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Tattoo Risks and Precautions

Tattoos might be more common than ever, but that doesn’t mean that getting one comes without risks. Learn the basic safety precautions and aftercare steps before deciding to get your ink.

Free Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed a skin infection or other injury after getting a tattoo, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

How are Tattoos Done?

Artists create tattoos by injecting ink into a person’s skin with a hand-held machine that resembles a dental drill. The tattoo machine moves one or more needles up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needles penetrate the top layer of skin and deposit a drop of pigment with each puncture, which causes significant pain and a small amount of bleeding.

Know the Risks

Anytime the skin is punctured by a foreign object, there is a risk of infections and other complications. Specific tattoo risk factors include:

  • Unregulated inks – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate tattoo inks and pigments, and no inks or pigments have been approved for injection into the skin. While state and local health authorities do oversee the practice, their rules vary between localities, and they’re mainly concerned with ensuring sanitation. Toxic substances like car paint and lead have been found in some tattoo inks.
  • Skin infections – A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on a cluster of tattoo-related skin infections in NY, WA, IA and CO. All involved Mycobacterium bacteria, and were traced to the same nationally-distributed prediluted gray ink. Infection with Mycobacterium bacteria can cause complications ranging from a mild rash around the tattoo site to severe abscesses that require surgery and months of antibiotic therapy. Other skin infections associated with tattoos include HIV, hepatitis B & C, staph (including drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and tuberculosis.
  • Granulomas – One of the most common allergic reactions associated with tattoo ink. Anywhere a red pigment (derived from mercury, for example) is applied, there will be a localized swelling on that part of the tattoo. These may be single granulomas, consisting of the entire color area, or multiple tiny granulomas within the affected color region. Granulomas are difficult to treat, and may require removal of the tattoo.
  • Sun sensitivity – Photosensitivity results from a reaction between the sun and the tattoo ink. In photosensitive reactions, the mixture of sunshine with the ink results in a sunburn in and around the tattoo. Photosensitive reactions may also result in local swelling, itching, scaling and redness.
  • Keloids – Raised scar at the site of a tattoo that occurs due to an over-production of scar tissue. It is not known what makes some people form tattoo keloids while others don’t. A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.


Taking proper care of your skin after getting a tattoo can help prevent infections and other injuries. Some basic tattoo aftercare tips include:

  • After the tattoo is complete, remove the bandage within 3 to 5 hours. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, then wash the tattoo. Pat skin dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Allow the skin to air dry for 5-10 minutes, then apply a thin layer of Vaseline, Aquaphor or other ointment.
  • Repeat this process 3 to 4 times a day for 4 days.
  • When the tattoo begins to shed a flaky layer of skin, do not itch or pick it.
  • Don’t allow the tattoo to get dried out for the first few weeks.
  • Contact your doctor if swelling or redness persists for more than a few days, also if you have a fever or develop a rash around the tattoo.

Do I Have a Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

Free Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one developed a skin infection or other injury after getting a tattoo, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Tattoo Skin Infection Suit and we can help.

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