Tattoos are becoming a popular trend these days. Anyone can have a tattoo, even the most unlikely of people. However, with the onset of the tattoo craze, a problem has emerged — tattoo allergies.
The ink in the artwork contains ingredients that cause the tattoo allergies. The most common allergen is found in red and yellow ink. The problem with tattoo ink is that it is unregulated. Almost anything can be used to create the pigments that make up the ink. Some of the more common ingredients include nickel, mercury (although less and less), cobalt and cadmium.
Signs of the allergy include itchiness around and on the tattoo, raised bumps, redness, irritation or hives. Worse case scenarios include pussing and oozing around the tattoo and sores. When this occurs, the person has to see a doctor immediately. Usually, a steroid will be given at the site of the problem that will eliminate the allergy.
Just because you get a tattoo and do not have a reaction a week later does not mean you are in the clear. Tattoo allergies sometimes do not show up right away. There have been cases where the allergy did not show up until years later. Usually, there is something that triggered the reaction to take place such as another tattoo (creating more exposure), change in weather or even a sickness. The treatment at this point is the same.
If the allergy is severe, the ink can be removed by a doctor using a laser. If the allergy is not that bad where you just suffer from occasional itching or swelling, over the counter anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine creams should do the trick. If you ever noticed that during the summer months, your tattoo gets itchy or a little red, this could be due to a tattoo allergy. Most people who do have this moderate reaction tend to just deal with the problem.
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing you are going to have tattoo allergies. There are no tests that can be done beforehand. You can’t have a small piece of skin that is out of the way tested because of the length of time some tattoo allergies take to appear. The only time people find out they have a tattoo allergy is after the tattoo is already on their body.
Take careful consideration on what the tattoo artist tells you about cleaning your tattoo. This prevents any immediate reactions your body may have and also an easier way to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. Keep in mind tattoo allergies are rare, so don’t shy away from them if you really want to get one.