ZocdocAnswersI have dermotagraphia. Is it ok to get a tattoo?

Question

I have dermotagraphia. Is it ok to get a tattoo?

I've read other people who have the same skin problem and there is no real cure. I just want to make sure that it would be ok to get a tattoo. I've read stories of other people who have it and a tattoo was fine. In some cases it made the dermotagraphia go away on the skin where the tattoo was drawn.

Answer

Dermatographism is, in many cases, a condition of unknown cause, which is characterized by a reaction of the skin after contact or pressure, for example scratching or stroking the skin with the finger. The reaction is typically redness or a raised area of skin that correlates with the area of contact. I recommend that you speak with your primary care doctor. In the majority of cases, dermatographism does not cause symptoms, aside from the visible reaction. In other cases, people may experience itching or a more generalized reaction. Similar symptoms may occur as a cause of specific irritants, for example cold or hot water, vibration, heat, or emotions. Because there are various types of dermatographism, the risk of tattooing may be variable. It is important to discuss this with your PCP. In certain instances, an Allergy specialist may, in a controlled setting, provoke the skin to assess the reaction. If your symptoms include itching, there are medications that may reduce the itching which may be indicated before tattooing. There is no evidence that tattooing will cure dermatographism in the area of the tattoo. It is also important to consider the risk of tattoos. The risks include contaminated needles, which carry the risk of hepatitis and HIV. It is, therefore, very important to choose a clean and reputable facility. You may consult with your primary care doctor, who may consider referring you to an Allergist, depending on the severity of your symptoms, prior to tattooing.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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