Can Tattoos Ruin Me?

Tattooing has been around in one form or another pretty much since the beginning of humankind. They have been used as personal statements, status symbols, religious declarations, affiliations, and even as forms of punishment. Today tattoos still hold a fascination for many people, whether they have one or are just intrigued by others who have them. Tattoo parlors are quite easily found and for a $100 and a half hour of discomfort, you can have permanent artwork inked into your skin. However, there are several side effects, both physical and social, that you should consider before getting a tattoo.

Posted on | Susan Evans, MD | Comments ()

Tattooing has been around in one form or another pretty much since the beginning of humankind. They have been used as personal statements, status symbols, religious declarations, affiliations, and even as forms of punishment. Today tattoos still hold a fascination for many people, whether they have one or are just intrigued by others who have them. Tattoo parlors are quite easily found and for a $100 and a half hour of discomfort, you can have permanent artwork inked into your skin. However, there are several side effects, both physical and social, that you should consider before getting a tattoo.


First of all, there is a difference between a professional tattoo and a homemade tattoo. Professional tattoos are administered with tattoo guns that inject the ink into the dermis layer of your skin. Homemade tattoos are usually done with a single needle and do not usually break through the epidermis layer, which is the outermost layer of your skin. Homemade tattoos tend to look blurry and fade quickly. They are also more prone to infections. Infections can also occur at a professional tattoo parlor, but since these are usually controlled with quality and safety standards you are at less risk. If you choose to get a tattoo, be sure that the tattoo artist uses a clean needle and does not put the gun down in an unsanitary way during the procedure. He or she should also be wearing gloves since you will bleed during the process.


After you get a tattoo, you must take care of it properly during the healing process. Infections should be treated promptly by a medical doctor. If scarring occurs, you will have blotchy areas in your design that you can have redone by the tattoo artist. Removing a permanent tattoo can be done, but it is relatively painful and expensive. Tattoo removal is done by a laser process which can result in some form of permanent scarring. It is very important to note that laser hair removal is a very similar procedure, so you should not have any laser hair removal technique performed near a tattoo! In addition to it being quite painful, you can end up with burns, blisters, scarring, damaged skin, and a much distorted tattoo.


In addition to possible skin damage and infections, tattoos can impact your daily life on a social level. Depending on the type of tattoo and the location of it, you can find that it affects your job search; there are not many business executives with a snake tattoo wrapped around their neck. Or you may think a tattoo on your shoulder is really cute until you put on your slinky black dress and realize the spaghetti strap cuts vertically through it, making you look like you have a blob on your shoulder instead of a butterfly. Your perspective may also change as you age, so what’s cool to you now may make you roll your eyes when you’re 20 years older.


Tattoos are not taboo anymore and, when tastefully done, they can be a true form of artwork or a grand statement. However, the decision to get a tattoo deserves much careful consideration of the physical side effects as well as the social challenges that may occur with it. Think about today, think about tomorrow, and think about the next few decades before you decide to permanently ink your skin.

Blog written by Susan Evans, MD
Dr. Susan Evans is an internationally acclaimed, health and beauty expert one of Oprah's and Dr. Oz's healthy skin and beauty...