Tattoos are truly an ancient form of art, with decorative marks being found on bodies from cavemen to mummies, spanning many different cultures around the world. They are created with the use of small needles that puncture the skin, injecting it with dye. Today, one in five people have a tattoo, and while skin art may no longer be considered a taboo, it is important to consider the effects that a tattoo can have on your skin.
One of the most common skin issues that arise after having a tattoo done is an allergic reaction, especially contact dermatitis and photoallergic dermatitis. This is caused by a hypersensitivity to the ink used, and manifests itself as a red rash. If you are worried about an allergic reaction, speak to your tattoo artist beforehand, as they will be able to do a spot test with some of the ink to ensure that there is no hypersensitivity.
Skin infections are a rare side effect of having a tattoo, and will usually arise due to improperly sterilized equipment. The best way to ensure that this does not happen to you is by choosing a tattoo artist that is licensed and that follows health and safety codes. You can also ask to see the area in the studio where they sterilize equipment.
Granulomas are slightly raised red bumps that form on the skin, and are the body’s natural reaction to infection, inflammation and foreign substances. Unfortunately, sometimes the body treats the tattoo ink as a foreign substance, resulting in granulomas. Again, this is not a common reaction, and usually occurs after the use of red ink, which is something that you can avoid if granulomas have arisen on your skin after previous tattoos.
Preparing Your Skin for a Tattoo
The best way to prepare your skin for a tattoo is to exercise strict sun protection beforehand. Damage from the sun causes the skin to become dry, wrinkled and thick, none of which will contribute to a smooth canvas, and all of which will make it that much harder for your skin to heal afterwards. It is also a good idea to exfoliate regularly beforehand, and make sure that your skin is well moisturized and that your skin barrier is healthy and intact.
Caring for Tattooed Skin
It is relatively simple to care for tattooed skin. As time passes, the colors will slowly start to fade, and the best way to avoid this is by using enzymes, serums and moisturizers to keep that part of your skin clear and smooth. UV damage can also cause colors to fade, so extra sun protection on tattooed areas may well be necessary.
Tattoos are a form of art and expression, and are becoming increasingly popular in today’s world. While there are a few skin-related side effects that can arise after having a tattoo done, your skin will usually be able to fully heal afterwards with no problems, leaving you with a gorgeous piece of art for life.