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Just Before You Take A Tattoo. - Health - Nairaland

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Things You Need To Know Before Wearing A Tattoo / Before You Get That Tattoo / The Hidden Risks Of Getting A Tattoo (2) (3) (4)

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Just Before You Take A Tattoo. by rodeo0070(m): 4:20pm On Aug 14, 2013
Getting a tattoo seems the in-thing, especially among adolescents who consider it a mark of independence. The fad is reinforced by the fact that virtually every showbiz person, such as musicians, athletes and models, has a tattoo.

One of the most inked athletes in modern history is British ex-footballer, David Beckham, who has tattooed all sorts of things in various parts of his body — from the names of his four kids, to the picture of Jesus with three cherubs. In all, Beckham has 32 tattoos engraved all over his body — from his hands to the nape of his neck.

Ink ingredients

Well, getting inked may be a fad, but health professionals say there are a few things to consider before you obtain your first tattoo.

While describing the chemical contents of tattoo inks, scientist-philosopher, Dr. Anne Helmenstine, notes that most tattoo inks “contain an unknown conglomeration of metallic salts such as oxides, sulphides and selenides; and organic dyes or plastics suspended in a carrier solution for consistency of application.”

She discloses that the most common ingredients used to make tattoo inks are ethyl alcohol, purified water, witch hazel, Listerine, propylene glycol and glycerol, all of which she considers safe enough.

She, however, says there are many other substances that could be found in an ink, and they include the patently toxic substances such as denatured alcohols (toxic and can burn the skin); other alcohols (methyl alcohol or methanol and isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol, also toxic); ethylene glycol (antifreeze, which is toxic); aldehydes, such as formaldehyde and gluteraldehyde (highly toxic); and various surfactants or detergents.

Scientists at Northern Arizona University, USA, reveal that about 40 per cent of organic colourants used in permanent tattoos are not approved for use on the skin as cosmetic ingredients; while about 20 per cent of the colourants studied contained amine, a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) aromatic substance.

A study published in the JAMA Dermatology notes that some tattoo inks contain ingredients that are associated with printers’ ink, automotive and industrial paints, making them potentially dangerous for use on the skin.

Allergic reactions

Experts say because tattooing requires breaking the skin barrier, it may carry health risks, such as infection and allergic reactions

The online portal, Communicable Disease Report Weekly, warns those wishing to take tattoos that the exercise could pose serious health challenges. This is also confirmed by dermatologists, who say people sometimes develop allergy to tattoo inks.

A study jointly authored by Johannes Regensburger and Karin Lehner, and published in Experimental Dermatology, notes that the black ink that is commonly used in most tattoos are based on soot and iron oxide, and may contain hazardous chemicals that can stay on the skin for life.

They warn that certain substances in black tattoo inks, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, can migrate into lymph nodes. The lymph nodes help the body to filter out disease-causing organisms; but when tattoo inks interfere with their functions, your guess is as good as mine.

Environmental epidemiologists also warn that the black ink can absorb ultra violet radiation, which may impair skin integrity as time goes on.

Dark tattoo inks contain phthalates, experts say; while warning men that exposure to this chemical has been linked to sperm defects and altered thyroid hormones.

Worse still, Head, Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Remi Ajekigbe, warns that dark tattoo colours can make a melanoma (skin cancer) more difficult to identify.

Dermatologists also report that other malignant tumours have been found in tattoos in the course of treatment; and that the larger the tattoo, the bigger the risks.

And if you think the problem lies with dark inks, researchers say coloured inks often contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, titanium and other heavy metals that could trigger allergies or diseases.

Scientists also warn that in some cases, when allergies occur, it can lead to scarring, phototoxic reactions (i.e., reactions from exposure to sunlight), and other adverse effects.

A showbiz person who developed severe allergic reaction to tattoo was Calvin Klein Underwear model/former Arsenal star, Fredrik Ljungberg. He underwent cancer screening in a health scare caused by the ink used for his tattoos, and, eventually, had a lymph gland removed. In the aftermath, he announced his decision to never have any more tattoos.

Physicians also warn that allergies can result in itchy rash at the tattoo site, even years after the tattoo.

Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Laide Pearse, says skin infections, psoriasis, dermatitis and other chronic skin conditions and tumours have all been associated with tattooing.

She says sometimes, bumps (granulomas) may form around a tattoo, and may lead to formation of scar tissues (keloids).

Pearse also notes that in some cases, those who have tattoos may not get a life-saving Magnetic Resonance Imaging test if they need one, because the metal particles in tattoos may cause a burning pain during the test.

Moreover, British researchers, Robert Haley and Paul Fischer, warn that since needles play prominent role in tattooing, there is the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases such as tetanus, herpes simplex virus, staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, and even Syphilis if the equipment used to sketch the tattoo is contaminated with infected blood.

Haley says, “We found that commercially acquired tattoos accounted for more than twice as many hepatitis C virus infections as injection-drug use.”

Epidemiologists also note that the toxic end-products in tattoo inks may eventually wind up in the kidneys and liver, with the resultant health burden.

Tattoo in pregnancy

A reproductive epidemiologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. Shanna Swan, who studied the effects of phthalates on infant boys, says phthalates — a chemical in dark tattoo ink — can mimic oestrogen or disrupt testosterone.

She enthuses, “Exposure of foetuses and infants is the major concern. In infant boys, prenatal exposure to dibutyl phthalate has been linked to feminisation of the reproductive tract.”

Authorities at the American Pregnancy Association advise that you wait until you are not pregnant or breastfeeding before you get a new tattoo.

CULLED FROM: http://www.punchng.com/healthwise/just-before-you-take-a-tattoo/

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