A Closer Look At Tattooing Health Risks and Warnings…
Being a tattoo artist comes with all kinds of benefits. For one, you are able to utilize your artistic skill in a meaningful way. You also have the ability to work in a more flexible manner than a lot of people in other professions. There’s also the fact that the industry is constantly evolving with technology and other breakthroughs, which keeps things fresh and exciting.
But, there is a darker side to tattooing, as well…
The business of tattooing used to have a pretty bad reputations, and while good artists and mainstream acceptance have brought much of that to an end, there are reasons that reputation was in place. One of the contributors to this less-than-stellar view of tattooing has to do with the health risks it has posed in the past.
To be honest, there are still health risks for both the customer and the tattoo artist. That said, safety procedures and technological advances have helped to minimize these to the point where getting and giving a tattoo is actually fairly safe. Every reputable tattoo artist will be thoroughly up-to-date on the latest safety precautions and equipment. Tattoo shops use vigorous cleaning procedures and test routinely to make sure their places of business and equipment are doing all they need to do to protect staff and clients.
Tattoo Health and Safety Basics
When it comes to health and safety in the shop (or wherever you’re tattooing), there are some basic rules that apply. Reputable tattoo artists will use industry-approved equipment, follow stringent cleaning procedures, and will use best practices for high-quality tattoos that are beautiful and safe. In addition, they supply every client with an “aftercare” summary that gives them directions on how to take care of their new art to avoid infection and other undesired outcomes.
Blood-Borne Pathogens and Cuts
Probably the biggest health risk related to tattooing is the possibility of spreading blood-borne pathogens from one person to another. Diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, Herpes, and more can be spread when someone is exposed to the infected blood of another person. The process of tattooing requires needles to puncture the skin, which means that they often come into contact with blood.
If a needle used on a person infected with a blood-borne pathogen is re-used on a second person, that disease can be spread. For this reason, needles should not be reused, and equipment needs to be thoroughly cleaned after each client. The tattoo artist also wears rubber gloves to add a layer of protection between the artist’s skin and the client’s blood.
There are other issues that come along with the sharp tools that a tattoo artist uses. It’s not hard to imagine how someone could get accidentally cut or stuck when working with needles, razors, and other sharp items. In addition to potentially spreading blood-borne pathogens, there is the simple difficulty that can come from working with a cut hand. Unfortunately, this is a job hazard, and for this reason, it’s a very good idea for tattoo artists to be current on their first aid training.
Allergies and Irritations
Some clients can have allergic reactions to certain ingredients used in tattoo inks. While it’s not necessarily as common as it used to be, there is still a concern. The tattoo artist will usually go over the risks and concerns ahead of time, so that that customer can be on the lookout for any unwanted reactions. Those who do discover an allergy to inks will likely need to go to a dermatologist to figure out what their treatment options are. While not quite the same as an allergy, there are also skin irritations that can be caused by tattooing. The result can be bumps or puckering of the skin.
While there’s not always a lot that a tattoo artist can do to head off an allergic reaction, there are steps that are taken to protect everyone from other health and safety issues. These range from not using the same needles twice to using high-tech equipment to sterilize anything that can withstand the process.
These complex strategies are effective, but it’s important not to overlook the simple things, too. For example, it makes sense to put washable covers over items in the tattoo area that might get splattered during the process. It’s also best to use disposable items, such as plastic razors, paper towels, and rubber gloves. All of these things get thrown into the trash and are treated as a bio-hazard.
Because the art of tattooing has been around for so long, there have been lots of opportunities for refinement. Tattooing today is quite safe, due to the diligence of artists and shops who work to protect themselves and their clientele.