Is the skin around your tattoo beginning to itch or swell? Are you afraid of a possible skin allergy or infection? Learn how to identify the symptoms.
Having your skin pierced with a needle and injected with liquid ink is bound to cause some itchiness or inflammation but it all depends on the ink your tattooist used and how your body reacts to the chemical ingredients. We often get asked how to identify symptoms of allergic reactions or skin infections so we have written this article with your questions in mind. It is not uncommon to witness swelling and redness throughout the healing process but it is crucial to know when your health is at risk. Bad reactions can happen during the immediate healing stages right after you get a tattoo but they can also happen months or even years later. If you know what to expect then you will be in a position to treat yourself better. Some tattooists will not warn you of the risks involved so do your research first before making a decision. Allergic Reactions: symptoms to look out for Flaking Bumps [purple or red] Rashes Redness Soreness Swelling / Inflammation Scaly appearance.
Possible Causes of Allergic Reactions Tattoo Pigment Allergic reactions are most commonly caused by red ink although any colour can lead to irritation, rashes or swelling. Different types of ink contain various chemical substances including manganese, mercury sulfide, aluminium, iron oxide and ferric hydrate to name a few. Eczema & Psoriasis If you suffer eczema or psoriasis be aware that getting a tattoo can aggravate the condition resulting in bumps, itching and red rashes. Sarcoidosis Itching or swelling does not necessarily mean it’s caused by tattoo ink as you could be subject to an autoimmune disorder called sarcoidosis which is an inflammatory disease affecting various organs in your body. This can show up decades after getting a tattoo and could be visible directly on the tattoo. Receive medical advice for a topical cream and if that fails, seek an immunosuppressant medication from your doctor. Acute Inflammatory Allergic Reaction This allergic reaction can be caused by tattoo needles and ink but is not considered serious and can subside within about 2-3 weeks. Look out for red, slightly swollen skin with irritation. Photosensitivity In particular yellow (and some red) ink can react badly with exposure to sun due to cadmium sulfide in the ink. Dermatitis Dermatitis is most often caused by mercury sulfide found in red tattoo ink and can trigger photoallergic or allergic contact dermatitis. Lichenoid Allergic Reaction This is a rare allergic reaction which can be characterized by small bumps around red ink areas. Skin Infections: symptoms to look out for Redness Swelling Tenderness Pain Pus (or any other substance leaking from the tattoo) Fever
Skin infections usually erupt as a direct result of slack tattooists and their poor attempts at maintaining hygiene standards in the tattoo parlour. Infections are not as common as allergic reactions but they do happen, hence the requirement for a trustworthy and professional tattooist with a good reputation.
Read more about how to choose the right tattooist for the job here at the importance of hygiene & tattoos. Hygiene is the first and most important thing to consider before going full steam ahead into a bad decision. Avoid bacterial infections such as Staph and Impetigo but also be aware of more severe and long-term health risks including HIV and Hepatitis. Contaminated ink is also a major safety risk resulting in the less common mycobacterial infections; look out for lesions and bumps (red in colour) showing up on your skin where the ink was injected. Warning! If you notice your skin reacting badly around the site of the tattoo do not assume it is an allergic reaction. It may be an infection which requires a proper diagnosis through a skin biopsy. In cases such as these you may be required to take a course of antibiotics over several months. Got symptoms? Do not ignore them.
How to avoid Skin Problems when getting a tattoo: RESEARCH Find out about your chosen tattooist and carry out some basic checks to see if he/she is licensed. Request to see the packaging of needles and ink brands before you permit these to be used on your body. Look out for sterile packaging, expiry date and quality ink brands to ensure you are not putting your health at risk. You never know, the tattooist may be looking to save money resulting in old needles and cheap ink! CHOOSE WISELY Not only should you choose wisely when it comes to settling on a tattooist but also consider which part of your body you wish to have tattooed. Choose an area free of moles as you may start to notice troubles in the future; if you can’t see it because it’s covered in ink how can you be sure it’s not growing or developing issues on your skin. ACT FAST If you notice suspicious skin reactions after you get inked, act fast and get in touch with your tattooist immediately. Do not wait because you may be able to catch it in the early stages and stop it developing with a simple cream or treatment gel. If the problem continues for more than a week and the symptoms continue to worsen contact a dermatologist and get checked. DON’T BOTHER IT Do not touch, scratch or pick any rashes or scabs that start developing on your skin after getting a tattoo. So much bacteria can be passed from your hands into your skin which increases your risk of developing infections far more serious than how they begin in the first place. Seek help and act accordingly.
Visit RatedInk UK tattoo artist review site to start your search for a professional, safe and protected tattoo artist. Learn about the health risks of getting a tattoo and proceed with a good knowledge of what could happen. Feel free to post any queries or questions and connect with us on Facebook at @RatedInkDirectory.