Reasons to Skip That Tattoo
By Stephen Bucaro
Just a few decades ago, tattoos were rare - largely found only on people like bikers, or ex-cons
who were trying to send the message "I'm a badass". Today, nearly one in three Americans has at
least one tattoo. But is getting a tattoo really as chique as some people think?
The Importance of Healthy Skin
The skin is the body's largest organ. It acts as a protective layer between your insides and the outside
world. It protects your body from harmful things such as germs and toxic substances, and plays an
important role in regulating your body temperature. Skin that is healthy is able to resist signs of aging.
Listed below are some of the health risks of injecting ink into the skin.
1. Infections from tattooing are nothing new, but the connection between hepatitis C and tattooing
is more widespread than many people are aware of. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading cause
of liver cancer in the U.S. and is responsible for chronic liver disease in 70 percent of people
infected with it. According to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology, people with hepatitis
C were almost four times more likely to report having a tattoo.
While tainted needles and unsanitary conditions are often to blame for hepatitis C infections,
people can get infections even in the most sterile of conditions. In 2014, one ink company recalled
its product after testing confirmed bacteria in unopened bottles of ink.
2. Having tattoos changes the way sweat glands operate. Maybe you are familiar with the Chief Medical
Examiner Jan Carla Garavaglia, better known as "Dr. G". One of her shows highlighted a body that was
brought to her for examination. It was a construction worker who, one hot day in Osceola county, Florida
keeled over and died on the job. What Dr. G found was that the man's body was covered with tattoo's,
preventing him from being able to sweat enough to cool his body.
3. A person may be allergic to pigments in tattoo ink. Sometimes the allergic reactions occur soon
after getting the tattoo. But often they can appear or persist for months and even years after the
tattoo was received. These symptoms include respiratory problems like shortness of breath and cough,
chest tightness, itchy, red rashes (not necessarily at the location of the tattoo), lack of energy,
irritability, and inability to sleep.
4. The skin is permeable, that's how things like nicotine patches work. Studies have shown that
tattoo inks move into people's lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are one of the body's ways of filtering
out organisms that cause disease. Do you really want to be poisoning an organ that helps to keep
the body free of disease?
Getting Tired of a Piece of Art
5. Tattoo regret is one of the most common feelings of disappointment. Maybe the message that you
were trying to send when you got the tattoo is no longer true. Maybe the male athlete you honored
turned out to be female. Maybe the politician you rooted for turned out be a liar. Maybe the cause
you supported turned out not to be what it was cracked up to be. Maybe that loving mate that you
celebrated with a tattoo - cheated on you.
Then there's the picture on the wall syndrome. Many people like to mount a beautiful picture
on the wall of their home or apartment. They admire it for a few months, or even years. But
eventually they get tired of looking at it and decide to replace it with something new. What
about that tattoo? Tired of looking at it? Not so easy to get rid of a tattoo.
6. I googled "remove tattoo" and received 303,000,000 results. That's right 303 MILLION results!
Removing a tattoo can be painful and expensive. The preferred way to remove them is Laser treatment,
but dermabrasion and surgical removal are also options. The pain in removing a tattoo is about
the same as the pain in getting the tattoo in the first place.
Most people need between 6 to 8 sessions to completely remove a tattoo. The number of treatments
needed depends on the tattoo size, colors used, and skin type. Sessions are spaced 6 to 8 weeks
apart to allow the skin to heal. The average tattoo removal cost is between $300 to $500 per session.