Charleston Dermatology Blog

To Ink or Not to Ink

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More than 60 million Americans — or one out of every five people — have at least one tattoo. As popular as tattoos are, they aren’t always right for everyone. That’s why it’s important to have all the facts before you decide to go under the needle and get inked.

What’s A Tattoo?

A tattoo is a form of body art that is added to a person’s skin using small needles that puncture the skin at a frequency of 50-3,000 times per minute and inject dye into different levels of the skin. Initially, the ink is deposited in both the epidermis and dermis, but as the skin heals, the damaged epidermal cells are shed and replaced by new, dye-free cells.

How Does It Affect Your Skin?

When done correctly and in a sterile environment, complications are rare and the only immediate discomfort may be minor bleeding or pain. It is important to remember that freshly tattooed skin is wounded, and the skin may be itchy, red, inflamed and sensitive. Skincare services must not be performed in the newly tattooed area until the skin is fully healed.

It should be noted that tattoos can hide moles that can be early signs of dangerous skin conditions, such as melanoma. Be sure to check with your dermatologist before you decide to get inked just to make sure the know what to look for.

How Do You Care For A Tattoo?

To ensure proper healing of your new tattoo, it is important to follow all of the instructions given to you by your tattoo artist. A good rule of thumb, whether you have a tattoo or not, is to keep your skin protected from sun damage and keep it hydrated. Always apply sunscreen — with SPF 30 or higher — before going outside and use water-based lotion regularly.

If you ever do find that you are no longer interested in having a tattoo, you can get it removed. Just remember that it is a long process and can still leave scar tissue where your tattoo used to be.

To learn more about the pros and cons of tattoos, chat with a dermatologist today!

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