Tattoos and piercings are becoming increasingly popular. But these practices, which cross the protective barrier of the skin, are not without risk. What are these risks and how can they be avoided?
Tattooing involves the introduction of coloring pigments into the skin to obtain a permanent drawing.
To introduce the ink under the epidermis, the tattoo artist must pierce the skin thousands of times with a needle containing a mixture of solvents and pigments.
This gap in the skin barrier may be the gateway to bacterial infections such as staphylococcus, especially if the tattooist is working in poor conditions.
There is also a risk of contamination by certain viruses transmissible by the blood (HIV, hepatitis …), in case of reuse of the material.
In addition, the tattoo has a risk of allergy (most often with red ink): the tattoo itches, swells or has lesions. These allergies can be soothed with creams containing corticosteroids, but the removal of the tattoo by laser or surgery is sometimes essential.
Finally, it is recommended that people with eczema, psoriasis, cutaneous lupus, sarcoidosis or vitiligo, avoid tattooing.
Beware of henna tattoos
Henna is a natural substance that is quite benign. However, sometimes it is mixed with toxic products, such as paraphenylenediamine, added to henna to give them a black color and increase their longevity. However, paraphenylenediamine can give rise to allergies.
How to avoid risks?
If you want to get a tattoo, you have to make sure that your tattoo is done in perfect hygiene conditions, so run away from places with poor hygiene.
Do not hesitate to ask the tattooist questions about his hygiene precautions: single-use needles in sterilized packaging? Wearing surgical gloves? Disinfected working area?
Finally, the activity of the tattoo professional must be declared to the Regional Health Agency which verifies that it has done training in the rules of hygiene and sanitation. The tattoo at home is forbidden.