According to a 2016 Harris Poll, nearly half of the population between 18 and 35 has tattoos and almost one in four people regrets it. Considering the fact that nearly 60 million people belong in that age group, this would mean that 7.5 million people have tattoo regrets.
This is a huge number of people, so spreading the word regarding the health risks associated with tattooing is a must! As surprisingly as it may seem, there were many reports of ink complications, burns, chronic irritations, toxin effects, infections, and many more.
The Ink Goes More Than Skin Deep
As found by a 2012 Danish Environmental Protection Agency, some tattoo inks can be toxic, with some containing cancer-causing chemicals. As a matter of fact, an Australian study found that one in five tattoo inks contained carcinogenic chemicals and most of them were not in align with the health safety standards for the ink composition. The most shocking fact is that up to 83% of the tested black inks were carcinogenic.
The European Society of Tattoo and Pigment Research found many unsafe components in tattoo inks, including mercury, copper, and barium. As stated by the Food and Drug Administration, “Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.”
Tattoos Have Led To Errors In Medical Treatment
Metal-based ink tattoos can react with magnetic resonance imaging studies. Although such magnet-based reaction is very rare, there are cases of people suffering MRI-induced burns due to the iron content in tattoo pigments.
Additionally, pathologists are reporting tattoo ink in biopsy specimens of lymph nodes. For example, according to a 2015 report the cervical cancer of a young woman was believed to have spread to her lymph nodes. However, the scan revealed that what was believed to be malignant cells was actually tattoo ink.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common infection associated with tattooing. This infection shouldn’t be taken for granted, since and may go unhealthy lengths and become life-threatening.
According to a 2015 study from Tulane University School of Medicine, about 3% of tattoos get infected and nearly 4% of tattooed individuals report pain lasting more than a month. In addition, up to 22% of people with new tattoos experienced persistent itching that lasted for an extended period of time.
After an extensive tracking and investigation, it was found that the spate of mycobacterial skin infections in 22 people across four states was due to new brands of ink. What`s more, the prevalence of more serious tattoo-induced skin disorders like lupus, lichen planis, and sarcoidosis, is constantly on the rise.
As reported in Hapatology, “tattoo exposure is associated with HCV (hepatitis C virus) infection, even among those without traditional risk factors. All patients who have tattoos should be considered at higher risk for HCV infection and should be offered HCV counseling and testing.”
Ultimately, it is worth mentioning that hepatitis can be also transmitted through the needles used by tattoo artists. This is the reason why the blood donations by individuals with newer tattoos are restricted by the American Red Cross.
A Youthful Decision With Adult Implications
The meaning of a tattoo is in constant flux, no matter whether it depicts a person, a place, a name, or a thing. According to Eric Madfis and Tammi Arford, “Symbols are dynamic in that they are time-specific, ever-changing, and always in a state of gradual transition.” Simply put, they are dynamic as they can take on different meanings over time.
As reported by Andrew Timmings at the University of St Andrews in the United Kingdom, the “emotional response in the beholder” of a tattoo is not predictable and can be based on “social stratification. Through a few interviews with hiring managers, it has been found that tattoos might hurt job prospects.
Researchers at the Harris Poll discovered that older respondents are less tolerant when it comes to visible tattoos. It is worth mentioning that the acceptance of tattoos significantly decreases when school teachers, doctors, and presidential candidates are involved.
People who work in institutions of higher learning are subjected to more stigma and have higher chance of suffering regret. As the number of people who have tattoos and the ones who suffer regrets grow, a new business appeared on the market. We are talking about the laser removal services that have grown across the nation into a million dollar business.
But Some Problem Tattoos Can’t Be Removed
The problem with tattoo removal is that not all colors can be erased. Namely, darker pigmented people have less success when it comes to removing the tattoo and they usually need more sessions.
Since the laser shatters the pigment particles under the skin, the issues with scarring, ink spreading, and infections have become problematic again. Large tattoos could take years to remove and are associated with more complications, such as blistering, scarring, pain, and sometimes even darkening of the tattoo ink.