Many people see body art, like tattoos, as a way to express themselves artistically. And while these tattoos can provide unique decoration to your body, it’s important to consider the consequences and risks of permanently inking your skin in a tattoo parlor – and weigh them against the risk. option of a temporary tattoo, such as a henna tattoo.
The risks of permanent tattoos
Permanent tattoos involve the use of a needle to inject ink into the skin. In addition to being uncomfortable or even downright painful, permanent tattoos pose a variety of potential health risks:
- Irritated or inflamed skin (dermatitis)
- Skin infections caused by bacteria
- Allergic reactions to tattoo ink
- Small bumps that form around the tattoo called granulomas
- Serious infections like hepatitis and HIV transmitted through the use of unsterile tattoo needles
There could also be long-term complications, such as not being able to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or having complications from the scan, due to the metallic dyes and inks. After an MRI, swelling around the tattoo may result; fortunately, the swelling is not common and usually subsides fairly quickly.
Finally, consider another big downside to permanent tattoos: this art will mark your body for the rest of your life. You may change your mind about which tattoo you chose or whether to get a tattoo. Although it is possible to remove tattoos, it can be painful and expensive and may not always erase them completely or smoothly.
Temporary Tattoo Risks
You can achieve the effect of permanent ink with a temporary tattoo. This can either be a decal that is transferred onto the skin or a henna tattoo. A henna tattoo, a body art called mehndi, uses vegetable ink called henna, which is painted onto the skin.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved all inks used in these temporary tattoo methods. Henna, which naturally creates an orange or brown color, may have ingredients and chemicals added to create a different color, such as blue or black.
In fact, the FDA has received reports of serious and long-lasting side effects from temporary tattoos, including red oozing lesions, loss of pigmentation, and permanent scarring.
Be especially wary of temporary tattoos containing p-phenylenediamine, also known as coal tar or PPD, as this ingredient is known to cause an allergic reaction in some people.
There is a ban on temporary tattoos that do not declare their ingredients on the label, so they are not allowed in the United States. But the FDA can’t regulate all temporary inks used commercially by professionals, so there’s no guarantee that the temporary tattoo you get is safe.
Make the decision to tattoo
You can still enjoy tattoo art, but be careful and smart about your choice. You may want to consider a temporary tattoo before or instead of a permanent tattoo if you:
- You’re not sure you still want a tattoo
- Not sure you still want the specific tattoo you envision
- I can’t afford to try to get a tattoo removed later
- Are concerned about the possible health risks of infection or allergic reaction from a permanent tattoo
If you decide to get a permanent tattoo, find a tattoo parlor that meets all of your local health department’s requirements. Make sure the tattoo parlor only employs licensed tattoo artists and is safe and clean.
If you’re not quite sure if you want to commit to a permanent tattoo, consider a temporary tattoo that will fade over time, giving you the chance to decide if you really want it and like the design. you have chosen.
When opting for a temporary tattoo, for whatever reason, remember to be on the safe side and reduce your risk of an allergic reaction before taking the plunge.