Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Are tattoos dangerous?"
I want to get my first tattoo but I?m a little nervous. Could something go wrong when I get my tattoo or when it is healing that could kill me or give me a disease? Are tattoos really safe?
On average, getting a tattoo is fairly safe. However, there are hazards that you should know about prior to getting a tattoo. These risks are something that you will have to accept, because they cannot be avoided.
See a doctor who can help
Find a Primary care-doctors near you
The first risk that we see happen a lot is soft tissue infection over the location of the tattoo. This is because bacteria can get underneath the skin because of the tattoo needles that penetrate the skin. The needles are cleaned of course, but its tough to be 100% sterile during the whole procedure. The second hazard that we see sometimes is the transmission of hepatitis C. This virus can be transmitted from an infected person that gets a tattoo to a non-infected person who gets a tattoo, if the needle is not properly sterilized between customers. While most tattoo artists are very careful about sterilizing their equipment, this is certainly not true for all of them. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss this issue. It is possible that your doctor will know which parlors to definitely avoid. While your doctor will probably never recommend that you get a tattoo, he or she can possibly help you make it as safe as possible.
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.