Tattoos have come into existence for a thousand years now. Ancient Egypt, the Pacific Islands, Japan, India are some regions around the world where a tattoo was done as a display of courage, dedication, endurance and customary to cultural traditions. While in the olden days, a tattoo was strongly purposeful, for the modern generation, the tattoo is more like a reflection of the personality, an exhibition of love or simply a fetish towards body modification.
How many of you have got tattoos? Or get inked has been on your bucket list for a long time now? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of getting a tattoo? Stupid question, right? Obviously, you’ll think of the design or the motif, the area you want to get inked and if you can get the tattoo removed (considering you have a breakup with the tattoo-dedicated-to person). Well, have you ever thought the possible health risks the tattoo might pose? Although Inking has become a common lifestyle practice, there are still many who have this common question in mind “Can tattoo lead to skin cancer?” In today’s article, we’ll clear the air.
Does tattoo affect your skin health?
Since permanent tattoos make use of needles to inject colored ink below skin’s surface, it is important that you take of it thoroughly to prevent the risk of skin infections, allergic reactions, scarring, granulomas, and other complications. Studies have shown that about 10% of people develop adverse skin infections after getting tattoos.
A research conducted by the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. stated that there are possibilities of skin infections and allergic reactions, blood-borne diseases like tetanus, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C that might happen due to the dyes used in tattoo ink.
Some facts about tattoo ink:
Now the most important concern if tattoos cause skin cancer. Let’s find out.
- Back in 2011, a toxic chemical called benzo(a)pyrene that is used in the black tattoo ink is listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- A study by a Danish researcher in the Copenhagen University Hospital also stated that 13 out of 21 tattoo inks used in Europe have cancer-causing chemicals. He even went on record to say that people should be made aware of the health effects due to the ink used.
- The Tattoo Ink Manufacturers of Europe also says that 5% of tattoo studios use inks that contain hazardous carcinogenic elements.
- In 2011, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology states that tattoo inks contain ‘nanoparticles’. The black ink especially contains carbon black and small amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These are considered as pollutants and have adverse health effects. Some researches on animal tests have also linked it to cause skin, lung, bladder, liver, and stomach cancers.
- The chemicals that makeup tattoo ink are also said to migrate through the skin pores and reach the lymph nodes in ‘nanoparticle’ form that might damage the collagen. A researcher who was heading this study from Bradford University’s Centre for Skin Sciences said, “…There is no question that these substances can be toxic. It takes a long time for the multiple-step nature of cancer to show its face. I don’t think we should wait 20 years to see if there is anything wrong with these ingredients.”
- As already stated, the black tattoo ink contains soot products like carbon black which is highly carcinogenic to human beings. They are said to cause serious damage to cell structures that might lead to potential skin damage and maybe skin cancer in the long run.
Although getting a tattoo is a personal choice, it is important that you should consider the short-term as well as the long-term potential health risks associated with it. A tattoo might look good on your skin, it might be a medium of self-expression but you should not regret your decision of a permanent tattoo twenty years down the line if you have a health concern because of the tattoo.
Also, if you’ve already had skin cancer or a history of skin cancer runs through your family, don’t ever give tattoo a second thought. It’s a potential suicide.
Celebrities around the world from film fraternities, sports or music have a number of tattoos etched on their bodies.
Here are 5 of the Top Indian Celebrities with Tattoos:
- Priyanka Chopra
- Sushmita Sen
- Ranbir Kapoor
- Alia Bhatt
- Akshay Kumar