Archive for December, 2008

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December 19, 2008

That’s How It Begins… Needles and Pins

Tattoos were once a cultural rarity often associated with anti-establishment renegade bikers and the occasional star-crossed lover. But these days, tattooing has become a popular mainstream form of expression. There are even a handful of dedicated enthusiasts who create “body art” by covering every available spot of epidermis with tattoos.

From girls to grandmas, everybody’s getting in on the trend. According to statistics provided by US News and World Report, by the 1990’s the phenomenal growth of tattooing allowed it to become one of the fastest growing retail businesses in America.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo, there are some things to beforehand. First, make sure you have an “undo” plan.  In other words, if the day comes that you decide you no longer want the tattoo, make sure you know what your options are and that you’re okay with them.  Then do your research. Only consider an established tattoo studio that is licensed and registered with the local government. Make sure that the tattoo proprietor meets building and safety standards, and that the facility is clean and sanitary. The tattoo equipment should be clean and sterilized. Insist that a brand new needle be used.

Know what to expect. After getting a tattoo, the initial application area will be swollen at first, and may exhibit some crusting on the surface. It is likely that the tattoo will ooze small amounts of blood for up to 24 hours, and may ooze a clear, yellow or blood-infused fluid for several days later.

Be aware that adverse reactions may occur, such as:  infection at the tattoo site; minor skin or severe allergic reactions to the dye; scarring; and possible spread of infectious disease, such as hepatitis (both B and C) or tuberculosis. Even temporary (henna) tattoos may cause a problem for some. Henna is not approved by the FDA for use in tattoos, and may cause an allergic or skin reaction.

Inks used in tattoos are subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but the agency does not customarily regulate them. This poses a safety risk as new pigments and diluents hit the market almost on a daily basis. Many of these are industrial-grade colors, designed for automobile paint and printer’s ink; not for skin contact.  Not knowing the composition of the ink dyes can also pose a problem for surgeons in removing tattoos.

Keep in mind that tattoos are permanent, and that they. can change with time. They may fade or the images can become blurred. They can also change shape as the body changes with age. Some tattoos cannot be removed. Even with advancements with lasers, tattoo removal remains an expensive and painstaking process, requiring multiple procedures and causing scarring. Also be aware that the most common problem that develops with tattoos is customer dissatisfaction.

If you’re still on “needles and pins”, apprehensive about proceeding, then getting a tattoo may not be for you. But, if you catch yourself humming “Born to be Wild”, and have already picked out the perfect spot for the new addition, keep in mind, here’s where it begins… needles and pins.

One last thing.  We mentioned the “undo” option.  If you have a tattoo that you’ve come to regret, please contact us about what your options are.  They’re more affordable than you might believe.