Cutting corners when it comes to tattoos is a bad idea

head tattoo

Don't cut corners when getting body ink. It just isn't worth the risks. Image: Tattoo_Lover/Flickr/CC BY

In this post-recessionary financial pinch, most of us are looking for ways to cut corners and save money. However, a recent study suggests that one area where you want to stick with certified pros is in getting tattoos. It costs more up front, but it could save you big on medical expenses down the road.

Diseases from amateur tattoos

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have analyzed several past studies and come to the conclusion that people receiving tattoos performed by non-professionals have a greatly increased risk of contracting the blood-borne illness Hepatitis C.  The findings were published Thursday in the medical journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases.”

Most will develop liver diseases

Studies show that 75 to 85 percent of people who contract Hepatitis C will develop chronic infections that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. The disease is a major public health issue in the U.S.

Disease transferred through tainted needles

Generally the disease is transferred through tainted or shared needles. People who get tattooed by non-professionals, the study found, have a two to four times greater than normal chance of contracting Hepatitis C.

Dr. Rania A. Tohme, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, told Reuters:

“Tattoos and piercings can transmit Hepatitis C and other infections if performed under non-sterile conditions. People should not have tattoos or piercings done by friends or by people who are not trained professionals.”

Little or no risk from pro tattoos

Furthermore, the study found that there was little or no such risk if tattoos are performed by a professional tattoo artist.

Tohme said:

“To this date, there has been no evidence that tattoos and piercings performed in professional parlors in the United States have been implicated in transmission of Hepatitis C virus.”

[How about a payday loan for some new ink?]

Prison tattoos are a huge risk

The problem is especially large in prisons, where amateur tattoos are common and conditions are rarely sanitary.

If you must, use precautions

If you can’t afford a tattoo and really have to have that special image inked in by a non-pro, Tohme offered some cautionary advice:

“Disposable piercing needles, tattoo needles and razors are used on one person and then thrown away. Reusing needles or razors is not safe.”

Sources

Top News
Fabulous World of Tattoos
Reuters

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