FDA Warns of Tattoo-Related Health Risks

FDAMany people view tattoos as a safe way to exhibit their individuality. According to the FDA, however, tattoos aren’t nearly as safe as people think. Before you add ink to your body, learn some important facts about tattoos.
There are risks. According to the FDA, unhygienic tattooing practices and equipment have led to widespread infections throughout the U.S. Much of the time, these infections result from mold or bacteria transmission due to the use of non-sterile water to dilute color pigments.
Not all tattoo ink is safe. Studies indicate that some tattoo ink contains pigments used in car paint and printer toner. The FDA has not approved these inks for cosmetic purposes, and there’s no way to know what types of adverse reactions they could cause.
Tattoos can cause ongoing health problems. In some cases, people suffer serious reactions to a new tattoo, including rashes, chills, fever, shaking and sweats. Sometimes these infections require antibiotic medications and lengthy hospital stays. In certain instances, allergic reactions can occur, and – since tattoo inks are permanent – these reactions can persist indefinitely.
Scar tissue may develop. Some people develop unsightly scar tissue after getting tattoos. You could also develop granulomas, which look like small bumps or knots and form around materials which the body perceives as foreign.
They can interfere with certain medical tests. In some cases, people experience burning or swelling around their tattoos when receiving MRIs. While not considered dangerous, these issues can create unpleasant experiences.
We don’t know the long-term effects. The FDA says it has received numerous complaints about bad reactions to tattoos years after they were applied. Experts are conducting studies to evaluate the long-term impact of tattoo ingredients on the human body; however, they still can’t say how safe or unsafe tattoos really are.
They are difficult to remove. Tattoo removal is a costly, painstaking process that doesn’t always prove successful. Many people end up with unattractive scars following the procedure, and experts do not yet know the consequences of having pigments broken down in the body after laser treatment.
When to See a Doctor
If you do decide to get a tattoo, keep a watchful eye for signs of infection or allergic reactions. If you see signs of a problem, contact a health care professional and notify the tattoo artists about your symptoms. Ask the artist for information about the ink lot or batch number to help identify the source of the problem.

Health News + Events

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

Top Health Concerns For Men

Did you know that the average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman? That’s according to Harvard Medical School, which also states that men are more likely  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY