A new study has found that tattoo ink can have longer lasting impacts that scientists or the general public had previously known. The study found that chronic conditions associated with the tattoos are not only on the rise, but also increasing for a host of reasons. Particularly, the study pointed out that there were significant increases in instances of skin irritation and allergy to ink used in tattoos.

This is interesting because it contradicts the long-standing notion that there aren’t any significant impacts caused by tattoos. The problem though, as with any permanent skin alteration, is that the results are irreversible. They cannot be stopped, undone, or unwound. Instead, once the tattoo is present, the problems or complications will be present forevermore.

Dr. Marie Leger, the co-author of the study and dermatologist in New York City pointed out that, “I’ve taken care of patients who have had problems with their tattoos and was curious about how common this was.” She went on to point out that, “I was surprised at the results.” The incredible part about the study, which evaluated a series of tattooed subjects over a four month period was that the impacts are pretty profound in terms of long-term problems.


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However, there is alternative thinking out there. Mike Martin, president of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists pointed out that this wasn’t something that should be thought of as uncommon. However, at the same time, it shouldn’t be thought of as the norm. He pointed out that, “The prevalence of a rash appearing is uncommon although not unheard of throughout the tattoo industry. Some folks’ bodies do not like red pigments.” He went on to point out that, “I have heard of the rash appearing 12 months after the tattoo has been healed. It is usually in the site where red pigments were tattooed into the skin. The rash persists until all of the red ink has been pushed from the skin. Occasionally, I have seen this happen to some blues, purples and greens that were tattooed on someone overseas.”

This research though only shows the uncertainty around tattoos and what their long-term impact is though. While scientists might have proven now that there are definite causes for concern in the long-term, it doesn’t mean that those causes for concern are something that should derail an entire industry. There will definitely be more studies on the subject, and as the science continues to mature, things will become clearer with regards to the safety of a tattoo.

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  1. Maybe because when tatooing became popular again (circa 1990) when I was already in my mid 20s – I always found tattoos something less than desirable. Or it could be a natural cultural impulse of having been raised Jewish.

    Nevertheless I am not a fan of tattoos and I find it demeans the body and almost is a stamp of low self esteem and a desire to impress others very often.

    Though I have to admit I do like some tattoos – I would never do that to my body.

  2. Ianto_Jones: ” … nonsense ‘research’ without citing any sources … ”

    From the article: “Dr. Marie Leger, the co-author of the study …”

    All the article states is that there is a possibility that tattoos lead to an ink allergy. No reason to go into troll mode.

  3. This is the 5th or 6th story I’ve seen trumpeting these “new” findings.

    7 years ago when I was getting my first tattoo, my artist warned me about red ink allergies. They happen. He told me that upfront before using any. That was at a small town 1-man shop. This problem isn’t new; it’s well known among more regular tattooed folks. There’s always a chance you’ll be allergic to something in an ink, just like there’s a chance you’d be allergic to something in a food you’ve never tried.

    But the side effects are rarely dangerous that I’ve ever seen or heard of. This shouldn’t be turned into some chance to moralize. I’m surprised the author of the study didn’t find someone out of the roughly 300 people surveyed who could explain this to her.