Tattooing, a form of micropigmentation, deposits color under the skin into a pattern or picture. Any time the protective barrier of the skin is broken there are risks, says makeup tattoo expert Janette Vince from her eyelash and makeup salon in London.
When ever a foreign substance in this case pigment or dye is introduced into the body there is a chance of infection or adverse reaction. There is no difference whether it’s for a cosmetic makeup procedure or for a tribal marking.
Serious Infections From Tattooing
These include blood-borne hepatitis, HIV, and methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). There are vaccinations against hepatitis A or B but not C. Today, HIV caused infection by micropigmentation is less common due to awareness and use of sterile needles. While Hepatitis C can appear years after tattoo placement the incidence is low. The likelihood of an unclean infected tattoo technician dripping his own infected blood into vulnerable open skin is minimal but possible.
MRSA and Puncturing the Skin to Create a Tattoo
Mrsa has become more common in the general population. Although data isnt reported to health departments, estimates vary from 17 to 45% of these infections are found in the general population. A MRSA infection is sometimes confused with a spider bite due to appearance and seemingly unprovoked onset. A pustular wound must be cultured to determine the best antibiotic treatment.
Staph and Strept are Common Skin Infections Possible after a Tattoo
This is a common sequela post-tattoo. Initial redness and swelling are typical of any new wound. Warmth and swelling indicate infection. Oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed.
Necrotizing fasciitis or flesh eating bacteria is a blood stream staph infection. Designs circling a joint can become inflamed constricting circulation. Cellulitis can develop involving the entire limb. Blood flow is jeopardized and deep pain ensues.
Allergic Responses to Pigment, Ink, or Color
Manganese purples or cobalt blues can cause granulomas. Browns derived from red and yellow can be photo-toxic. Chromium greens can cause delayed reactions.
The brand of pigment, reds and yellow colors too, may affect a sensitive person. India ink frequently causes a reaction in some people. The latex gloves of the technician can cause varying reactions to latex-sensitive individuals. Allergy can ultimately appear in response to removing the tattoo.
Folliculitis as a Result of Shaving Pre-tattoo
This is a double assault on the skin (shaving and injecting). Tiny papules may appear at the base of each hair site. Unless hair completely interferes with the procedure, clipping it is preferable. Eyebrows should never be shaven.
Keloids after Injection for Tattooing
Some people form excess tissue from aggravated collagen during the healing process. This raised scar can be a side effect of the tattoo process. Keloid prone individuals should avoid tattoos.
Post Procedure Tattoo Reactions can Occur Long after the Initial Procedure
It is frequently customary to only blame improper after-care. For example, the recipient neglected cleanliness or lubrication, etc. But some reactions are due to the tools, pigment, or technician. Some are due to an immuncompromised host, i.e. the health status of the person with the tattoo. The recipient and the artist should practice proper healthcare precautions. At the earliest sign of infection, professional health evaluation should be sought.
Additional Unexpected Responses to Permanent Makeup or Tattoo
There can be itching, swelling, color distortion
Unregulated pigments may contain lead, mercury, or even carcinogenic components. Several years ago a pigment used by a permanent makeup company caused severe swelling and disfiguration.
Granulomas, small hard bumps, may appear along the color line of a tattoo.
Sunlight breaks down or fades pigment. The color is absorbed. The effect of these metabolized components may not be
known. Pigment can migrate to thin tissue leaving a discolored mark and possibly enter the lymph system.
Tattoo pigments whether for makeup or body design are not FDA-approved. “Safe” is a relative concept. Fortunately, the majority of tattoos and permanent makeup procedures do well and look beautiful.