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Are you thinking of getting inked? If yes, take a moment to read this post for your wellbeing.

Tattoo needles are not the only ones that need to be changed before you get inked. Tattoo ink also poses a serious danger to your health, and what’s worse is that most of us, including your tattoo artist, know nothing about them or ignore them as being inconsequential!

Here are a few tips that will save you from allergies and even life-threatening diseases like Hepatitis and HIV before your money is spent.

How to look beyond needle safety?

You walk into a tattoo parlor, choose a tattoo design, decide where you want to get inked, choose the colors and haggle over the price. Post this, the tattoo artist whips out his tattoo gear, a fresh needle, and inks which are most probably in tiny cups already.

You are satisfied with the entire process and feel secure in getting a safe tattoo. But, here’s the catch. A one-time use needle is a good practice, but it will not protect you from skin infections, tetanus, hepatitis, and AIDS.

Why? Here’s why- stuff like tattoo inks and electrically powered instruments can leave a nasty mark on you for life as most tattoo artists reuse tattoo inks on many clients. They don’t throw away residual ink after using it on one client and reuse the leftover ink in ink caps for tattooing the next one, which could be you! And God forbid if the previous client had a serious disease that can spread through blood. You’ve had it then, bro!

Contaminated inks, ink cups, and equipment can thus spread dangerous infections like herpes, tetanus, fungal infections, hepatitis B and even HIV.

What do Tattoo inks contain?

According to a recent report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, commonly used tattoo inks contain heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and nickel, preservatives, organic compounds, and bacteria. These substances can cause cancer, genetic mutations, allergies or sepsis, a potentially deadly complication of infections; and can affect your reproduction system.

Tattoo pigments can also and do cause allergic reactions, especially the red and green ones.

These reactions are more common in people who are sensitive or allergic to certain metals. Allergies can cause swelling and/or itching, followed by oozing of a clear fluid called serum.

Exposure to the sun can especially stimulate allergic reactions to tattoo inks.

Other concerns the USFDA raises on tattoo inks on its website are:

  • They can cause granulomas or small knots that form around tattoos as your body senses foreign material, such as the pigments in tattoo ink.
  • Tattoo ink can also spread to your body’s lymphatic system.

Safety before vanity

Remember, tattoo instruments are also not safe unless sterilized. Always insist on sterilization of instruments in an autoclave in front of your eyes before getting inked.

  • It’s advisable to get a patch test done before getting a tattoo to prevent allergies from tattoo ink.
  • Get a Hepatitis B and a tetanus shot before getting a tattoo.
  • Insist that your tattoo artist use ‘single-use needles and gloves’ both.
  • Make sure that he uses fresh tattoo ink by loading it into disposable ink caps, which are to be discarded after each client.

Ideally, talk and get to know the artist before you place yourself in his or her hands to make sure he is aware of dangers of tattooing and how to avert them effectively.

All the best and stay safe!