Can A Tattooed Person Donate Blood?

It’s a common myth that you can’t give blood after a tattoo, and many blood donation forms will ask if the donor has recently gotten a tattoo. Luckily, most people can – but there are rules. 

As a tattoo artist, it’s important to help your clients understand the implications of getting a tattoo beyond having art permanently placed on their bodies.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Who can’t donate blood because of their tattoos
  • Why tattoos matter with donating blood
  • How getting tattooed in certain tattoo facilities can make a difference in your ability to donate blood

Blood Donation and Tattoos  

Person with a large forearm tattoo donating blood

The short answer to whether people who have tattoos can give blood is yes, but you have to meet certain criteria. This also goes for body piercings and depends on whether the donor has other factors that limit blood donation. 

The reason for restrictions on donating blood with a tattoo or body piercing is the risk for diseases like Hepatitis B if the person was not tattooed in a sterilized environment. 

If you give blood and it is determined to have any sort of infection or disease, the blood donation center won’t be able to use it to save lives.

Limits for Donating Blood

Tattooed Person donating blood

It’s uncommon, but sometimes tattoos can lead to hepatitis and other blood diseases. Because of this, it’s common for people with new tattoos to not be allowed to give blood. 

The Food and Drug Administration recommends that blood donors not get a tattoo for 3 months leading up to giving blood. 

People who get tattoos at a state-regulated facility may be able to donate blood sooner. 

States that regulate tattoo facilities can ensure safe practices like using sterile needles, which helps prevent infection and lowers the risk of blood infections for potential donors.

State Regulation 

Tattooed person giving blood by Red Cross MythBusters

According to the American Red Cross, people may be eligible to give blood immediately after getting tattooed at state-regulated tattoo shops. 

States that do not regulate tattoo facilities are:

  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Other Eligibility Criteria

Even if you have limited your risk factors by getting tattooed at regulated tattoo shops or waiting the 3-month deferral period to give blood, your ability to be a blood donor might be limited by other things. 

Here are some reasons why donation centers might rate you as high risk for donating:

  • Pregnancy
  • History of hepatitis or HIV
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Recent blood transfusion
  • History of bad reactions to blood donations
  • Bleeding disorders

For more information on requirements for giving blood, check out the American Red Cross requirements for donation.

Prepare for a Tattoo Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Understanding tattoo laws is an important step in your journey towards a tattoo career, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into the tattoo business because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need for your tattoo career. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start working full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

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Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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