Tattoos as Body Art: Maybe You Should Think Before You Ink!
Tattoos have been around a long time. This most recent craze doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. My husband and I were people watching for several hours when we were stuck at the airport due to storms this week. Except for us, we were hard pressed to find a person who did not have a tattoo.
Are Tattoos Safe?
In the long and short of it, not in my opinion. I work closely with a few friends and colleagues who agree with me. They practice chiropractic, naturopathic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture. They see weakened immune systems and believe that, in many cases, it could be due to having received tattoos.
What Kind of Reactions Can Occur?
Getting tattoos can irritate the skin, certainly, and lead to infections if the equipment is not properly sterilized. There aren’t consistent standards set for the tattoo artists, themselves. While the ink is supposedly regulated by the FDA, the practices do not seem to have regulation from parlor to parlor.
According to WebMD, a surface infection may heal, but the pigment remains trapped below the deeper layers of the skin. When the skin was punctured, there was bleeding, which can increase the risk for blood-borne illnesses, including Hepatitis B.
One study suggests that nanoparticles from tattoo ink can travel from the skin to lymph nodes. The inks contain a wide range of chemicals and heavy metals, including some that are potentially toxic.
Allergies and Tattoos
Some people develop negative allergic reactions right after receiving a tattoo, while others might not show signs until years later. The FDA reports that some people become allergic to hair dyes, if the tattoo contained p-phenylenediamene (PPD).
According to the University Health Service at the University of Michigan, there are other possible health risks: “Skin infected with resistant organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be life-threatening.” They offer that inks used in tattooing should be placed in a single-use cup and then disposed of, rather than using ink taken directly from the main source bottle or returned to that bottle.
As your Enchantress, I’d err on the side of caution and good health. Maybe take those images you’re considering permanently etching onto your body, and have them created on paper or canvas. It’s pain free and no risk. When your tastes change, or you’d like to feature another image, you take the painting down and hang up a new one.
That’s art to celebrate during our month of Enchanted Key #8-Art!