Source: Clinical Correlations
The NYU Langone Online Journal of Medicine
Author: Farzon A. Nahvi
Title: How Safe is That Tattoo?
When trying to find the right person to do your tattoo, the most important thing a person should consider is the cleanliness of the shop you’re in. Because no matter how great your tattoo artist is, if they cant keep a clean shop they more than likely not following correct protective procedures when administering your tattoo. In the article “How Safe Is That Tattoo”, by Farzon A. Nahvi, it describes some of the complications people can have from unsterilized equipment and artists. He also talks about what to look from the artists and shop when going to get a tattoo.
First lets take a look at some of the complications. By now, if you’ve read previous posts, you should be familiar with a few of them. Here are some that Nahvi mentioned in his article. “Tattooing can also cause systemic infections such as staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome, pseudomonal abscesses, and infective endocarditis.’ ‘ Tattooing has also caused tetanus, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.’ ‘Because some inks contain high levels of iron oxide, there is the potential for burns or distortions of the tattoo caused by magnetic hysteresis during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).” All of these complications can be avoided though says Nahvi. Here he further explains the importance of how the tattoo professional is the key to a healthy tattoo. “ Of course, many of the risks are in the control of the tattoo artist rather than the person receiving the tattoo. Tattoos can be obtained in a wide variety of places, ranging from luxury hotel studios in Las Vegas to side-of-the-road tents at state fairs, with a wide range of hygiene. While no site can be guaranteed safe–the NYC Dept. of Health licenses tattoo artists, not parlors–choosing a professional studio likely decreases the risk of infections and could be recommended to patients. In addition to changing needles and inkwells, it is also a good idea for patients to ensure that the tattoo artist washes his hands and changes gloves between each client, disinfects all equipment, shaves and cleans the body site with an antimicrobial wash before administering the tattoo, and provides appropriate aftercare instructions. The tattoo artist should also be educated about potential health risks and adverse events associated with tattoos, as clients might return to the tattoo artist before going to a physician if they experience a problem.”
Many risk factor in when getting a tattoo but a lot of those risks can be eliminated. Remember the things Nahvi talks about in the article. All and any tattoo needles should be fresh coming out of the package. You artists should be washing their hands thoroughly before putting on sterilized gloves. Also your artists should be putting ink into new wells and not using the same ink well for different customers. Remember, the tattoo industry is nit very heavy regulated, so its up to you to protect yourself.