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Tattooing is a trend: Is its ink safe or harmful?

Tattoos are not only a popular thing to get nowadays, but it was also found on the bodies of mummies. This shows the long-lasting abilities of tattoos. Nowadays, people have an increasing interest in tattoos. A 2019 Ipsos poll found that 30% of American adults had a minimum of one tattoo. It was 21% in 2012.

Let me tell you that recently The European Union has banned some colors used in tattoo ink, such as Blue 15:3 and Green 7. These were suspected of causing cancer. Swierk, an assistant Ph.D. professor from Birmingham University, analyzed 100 tattoo ink samples. They found that certain pigments are used in ink not mentioned in the labeling. These pigments consisting of dyes are not hazardous for health until they are exposed to UV light. They may break into a new molecule that severely threatens life by hitting the light. An alarming fact is that the FDA does not authorize tattoo ingredients.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) shared a report in 2016 that showed scientific evidence that when azo pigments are exposed to ultraviolet light, they could create carcinogenic elements. Out of 56 inks examined, 23 dyes contained azo chemicals. And out of 16 electrons microscopically analyzed inks, half showed the smallest particles of size in nanometers. 

The nanometer-sized particles go into the cells, harm them, and it may create serious health problems such as cancer. Moreover, tattoos can also cause allergies, infections, and skin irritation. The tattoo ink-induced allergy may remain silent for years and later can lead you to hospitalization. The allergy persists for years because the chemical stays embedded in the skin. Red ink is more likely to cause allergies than yellow ink. People must see a doctor if they feel pain, and the pain worsens with time. The symptoms of allergic reactions include itching, rashes, redness, scaling, flaking, swelling, and skin nodules. And if the tattoo triggers an infection, the symptoms may include severe itching and burning, pus from the tattoo, bumpy skin tissues, chills, and fever. But sometimes, itching and localized infection are a regular part of the tattoo process. As foreign particles are added to the skin, our body causes an immune response to the tattoo dyes. You can treat it with OTC creams and ointments or cool compresses. 

If you want to remove your tattoo, it may take several weeks to take it out, and the problem is that the laser may break the compounds and cause the dye pigments to release into your skin. These pigments can cause more harm than benefit.

Before getting a tattoo, one must take into consideration some important points. The tattoo artist must be experienced and professional with sanitization standards at their shop. The aftercare procedure must be well understood and aware of possible allergies. The artist must also be healthy and unable to transfer any infection to you. Further, it is also safe to skip some colors to avoid adverse health impacts later on.

Edited by: Ayona Mitra 

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