8 Dermatology Tips to Consider When Getting a Tattoo

Video Transcript:

Here’s another daily tip from your friendly local dermatologist.

Alright, let’s talk about tattoos. I have no problem with tattoos, but there’s a couple of basic rules that you need to follow when you’re getting one. Number one, if you’re gonna be having words on your tattoo, double-check that it’s spelled right, okay? That’s the big one. It’s really important. 

Number two, please go to a place that’s licensed, and it actually looks clean. You should be able to see devices that sterilize the equipment. You should see them wearing gloves. You should see a nice clean environment.

Number three, please, do not let people tattoo over a birthmark or a mole. You know anything can change and anything on your body can become cancerous. And what dermatologists use to determine if something is cancerous or not is its appearance, so we look at it. And if they’ve taken ink and put that over the spot that is potentially dangerous one day, it’s really, really hard for us to determine if it’s changing, and then if it needs a biopsy, and then if it’s cancerous or not. So do not let them tattoo over birthmarks or moles.

So number four, if you’re somebody who scars easily, you can’t get a tattoo. So if you get earrings and they keloid, you know, those keloids are those big scars that develop, they’re really thick and they feel like maybe a marble in your ear, or you get a cut and it raises up really bad, do not get a tattoo, because you could get a keloid in that entire tattoo. So if you’re somebody whose scars easily, please do not get tattoos.

Number five, there are certain inks and dyes that are more prone to problems. So red is especially problematic, because people can get allergic reactions to the red ink. So I’d avoid red if at all possible, and I’d make sure that the ink that your tattoo parlor is using is actually something that’s formulated in a national laboratory, not something that they’re making in the back kitchen.

Number six, please take care of your tattoo afterwards. So it’s basically a wound, and if you keep it moist with Vaseline or Aquaphor for the first week or so, it has a better chance of looking good, of healing well, and getting the result that you want.

Number seven, keep your tattoos out of the sun. Obviously, dermatologists, we don’t like the sun. But they’ll fade your tattoos quickly. So if you’re getting in the sun, it’ll fade and it won’t look as good as long.

Number eight, you can get infections with tattoos. So if you get an infection, and that’s looking red, hot, or you’re starting to have fevers or chills or night sweats or any of those things, please go see your local doctor that day. And the bacteria that can grow in these can be fairly atypical. So your physician needs to make sure that they’re covering you for atypical bacterial infections.

All right, guys, enjoy your tattoos. And remember number one, make sure you’re looking at a dictionary before they put it on your body.

Dr. Reagan Anderson is a local dermatologist from Colorado Springs.