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Tattoos Pose Significant Health Risk, Study Suggests

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A new study reveals that tattoos can pose significant health risks. In fact, it finds that roughly one in ten people who get a tattoo will have some kind of associated health problem.

The study, which was carried out by Dr. Marie Leger, a dermatologist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, involved an examination of 300 people with tattoos. It was a simple approach: Leger’s team approached people in New York City’s Central Park and asked them to discuss any problems they may have had with their tattoos.

According to Leger’s report, which is now available to read in the journal Contact Dermatitis, roughly 10 per cent of the tattooed people polled said they’d experienced some kind of health problem after getting their skin marked. These issues ranged from serious infection to less significant problems, like itching, swelling, and redness.

Leger’s team found that, of those 10 per cent (or roughly 30 people) who reported having problems, 60-percent had consistent issues in the period that followed. Surprisingly, however, the researchers found that many people chose to ignore the issue and refused to see a doctor.

The problem, according to Leger, is that too many tattoo parlors go without regular inspection. “Tattoo inks aren’t very closely regulated in the United States,” Leger said.

So, why are people willing to take the chance of getting a serious infection? Leger suggests that the people who get tattoos are often risk-takers by nature. “I don’t think anyone gets a tattoo because it’s totally safe; I think people do it because it’s culturally a little bit rebellious,” Leger said.


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