4 Things to Know Before Getting a Tattoo

tattooPrincipal Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Some people get tattoos for glamour, self-expression, or cultural events. Whatever the reason, women as well as men should know the facts before getting one or more tattoos. That’s key because during this summer season, more tattoos show than during the rest of the year. From Health Power’s viewpoint, the most important thing to know before getting a tattoo, and in deciding how many tattoos to get, and of what size, is that it’s much easier having one put on than it is having one taken off.

Types of Tattoos

Permanent Tattoo: A needle inserts colored ink into your skin. Permanent tattoos last a lifetime.
Permanent Make-Up: A needle inserts colored ink into your skin to look like eyeliner, lip liner, eyebrows or other make-up.
Henna: Plant dye called henna or mehndi is used to stain your skin.
Black Henna: Developed from henna, may contain hair dye or other dye to darken the stain and make it last longer.
‘Sticker’ Temporary Tattoo: A tattoo design is on a coated paper. It is put on your skin with water. Temporary tattoos may last up to 3-4 weeks. Sticker tattoos last hours to days.

Tattoo Risks

Problems from tattoos can happen.

Infections and serious illness, like HIV or hepatitis, from unclean tattoo tools, practices, or products
Allergic reactions to the inks or stains can cause skin problems, such as rashes
Other skin problems like increased chance of sunburn, bumps, redness, or scarring
Swelling and burning of the tattoo when you get an MRI test
Pain and high costs if you want to remove a permanent tattoo

Contact your state or local health department for tattoo safety information to reduce your risk. Also, tell your doctor about any tattoos you have before any medical procedure.

Food and Drug Administration’s Role

The FDA:
– has not approved any inks for injecting into your skin
– has not approved henna or hair dye for use on your skin. Some people have reported serious skin problems after using henna or black henna.
– does not regulate tattoo parlors.

-monitors problems from tattoos and permanent make-up.

Therefore, report problems online to FDA or call 1-800-332-1088

Removing Your Tattoo

Permanent tattoos can be difficult and painful to remove. It may take several treatments that cost a lot of money. Talk to your doctor about your options.


You may not be able to completely remove your tattoo.
You could get a scar when you remove your tattoo.

Laser and Other Ways to Remove Tattoos

The FDA approves certain laser devices to remove tattoos.

Lighter colors such as yellow, green, and red are more difficult to remove than darker colors such as dark blue and black.

It may take 6-10 treatments to remove a tattoo.

Some side effects in tattoo removal may include bleeding, redness or soreness.


Tattoos can sometimes be removed by cutting out the tattooed skin and then sewing the skin back together.

Other times, the skin can be sanded down to remove the tattoo.

Removal Ointments, Creams and Do-it-yourself Tattoo Removal Kits

The FDA does not approve tattoo removal ointments and creams or do-it-yourself tattoo removal kits. These products may cause skin rashes, burns or scars.

Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power®


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