What gets under our skin?

Fortunately, official tattoo parlors are now staffed by professional artists who adhere to strict hygiene rules, but it does not hurt to be aware of a few things if you want to get a tattoo. There are diseases for which you should not get a tattoo, and the removal of a tattoo is not a completely safe procedure either - points out Dr. Péter Sipos, a surgeon at the Duna Medical Center. What do we need to know about substances that get into our skin and how our body reacts to tattoos?
What gets under our skin?

Where does the ink go?

During tattooing, the tattooists apply the pigment to the upper-middle layer of the skin. Paint pigments and paint components, as a foreign substance, cause an inflammatory reaction, and their toxic, irritating effect can contribute to this, which can cause itching, swelling and hair loss in 20% of cases. Most of them can be treated well by tattoo artists, but if the symptoms persist for a long time, inflammation, an allergic reaction or a tumor may also occur.

Why is hygiene important?

It is important that the tattoo is done in a clean environment, as infections have often occurred, the number of which has decreased thanks to the sterile technique, but nevertheless Strepto- and Staphylococcus infection on the skin can appear, which can cause dermatitis, skin necrosis or even sepsis. If the pigment leaks into the upper layer of the skin, it can initiate skin proliferation, and as a result of insufficient sterility, hepatitis B, C, HPV and mycobacterium or even HIV infection can occur.

What goes into the skin?

Most permanent dyes contain some kind of metal that is freely located in the lower layer of the skin. A few days or weeks after the tattoo, allergic eczema (contact dermatitis) may appear on the skin area. It is also possible that a few months or years later, the inks cause so-called granulomatous inflammation, in which case small nodules appear along the tattoo. Some metals, such as red and yellow cadmium, can cause severe photosensitivity when exposed to sunlight, causing the skin to swell, become red and wet. It is important to know that other components of paints can also cause an allergic reaction, for example thiomersal, formaldehyde and propylene glycol used as preservatives.

We don't get tattoos if…

There are certain diseases, such as diabetes, epilepsy, hemorrhaging, that preclude getting a tattoo. Anyone who has had an organ transplant, is expecting a child, has been diagnosed with skin cancer, or has a family history of this type of tumor should not go near a tattoo parlor either. It is not allowed to get a tattoo on a birthmark, but it is allowed on well-healed, reaction-free scars. It is important to know that the tattoo affects the sweat glands, their secretion production is approx. is reduced by 50%. If it is located in a small area, we do not notice this, but if it is located on a large surface, it worsens the heat balance.

If it needs to be removed

A small tattoo can be removed surgically, but it leaves a scar. In the case of a tattoo located on a larger surface, this is recommended with a laser. The laser emits light of a special wavelength, which penetrates light skin without obstacles, but is maximally absorbed in dark color (dark-colored paint), interacts with it, and specifically explodes it. The darker the tattoo ink, the better it can absorb this laser light. Just as the pigments of tattoo inks explode under the influence of a laser and the smaller components are deposited in the lymphatic channels and lymph nodes, only a small part of them is excreted from the body. Paints also contain nanoparticles, which enter the bloodstream unimpeded and can cause nerve damage when they reach the brain.

It is now assumed that these particles can even cause tumors, influence the delay in conception, and fetal abnormalities can also occur after the removal of the tattoo, so the procedure is especially not recommended for women who are planning or expecting a child.

So we have to think about whether we want a tattoo not only because we have to wear it on our skin in our eternal life - or at least for a long time - but also because either its creation or its removal can affect our health.

If you need surgical help with your tattoo, book an appointment through our customer service at +36 1 790 7070 or online!

Get to know our surgeons:

Dr. Imre Fehérvári

Dr. Gábor Friedman

Dr. József Furák

Dr. Zsolt Káposzt

Dr. Bernadette Lévai

Dr. Zoltán Nagy

Dr. Péter Sipos

Dr. József Szabó

Dr. Péter Vasas

Dr. Tamás Vass