Tattoos tatter at skin, health

Tattoos are trendy, but the health risks are questionable say health experts.

“A high percentage of students on FAMU’s campus who have tattoos are unaware of the health risks that coincide with tattooing,” said Shankar A. Shetty, M.D., director of student health services at Florida A & M University.

Shane Simmons, a tattoo artist at Euphoria Tattoo Parlor, supported Shankar’s statement that people need to be aware of the health risks. Most people just want a tattoo and are not concerned with researching the possible side effects.

Tattooing can lead to minor and severe effects. Health experts said they have found tattooing to be associated with skin cancer, keloids, tissue scarring, skin irritations and local bacterial infections.

Shankar said these unhealthy side effects could be prevented if tattoo care procedures are researched properly.

“I think people who are interested in getting a tattoo need to research the health risks of tattooing because tattoos are permanent,” said Simmons.

The negative health side effects can be avoided. Always make sure the tattoo parlor is licensed. In addition, the needles should be properly sterilized, the parlor itself should be sanitary, and you should observe the tattoo artists to see if they are wearing gloves.

Simmons said be aware of tattoo parlors’ tattooing operations. “I would ask for a tour of the parlor and see if the needles are properly sterilized and thrown out into a biohazard box instead of just dipping the needle into alcohol,” said Simmons.

The law in Florida requires each tattoo parlor to use sterilized needles properly and then dispose of them. Shankar added, “These days needles are thrown out.”

Dealing with any type of mutilation of the body requires a certain amount of health care. Simmons recommends that after being tattooed to leave the bandage on until the next day, wash the tattoo with soap and water four times a day daily.

“These necessary tattoo care guidelines are important to follow to reduce infections and irritations,” said Simmons.

People want tattoos no matter what the side effects are because they are not worried about the risks. In today’s society the statement the more the better has become a literal statement in the tattoo industry. Simmons said, “Tattoos are addictive, once you get one the more and more you want to get the others.”

Even though tattoos can be risky to one’s health, several students on FAMU’s campus continue to take their chances.

Tattoos are one of the artistic ways of expression. “And I love its artistic look,” said Ariel Rimmer, 20, a third-year physical therapy student from Jackson, Miss. “I plan to get one soon.”

Some students, like Rimmer, often think about the side effects that are associated with the before and after of tattoos. But for others the health risks are not convincing enough.

Rimmer said, “I am willing to take the risk. Because I’m going to follow the proper tattoo care procedures so my skin won’t get infected.”