Piercings and tattoos are body decorations that go back to ancient times. Body piercing involves making a hole in the skin so that you can insert jewelry. This is often in the earlobe, but can be in other parts of the body. Tattoos are designs on the skin made with needles and colored ink. A permanent tattoo is meant to last forever. Permanent makeup is a type of tattoo.
The health risks of piercings and tattoos include
- Allergic reactions
- Keloids, a type of scar that forms during healing
- Infections, such as hepatitis
To reduce the risks, make sure that the facility is clean, safe and has a good reputation. Proper sterilization of the equipment is important. Be sure to follow the instructions on caring for your skin.
Holes from piercing usually close up if you no longer wear the jewelry. It is possible to remove tattoos, but it's painful and can cause scarring.
- Caring for Pierced Ears (American Academy of Dermatology)
- Caring for Tattooed Skin (American Academy of Dermatology)
- Inks Used in Certain Tattoo Kits Cause Infections (Food and Drug Administration)
- Piercings: How to Prevent Complications (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Tattoos: Understand Risks and Precautions (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Temporary Tattoos May Put You at Risk (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- A Fatal Fad? Tongue Studs Cause More Problems Than Chipped Teeth (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Temporary Tattoos and Henna/Mehndi (Food and Drug Administration)
- What Is an Oral Piercing? (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Inked and Regretful: Removing Tattoos (Food and Drug Administration) Available in Spanish
- Laser Tattoo Removal (Logical Images)
- Unwanted Tattoos (American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)
- Workplace Safety and Health: Body Art (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Available in Spanish
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Find a Dermatologic Surgeon (American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)
- Think Before You Ink: Are Tattoos Safe? (Food and Drug Administration) - PDF