Monday, September 5, 2011

Homemade tattoos?

As I walk down the hallways of my college I see tattoos everywhere, some are very large while others are small and simple. The tattoos are most popular with the younger students. Apparently students have been waiting for their 18th birthday to rush and get a tattoo. What shocked me the most was when I asked where they had gotten their tattoo. Some students said, “at a tattoo shop” while others said, “it is homemade”. Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett mentions that homemade tattoos concern her because the product and tools that are being used usually aren’t sterile. She also stated, “the immediate health risk could be an infection and the second risk would be traumatizing the skin.” It is also important to note that if an infected needle is used there is a risk of hepatitis and HIV. “Infections can be spread in several ways in an unprofessional setting: using unsterilized needles, not using gloves to a tattoo or working in a dirty environment,” said Dr. Kellett.

Other health risks include, getting bumps called granulomas that form around the tattoo ink according to Mayo Clinics. After the tattoo is applied it is also important to take good care of it. Mayo Clinic’s says to remove the bandage after 24 hours and apply antibiotic ointment to the tattooed skin while it is healing. Use plain soap and water to keep the tattooed area clean. Applying moisturizer and avoiding sun exposure will allow the tattoo to heal properly. But it will take about two weeks for the tattoo to heal so be careful to not pick the scabs because they increase the risk of infections.

Although a tattoo may be cheaper if it is homemade, in the long run it could become infected and it will be far more expensive. It will take minutes or hours to get a tattoo, but it will take multiple treatments to remove it. Although I am not against or for tattoos, it is important to know the potential dangers and the steps in taking good care of it. In addition, when getting a tattoo, it is highly recommended that you think through what it is that you want and if it is something that you will not regret in ten years from now because we all know tattoos are permanent. As an 18 year old myself, my tastes have changed over the years and it would be a challenge for me to make the drastic decision of getting a tattoo and expect to be satisfied with it as I grow older. There is at least a 50 % chance that a tattoo may be unwanted at a later age. Also the possible removal of a tattoo, with all the pain involved should be a consideration.

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