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Tattoo Safety and FDA Derm Concerns; Nearly 40% of Twenty-somethings in the US are Inked

 

In today’s world, tattoos are no longer only worn by wayward sailors and hardened criminals.  A new statistic shows that one in eight Americans now have a tattoo, including nearly 40% of people who are in their twenties.  While dermatologists have never found a link between tattoo ink and increased risk for cancer, a recent report published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery shows that increased popularity of tattooing has led to a higher number of adverse skin reactions. 

 

The following is a short list of interesting facts the FDA has issued in relation to tattoos.  

(NOTE: This list is not exhaustive.)

 

Interesting Facts from the FDA on Tattoos – from FDA.gov

+ Research has demonstrated that tattoo ink can migrate from the primary site of injection to the body’s lymphnodes.  Whether or not tattoo ink migration has negative health effects is not yet known.

+ The FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin….Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.

+ The use of henna in temporary tattoos has not been approved by FDA. Henna has been approved, however, for use as a hair dye!

+ Tattoo Risk #1: Unregulated tattoo facilities can pass on hepatitis or skin diseases such as Staphylococcus aureus.

Tattoo Risk #2: Contrary to popular belief, tattoos are permanent and complete tattoo removal without scarring is not always possible. 

Tattoo Risk #3: If you receive a tattoo at an unregulated facility, you may not be allowed to be a blood donor for 12 months. 

+ Tattoo Risk #4: Keloids and Granuloma formation.

+ Tattoo Risk #5: MRI Complications.  In rare cases, patients with tattoos have experienced burning or swelling in their tattooed areas when undergoing MRIs. 

 

The FDA found that some tattoo inks contain metals, phthalates (a common plasticizer), or carcinogenic materials.  Other dyes can cause allergic responses, even years after the tattoo was applied.  Skin infections can happen when the tattooer uses less than clean needles, or doesn’t take proper sanitary precautions. 

 

Tell your patients to make sure that the tattoo shop uses clean, sterilized needles, and that the employees wash their hands frequently and use gloves.

 

Remind your patients to also be careful about where they place their tattoo.  Tattoos should never cover over moles on the body, as the ink can make any changes in the mole more difficult to spot.  

 

Freshly tattooed skin is also extremely sensitive to the sun, making sunburn more likely.  Remind your patients to be extra vigilant about applying sunscreen to their tattoos.  Tattoos may not be linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, but sunburn is!

It’s true that many people get tattooed on impulse, but your patients will be much better off with a little pre-emptive information from their highly trusted Derm professional!  

 

Sources: FDA.gov, FDA.gov – Consumer UpdateTimes Union, Skincancer.org

 

[image by Michael Tattoo Faccio]

 

 

 

 


Tattoo Safety and FDA Derm Concerns; Nearly 40% of Twenty-somethings in the US are Inked

 

In today’s world, tattoos are no longer only worn by wayward sailors and hardened criminals.  A new statistic shows that one in eight Americans now have a tattoo, including nearly 40% of people who are in their twenties.  While dermatologists have never found a link between tattoo ink and increased risk for cancer, a recent report published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery shows that increased popularity of tattooing has led to a higher number of adverse skin reactions. 

 

The following is a short list of interesting facts the FDA has issued in relation to tattoos.  

(NOTE: This list is not exhaustive.)

 

Interesting Facts from the FDA on Tattoos – from FDA.gov

+ Research has demonstrated that tattoo ink can migrate from the primary site of injection to the body’s lymphnodes.  Whether or not tattoo ink migration has negative health effects is not yet known.

+ The FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin….Many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.

+ The use of henna in temporary tattoos has not been approved by FDA. Henna has been approve, however, for use as a hair dye!

+ Tattoo Risk #1: Unregulated tattoo facilities can pass on hepatitis or skin diseases such as Staphylococcus aureus.

Tattoo Risk #2: Contrary to popular belief, tattoos are permanent and complete tattoo removal without scarring is not always possible. 

Tattoo Risk #3: If you receive a tattoo at an unregulated facility, you may not be allowed to be a blood donor for 12 months. 

+ Tattoo Risk #4: Keloids and Granuloma formation.

+ Tattoo Risk #5: MRI Complications.  In rare cases, patients with tattoos have experienced burning or swelling in their tattooed areas when undergoing MRIs. 

 

The FDA found that some tattoo inks contain metals, phthalates (a common plasticizer), or carcinogenic materials.  Other dyes can cause allergic responses, even years after the tattoo was applied.  Skin infections can happen when the tattooer uses less than clean needles, or doesn’t take proper sanitary precautions. 

 

Tell your patients to make sure that the tattoo shop uses clean, sterilized needles, and that the employees wash their hands frequently and use gloves.

 

Remind your patients to also be careful about where they place their tattoo.  Tattoos should never cover over moles on the body, as the ink can make any changes in the mole more difficult to spot.  

 

Freshly tattooed skin is also extremely sensitive to the sun, making sunburn more likely.  Remind your patients to be extra vigilant about applying sunscreen to their tattoos.  Tattoos may not be linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, but sunburn is!

It’s true that many people get tattooed on impulse, but your patients will be much better off with a little pre-emptive information from their highly trusted Derm professional!  

 

Sources: FDA.gov, FDA.gov – Consumer UpdateTimes Union, Skincancer.org

 

[image by Michael Tattoo Faccio]

 

 

 

 




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