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Negative Health Effects That Tattoos Can Cause If Done Wrong


Tattoos have become more popular than ever with their growing demand and various intricate designs. The customized art is what makes tattoos look appealing, which can help reflect your personality or even honor someone you really care about. Despite all the pros, getting a tattoo is not an easy process and can result in some serious health issues if not done correctly. The actual process itself involves the use of a needle that injures the skin to design the artwork. There are a number of negative health effects associated with tattoos, especially if they are done wrong.

Most of the side effects and risks become apparent when the tattoo is still fresh and your skin is healing. However, if the tattoo artist is not skilled or experienced at doing the job, the chances of developing these side effects are doubled.

Skin Infections

Tattooing is considered an art. The actual process of creating it can cause substantial damage to the middle (dermal) and upper (epidermal) layers of the skin. An infection can easily be caused if your tattoo artist is negligent and uses a non-sterile needle on your skin. An infection can also be caused if your tattoo artist forgets to use antiseptic wipes to clean the target area.

Moreover, a negligent tattoo artist could also forget to wear gloves while working, which increases the risk of developing a skin infection. You are most vulnerable to develop a skin infection during the initial weeks. If the infection is not treated, you could develop other problems too. The symptoms of an infection include itchiness, discharge, swelling, or redness on or around the target area.

Allergic Reactions

Some people are prone to developing allergic reactions to tattoos due to the ink or other factors. The ink is the primary cause of these reactions, especially if it is loaded with plastic. The needling process could also cause an allergic reaction in some cases. Generally, green, red, blue, and yellow pigments are considered to be most allergic. It is the responsibility of the tattoo artist to guide you. They should provide complete information about the process and ingredients used since the ink literally has to penetrate into the skin.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction from tattoos include hives, red rashes, and severe itchiness. In some cases, mild swelling can also occur. These effects can become apparent during the initial weeks or a few years after you get a tattoo. It is always wise to ask your tattoo artist to provide complete details about the process before getting a tattoo. This will ensure that there is nothing that you are allergic to.


Tattoos have the potential to leave dark scars on the target area, especially if you don’t heal properly. You may also get a scar if you had an allergic reaction or an infection from the tattoo. Eventually, you may also be prone to developing keloid scars. These types of scars contain dark red bumps that contain old scar tissue.

MRI Complications

If your doctor orders you to get an MRI scan, there are chances that your tattoo will interfere with the scan. Some of the side effects that can result from the MRI scan include itchiness or swelling afterward. The risk of developing these and other symptoms can be higher if the tattoo is many years old. Or if the ink contained low-quality pigments. It is always best to speak to your doctor about it before getting a tattoo to ensure that if you require an MRI scan, then the tattoo should not be a problem.

Diseases Due To Unsterilized Needles

An experienced and reputable tattoo artist will always sterilize their needles before use. Some states have made it mandatory for tattoo artists to sterilize their needles; however, this may vary. Needle sterilization is important to prevent the risk of developing harmful diseases and infections. For example, an unsterilized needle could substantially increase the risk of blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis C, HIV, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Skin Cancer

Another risk of getting a tattoo without precaution or care is that it can cause skin cancers or hide the possible signs of skin cancer or any other disease. The signs that indicate skin cancer include red patches and moles. There are many other signs that can easily go unnoticed or undetected due to the tattoo. Plus, if the tattoo artist is careless about its application and uses incorrect ink with the wrong consistency, your skin can become prone to developing cancer in the future.

Lead Poisoning

Research has discovered that the ink used for tattoos can cause chronic enlargement of the lymph nodes. This creates high exposure to toxic compounds because it causes molecular changes in the tissue along with inflammation. This could, in turn, cause lead poisoning. The symptoms of tattoo lead poisoning are similar to the symptoms of an allergic reaction. As more toxic ink gets absorbed in your body, the worse the symptoms get. Therefore, it is better to do some research and find reliable, experienced, professional, and well-informed tattoo artists who are aware of all of the risks and complications and know how to do the job correctly.


Getting a tattoo can be exciting and scary at the same time. You don’t want to end up with an artist who does not know what he’s doing. It is, therefore, necessary to be aware of all the risks associated with getting a tattoo and to ensure that you take care of the area afterward. A good tattoo artist will guide you regarding post-tattoo care tips and ensure that you don’t have any side effects after getting your tattoo.


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