Allergy & Tattoos

Allergies associated with tattooing are very less. But chances are there that tattoo pigments may cause allergies and can negatively affect the healing process. In some cases allergy may not occur immediately and may develop months or even years after the tattoo was done. This is a painful and aggravating thing to go through. So think before you go for a tattoo and take the necessary precautions.

People with allergies, people whose skin is very sensitive to allergies should think carefully before taking a decision because of the risk of anaphylactic shock (hypersensitive reaction), which can be life threatening.

What are the allergies caused by tattooing?

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Redness of the skin
  • Oozing
  • In severe cases blistering, skin lesions, and persistent infections are common.

What in tattoos cause allergies?

  • The biggest allergy issue associated with tattooing is the latex, as the tattoo artist usually uses latex gloves. If you are very sensitive to latex, inform your tattoo artist clearly about it.
  • The dyes used in tattooing are industrial pigments which are used in car paints and writing inks. Tattoo dyes particularly red dye, can cause severe allergic skin reactions, resulting in an itchy rash at the tattoo site.
  • Some may get severe allergic reactions to the tattoo ink. And if you already have a skin condition such as eczema, you may have flare-ups after tattooing.
  • Some pigments used in tattooing range from metal oxides to synthetic organic dyes which can cause severe allergic reactions.
  • Some tattoo artists use “A&D” ointment instead of Vaseline for covering the finished tattoo, and this has cod liver oil in it as a major ingredient. Fish oil can cause severe allergy to you and can even send you to the hospital. If you have an allergy to fish oil, then don’t forget to inform your tattoo artist.
  • Temporary Tattoos like henna tattoos (especially the black ones) which are not actual tattoos but a dye have chemical called para-phenylene diamine (PPD), which can cause rash all over the body, swelling or itching for months. Doctors suggest people with sensitive skin to avoid henna tattoos. Do remember to check for PPD before buying any henna brand.

Some tattoo artists give small tests by marking a small amount of ink behind the ear to determine if a person has an allergic reaction or not. So do remind your tattoo artist to take a test before going deep into it.