Tattoos may be associated with a number of problems that rarely are considered when the tattoo is being placed.


Risk factors for a complication:

(1) infectious disease status of the tattoo artist and supplies

(2) location of the tattoo, especially over sun-exposed skin

(3) extent of the tattoo

(4) chemical composition of the dyes

(5) atopy in the recipient


Infectious complications associated with contaminated equipment or infected artist:

(1) HIV

(2) hepatitis virus A, B, C, other

(3) herpes simplex virus (HSV)

(4) other infectious diseases (Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas species, atypical mycobacteria)


Other complications:

(1) photosensitivity

(2) contact allergy

(3) delay in diagnosis of a skin lesion, especially a melanoma

(4) foreign body reaction

(5) skin reaction associated with sarcoidosis

(6) lichenoid skin reaction

(7) cutaneous burn during an MRI

(8) pain

(9) problems when trying to remove the tattoo

(10) emotional distress (going out with someone who has a different name, change in color or appearance)

(11) chemical toxicity


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