We’ve all heard stories of people getting a communicable disease from an infected needle at a tattoo shop. People have been reported for becoming very sick from unsanitary tattoo parlor practice. Many people get tattoos every day; however the news only reports those incidents that go wrong.
So how can we know what are the real potential effects of getting a tattoo? We do some research. Talk to the tattoo artist about your concerns. Make sure the parlor you are going too practices sanitary measures, sterilizes equipment and uses new needles for each and every customer.
The CDC, or Center for Disease Control reports that if cleanliness and sanitation are maintained, then the transmission of communicable diseases isn’t likely to be widespread. Many specialists have determined that commercial tattoo parlors are quite safe but prison tattoos are where the problems are occurred. Another problem is encountered with amateurs and those who do their own tattoos.
The Food and Drug Administration has said that the colored ink used in tattoos technically isn’t legal as it hasn’t been approved by them for use. However, problems have not been reported with the colored inks aside from minor cases.
One type of minor case may include a reaction to the ink. These theoretically can occur in anyone with any tattoo, but does occur more with the colored ink. Delayed reactions are possible and may not happen right away. Some dyes in the ink are created with cosmetics and other chemicals that are not approved for being injected into the skin, creating a reaction.
Infections at the tattoo site are rare but do happen. Tattoo parlors that are unclean and do not practice good sanitation measures are reported to have the highest incidents of reported infections. The FDA does not regular tattoo shops so it’s easy for these places to get away with these practices.
Because of unsanitary shops, the APT, or Alliance for Professional Tattooists formed in 1992. Membership isn’t required but is encouraged among tattoo artists. Seminars are provided throughout the year for continuing education for the tattooists. Sanitary measures are regulated and encouraged to members of APT. Tattoo parlors that can prove membership are more likely to have a reduced risk for tattoo site infection.
Hepatitis C is a scare to many who are considering a tattoo. This is a disease carried through the blood and is transmitted through infected needles. Tattoo shops that reuse needles put the customer at a higher risk. These are become few and far between, however as most parlors today use disposable or single use needles.
Overall, tattoos are relatively safe. As mentioned before, we only hear about the bad news on television when someone has contracted a disease or infection for a poorly taken care of tattoo facility. If the parlor practices proper sanitary measures, risks are diminished. All equipment should be sterilized between each customer. Needles should be used once before disposing of them. General cleanliness of the facility itself is always a key aspect to watch for as well.