Tips on Getting and Caring for Tattoos

Are you thinking about getting a tattoo but still not sure if it's safe or not for your body? Dr. Preeti Parikh, our Chief Medical Editor, gives you an overview on the health related concerns one might have before getting a tattoo and whether it has any adverse effects on your body. 

To answer all our questions about the whether or not tattoos can be harmful to your skin and/or body, we gave Dr. Bobby Buka a call to get the info directly from a Dermatologist.He explains that in terms of sterilization, there are certain steps taken to sterilize the needle before beginning to tattoo someone. Normally tattoo artists will use disposable materials and sterilized equipment to protect the client as well as the artist. 

Once you've gotten your tattoo, what can you do to avoid infection? The most important thing you need to do is to keep the tattoo clean. It is important to wash your tattoo every day twice a day with Bacitracin and make sure to wash it very gently. Avoid scrubbing the area since the skin will still be delicate from the tattoo. 

Some signs you should look out for to know if you have an infection is if you have real tender pain on the tattoo (because a little soreness is normal) the day after you get your tattoo. If you feel a sharp stinging or burning pain, this is also a sign you might want to check this out with your doctor. You should also call your doctor if you start to see a lot of redness or puss starting to appear.

If you already have a tattoo and you would like to remove it, Dr. Buka recommends to get the procedure done by a board certified dermatologist. One standardized method of laser tattoo removal is called PicoSure, which does a really great job in removing all colors in a tattoo with the important exception of yellows and greens which are very tough colors to remove. Dark pigments are easier to remove when it comes to laser tattoo removal, so keep this in mind as well when considering your options. 

Dr. Bobby Buka

This video features Dr. Bobby Buka. Dr. Bobby Buka is a Section Chief at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Buka is also a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology & Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Duration: 02:10. Last Updated On: 2016-03-01
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh . Review date: January 24, 2016
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