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Last Updated Thursday March 22 2018 01:58 AM IST

Planning to get inked? Etch these details in mind

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Tattoo is the latest fad. The body art has conquered cities and towns and even drawing eyeballs in rural India. Tiny single tattoos to intricate patterns that cover almost the entire body, they are everywhere. Is tattooing safe? Read on.

Many people do not even know why they go for a tattoo. They are just following a trend. There are permanent tattoos and temporary ones. There are risks associated with tattooing. Here is a guide to stay safe.

How to tattoo

Go to an expert if you want to get inked. There are licensed tattoo experts. Tattooing is the injection of ink into your skin with an electronic needle. The ink spreads into your dermis. You have to follow the directions of the expert after you have been inked. A tattoo has to be treated with a care, like a wound that can be infected.

It is natural for tattoos to pain and sting. Your skin will be repaired within a week. Some people develop an allergy to tattoos. Go to a doctor immediately.

Risks of infection

Fever with shivering, severe pain in the area where the tattoo was made, rashes, secretion, body pain, dysentery, abnormal thirst, vomiting and giddiness should raise a flag.

The major risk comes from the ink used by the tattoo artist. Always go for a test dose before you sit for an elaborate art work. Go to pavement artists at your own risk.

Tattoo equipment are meant for one-time use. They have to be sterilized.

Types of infection

Bacterial infections are caused by needles or other tattooing equipment that have not been sterilized. The ink could also cause infections. Most of the skin infections are caused by staphylococcal bacteria. High fever and body pain are some of the symptoms. It could also lead to pneumonia in rare cases. Antibiotics can effectively treat such infection.

Non-tuberculosis mycobacteria infections are common in tattooed areas. There is a variety of sources, including the ink, equipment, water and problems in diluting the ink. Inflammation on skin and itching are major symptoms. The infection can last for a week or even a month.

Viral infections can also happen through the small injuries caused by tattooing. When equipment are not sterilized before using, its a recipe for disaster. Such careless use can cause hepatitis B, hepatitis C and even HIV.

The ink can also prove infectious to some people. At the most risk are red, blue and green inks. It is better for people with lower immunity and skin allergies to keep away from tattooing.

Take care

The first step for safe tattoos is to go to a recognized tattoo professional. Tattoo parlors are supposed to receive a certificate from the health department but the norms are seldom followed. Make your own inquiries before choosing a tattoo salon. Internet reviews are a good source of feedback. Make sure that your chosen artist uses FDA-approved inks.

The part of body to be inked has to be sterilized before the process can start. The equipment have to be cleaned well before and after use. They have to be thrown away after use. The tattoo artist has to wear clean gloves.

If you have any skin allergy, let the tattoo artist know it. Diabetes patients are advised not to go for tattoos as their bodies take longer to heal a wound. Heart patients and nursing mothers should also consult their physicians before going to get inked.

Keep away from the sun for the first week after tattooing. Do not go for a dip in rivers or ponds. Do not apply creams or external medicines on skin. However, go to a doctor and use the medicines prescribed by him if you feel pain or itching on the tattooed area.

The most important thing is to keep the area clean. Very fewer people report any discomfort after getting inked.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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