Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The Fayette County Health Department is requesting the public learn about the following health risks and share them with others concerning tattooing. The risks include: infections such as Hepatitis or HIV, which can be passed through dirty or contaminated needles; allergies due to various ink pigments in temporary tattoos; granulomas that are small knots or bumps, which may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment; MRI complications such as rare swelling or burning in the tattoo during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); and scarring that may occur when getting or removing a tattoo.

Tattoo Tips for Consumers


· FDA has not approved any tattoo inks for injection into the skin, and many ink pigments used are industrial strength colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.
· The use of henna in temporary tattoos has not been approved by FDA. Henna is approved only for use as a hair dye. Similar to other inks, the use of ultraviolet (UV) ink for glow-in-the-dark tattoos also has not been approved by FDA.


· Consider tattoos permanent. Removal is time-consuming, costly, and doesn’t always work. The most common method of tattoo removal is by laser treatment, which delivers short flashes of light at very high intensities to the skin to break down the tattoo ink. FDA allows several types of lasers to be marketed for tattoo removal. Some color inks are harder to remove than others. Many repeat visits every several weeks may be required to remove a tattoo, and it may never be entirely gone.
· Do not buy or order online do-it-yourself tattoo removal products. These acid-based products are not FDA-approved and can cause bad skin reactions.
· Consult your health care provider—not a tattoo parlor—if you want a tattoo removed. The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery can help you find a doctor experienced in tattoo removal.

Don’t Avoid an MRI:

· If you need to have an MRI done, don’t avoid it. Inform the radiologist or technician that you have a tattoo so appropriate precautions can be taken.

For more information visit the US Food and Drug Administrations’ website

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