As of 2012, 1 in 5 adults had a tattoo. This is up from 14% in 2008. Truthfully, tattoos are usually trouble-free. But tattoos can pose health risks…
- Unsterilized tools.
- Contaminated ink.
- Blood-borne diseases (HIV and hepatitis).
- Toxins in the tattoo ink (metals, powders or other organic compounds).
- Allergic reactions.
If you have a tattoo before getting an MRI let the radiologist know so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Tattoos can also prevent early detection of skin cancer as the ink can camouflage changes in Asymmetry, Borders, Colors and Diameter–the ABCDs of melanoma detection. So, do not cover up moles with tattoos.
Of note, the Food and Drug Administration regulates tattoo ink, but considers it a cosmetic and only intervenes when there are attention-getting problems.