Skin Infections

Psychology of getting a Tattoo

According to the Harris Poll of 2012, one in five (21%) of American adults have a tattoo.

Based on the poll, the following statistics were gathered.

  1. The adults from the West coast of the United States (26%) had at least one tattoo, while the percentages of adults getting a tattoo from the East coast were 21%, 18% from the South and 21% from the Midwest.
  2. Age groups where having at least one tattoo was prevalent was found to be amongst adults in the 30-39 age group in comparison to the younger and older age groups.
  3. Women, than men, were found to be more prone to getting a tattoo.
  4. Reasons for getting a tattoo ranged from peer pressure, to some thinking that it was decorative body art, while others thought it was sexy and yet others got a tattoo, just to be rebellious.
  5. Over the past few years, body art (tattoos) has been growing in popularity and is gaining acceptability.
Sources of Infection

“If you can’t beat them, join them.” Quote by Jim Henson

Therefore, those who are desirous of decorating their skin, should read up on the risks and precautions that they should take before they ink themselves up.
  1. Infections from the ink used by the tattoo parlors have been found to cause Mycobacterial infections of the skin (ref: Article on Tattoo related and Uncommon Skin Infections).
  2. The skin infections on people who had got their tattoos and who were examined were from the States of Washington, New York, Iowa and Colorado.
  3. The ink that was being distributed by a certain company to tattoo parlors nationally had the bacterial infection due to bad manufacturing practices.
  4. In some cases the tattoo artists were diluting the ink with unsterile water, instead of using sterile water.
  5. Other sources that could cause rashes, irritation, and redness, a consequence of infection, could be from contaminated needles, allergic reactions to the various pigments in the tattoo inks, a heightened sensitivity to sunlight (in the tattoo area). 
  1. Check to see whether the tattoo parlor / artist is registered with a local board of health. A copy of the facility license and the artist’s license must be hanging on the wall.
  2. Ensure that the artist wears gloves and has sterilized all the equipment in an autoclave. Parts of the machine that cannot be sterilized should be covered in disposable plastic sleeves. Also make sure the artist opens sterile packets to remove the needle. Further the artist should not be dipping into large bottles of ink, instead the artist should use small caps or crucibles, so as to avoid cross contamination.
  3. Make sure the parlor you use is clean and observes all hygienic procedures. Even licensed establishments can be sloppy. Make sure that the counters are clean and not strewn with dirty needles and used paper towels.
  4. Avoid unlicensed parlor who tempt you with cheaper prices, as this is a certain route to contracting undesirable skin infections.
  5. Despite all the precautions you may have taken, if you do develop any redness, itchiness, rashes or infection, in the area where you did get the tattoo / tattoos, consult a medical doctor, preferably a dermatologist, immediately.
Identifying a Tattoo Infection
  1. Pain factor – when the area where the tattoo is, should have healed and if you are still in pain or are feeling sore or tender, it is time to seek medical advice.
  2. Look for any swelling, redness or whether the area where the tattoo(s) is too hot to the touch (feels like a sunburn). Once again, seek medical advice, immediately.