Can Tattoo Ink Cause Allergic Reactions And Infections?

Even if it is a small proportion, but the truth is that actually few people suffer from an allergic reaction to the ink used in tattoos. Find out more details here.

Love for tattoos seems to be endless!

As per the Harris Interactive Poll at least one in five of all adults have at least one tattoo in United States. So the number is growing. With this has grown the number of problem associated with the process.


Actually, the composition of tattoo ink has changed dramatically with the passage of time. Earlier it constituted of lead, cobalt, metal salts, and carbon. However, now nowadays modern tattoo inks consists of organic azo dyes, along with some plastic-based pigments. Similar kind of pigments has been found in industrial uses, for textiles, printing, and car paint. Though it is not the case for every parlor, but many of them are using same kind of ink. It is result of usage of the same which is responsible for an increasing number of complications.

What kind of allergic reactions can I expect after tattoo?

As stated earlier that one of the most common problems is allergic reactions. And this is associated with the tattoo pigments. So in most of cases, the problems can be any of these:

  • Itching: Have you encountered few bumps or rashes around the tattooed skin? Is this followed by intense itching? It can even occur days or months or even years after the initial tattoo. Sometime such a reaction has to be treated with a topical anesthetic ointment like Numb.
  • Sarcoidosis: Being an autoimmune disorder it is usually characterized by swelling and itching. While this too can occur to your tattoo decades after the procedure, it involves problems for other organs including lungs and eyes. As per the experts such reactions are not directly caused by the original tattoo. But these can show up within the tattoo.
  • Psoriasis and eczema: There are chances that these allergic reactions turn into severe skin problems. Similar to itching, even these can occur months or years later. In many cases, people with these chronic skin conditions can flare up ruthlessly.

Besides these allergies, you might become infected to ink.

What kind of infections I have to deal with after tattooing?

You need to understand that some tattoo related infections can pose serious health implications. Usually these are linked to localized bacterial infections. However, there are reports of syphilis and hepatitis B and C being transmitted, which is generally due to non-sterile tattooing practices.

When you are suspected to infections, you might have to deal with problems like painful pustules, itchiness, and red bumps. These are more common during the first month of the procedure. In worst case with such infection, a biopsy of the tattoo is carried out to test the bacteria.

How can I minimize such skin reactions from tattoos?

Now it is time to check out some essential tips before getting tattooed to avoid such allergies and infections:

First thing comes first; make sure you choose a professional tattoo parlor and an experienced tattoo artist. He has to be licensed, certified, and recognized, based on a state’s requirements.

You must look for the equipment to be used. These have to be in sterile packaging.

Ask the tattoo artist about type of reactions involved. He must have apt knowledge to keep you safe.

If you have been suffering from any chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or a tendency toward keloid scarring, open up with your artist in advance. You can get it checked with a board-certified dermatologist before tattooing.

IMPORTANT: This product may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label.

Healthcare professionals and aestheticians use Dr. Numb® Topical Anesthetic Cream 5% Lidocaine for a number of off-label uses such as medical and cosmetic treatments. Always carefully read the label and heed all directions and cautions. Seek the advice of physician or a qualified healthcare practitioner prior to its application or use.

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