonly causes these types of reactions, but it’s also seen in blue, green and yellow a lot too. While it may not initially take place, an allergic reaction can still happen a few years down the line, so it’s worth being aware of that.
Don’t just turn up to some place you’ve never heard of and ask them to doodle all over your arms with a needle, because you make yourself vulnerable to bloodborne diseases. This sounds silly, but I’ve heard stories of people deciding to get inked on a whim at music festivals or whatever. It’s very risky.
Equipment that is infected with blood could result in the likes of tetanus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Now trust me, you don’t want any of these. Ask your inked buddies for advice if need be – such as where they got there’s done, ask about reputation of specific tattoo parlours, and so on.
Following on from before – Regulation can be an issue. Dodgy Chinese imports of ink can be very toxic to the skin and aren’t going to do you a lot of good. Be sure that these don’t go anywhere near you, as it can be really bad for your skin.
Hopefully all these things will have crossed your mind already if you’ve made your mind up on a tattoo, but it’s always worth a quick reminder just to triple check you’re all good to go!