Tattoos have decorated bodies for centuries. From religious beliefs, to punishment, to adornment, tattoos have reflected personal stories for each of the bodies it marks. In the modern era, tattoos have become a form of art in which people use to express their individualities. Although one may consider marking their bodies as a positive form of self expression, tattoos can have lasting negative effects on one’s physical, social, and professional lives.
Physically, getting a tattoo involves many risks. Even with the technology available in the 21st century and advances made to improve safety, there are still many medical complications that can result after one gets a tattoo. Some risks are minor, while some are more serious than others. Infectious diseases can be life threatening, while non-infectious diseases can become mundane and bothersome. No matter how trivial the medical risk may be, one must take into consideration all medical side effects that can result from getting a tattoo.
There is verifiable evidence that viral infectious diseases can potentially be transmitted by tattooing, via the needle used to insert the dye. Hepatitis B and C, as well has HIV, are blood-borne diseases that have been linked to tattoos. These diseases can be transmitted through the needle used in the tattooing process, if it is not properly sterilized (The Mayo Clinic, 2008). Other diseases are bacterial and can have severe consequences on one’s health. Tetanus, Toxic Shock Syndrome, and Tuberculosis can be deadly if contracted. These diseases can also be spread through the tattoo needle, by bacteria on unsterilized needles (European Commission, Joint Research Center, 2003).
Aside from life threatening risks, there are also medical ailments that can result from getting a tattoo. Allergic reactions are often reported from the sensitivity to the ink used in the tattoo procedure. In addition, the European Commission (2003) states that skin infections at the sight of the tattoo have been reported. This has been concurred by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has attributed potentially serious antibiotic-resistant skin infections to unlicensed tattoo artists who don't follow proper infection-control procedures. These antibiotic-resistant skin infections can lead to pneumonia, blood infections and a painful, flesh-destroying condition called necrotizing fasciitis (The Mayo Clinic, 2008). There is a wide spectrum of skin illnesses, from psoriasis to malignant lesions that can be credited to a tattoo if the ailment is located where the tattoo is placed (European Commission, Joint Research Center, 2003).
To help decrease the risk of contracting any type of medical problem through the tattooing procedure, someone should carefully question the tattoo artist performing the procedure. Using fresh needles from sealed packaging and a sterilization machine will help prevent transmittal of blood-borne bacteria. The tattoo artist should also be licensed, practice good hand washing procedures, and wear protective gloves (The Mayo Clinic, 2008). These measures will help decrease the risk of contracting infectious diseases, but they are not 100% effective. One should still carefully consider these risks while making the decision to get a tattoo.
Regardless of the potential health risks, many people still choose to get tattoos for many different reasons. As of August 2008, tattoos are more popular than ever and are starting to become more widely accepted. However, circumstances still exist where tattoos aren’t tolerated. There are many cultural stigmas associated with tattoos that can leave a negative impact on one’s social life. The social labels placed upon people who have tattoos are ever-changing, but negative connotations are still the most common.
Tattoos have long since been stereotyped as markings for only criminals and gang members (Biker Skin Care, 2008)....
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