Tattoos are wildly popular, but their inks can cause rashes, infections and inflammation, and doctors still aren’t certain how the inks’ chemicals may affect your health in the long run. In recent studies, a chemical in black inks called benzo(a)pyrene has been known to cause skin cancer in lab animals, and malignant melanomas have been discovered in some tattoos.
While allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are the most common, bacterial infections as well as syphilis and hepatitis B and C have been associated with non-sterile tattooing practices. Here’s what to keep in mind before getting inked:
Be sure your tattoo artist is licensed according to your country’s or state’s requirements, and only go to a professional tattoo parlour. Make sure all needles are sterile, and that your artist washes his or her hands and wears gloves.
If a problem lasts more than one to two weeks, see a dermatologist.
If you suffer from a chronic skin condition such as psoriasis, or eczema talk to a dermatologist before getting a tattoo.
Never get a tattoo over an existing mole because a tattoo can hide any changes or problems that may occur within the mole over time.