Tattoos and Piercings


There are several health and safety issues that should be considered before getting a piercing or tattoo. It is important to remember that both these procedures break the skin. This could result in bleeding, open wounds and infections. In cases that go wrong, infections on the site of the piercing/tattoo could become permanently scarred and in the worst case scenario, result in deformity, illness or even death. In order to avoid such issues from occurring, it is always advisable to ensure the equipment that is used is properly sterilized. Since needles are involved, there is always a risk of cross-contamination if proper hygienic standards are not followed.

Another concern related to tattoos is the use of the dye. Many of these dyes are made from metals and can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. While this is not a life-threatening issue, it can cause itching and discomfort.

With respect to piercing, there are certain parts of the body that are more vulnerable to infection if pierced. These include the tongue, eyebrows, ear cartilage, nipples, genitals etc. Similarly, tongue studs and rings can cause tooth breakage and nipple piercings can cause infections or abscess.

Once an individual gets a tattoo, the tattoo site often becomes swollen and tender. In most cases, over-the-counter pain killers are sufficient to deal with the discomfort but there are some signs that you should be on the lookout for to ensure you don’t get an infection. If the site becomes weepy with clear drainage and if this drainage becomes colored, you should at once become vigilant. If this is accompanied with a fever, pain, fatigue or swollen lymph nodes then it is in your interest to consult a healthcare provider immediately.

You can treat minor swelling and redness from a tattoo at home by following the skin care instructions provided by your tattoo artist. In case of minimal bleeding, you can simply apply pressure to the wound to deal with that. It is normal for tattoo sites to ooze small quantity of blood within the next 24 hours after getting the tattoo. A cold pack is effective treatment for any form of swelling, bruising or itching. Itching can also be dealt with by taking an antihistamine. You can also use Polysporin or Bacitracin to deal with minor irritation or apply a non-stick bandage with the ointment onto the tattoo site. However, if the infection becomes worse, it’s best to consult a professional.