Understand Risks of Tattooing & Precautions

Of course there are risks with tattooing and there may also be risks after the tattoo has been done. Tattoos might be more common than ever, but don’t take the risks lightly. Understand basic safety precautions and the tattoo aftercare.

Penetration of The Skin

For a tattoo to have a lasting effect, you need to penetrate the protective part of the skin, the outermost layer. Doing so can lead to infection, or to an allergic reaction without being aware that you are allergic. 

However, there are precautions you can take. The tattooist can use disposable items and you can also make sure that all equipment is sterilised. This should be done after each use.

There are now several countries that require tattooists to be trained in the bloodborne pathogens that can occur during tattooing. This is a risk when penetrating the skin with the tattoo needle. 

It may therefore be wise to have a health check first, in order to assess the risks of tattooing. Inks used by tattooists can cause unforeseen health problems.

Blood Disorders

Infections that could theoretically be transmitted via non-sterile tattooing equipment or with a contaminated ink are: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV. There is no official report stating that HIV infection was transmitted via the tattooing process.

There may also be a risk of tetanus. Today, it is standard practice in the EU to take tetanus shots. If you want to get a tattoo then you should make sure you are up to date with it.


If you have a lot of black in your tattoo, there is a risk that you will have problems with an X-ray, for example. This is because the black tattoo ink can often contain an iron oxide, which gets heated up during an X-ray treatment. 

However, it is very rare to get such damage during an X-ray. A tattoo is not a reason not to have an X-ray treatment.

Other Risks of Tattooing

There are also other documented risks of tattooing and tattoo pigments, such as cancer, hyperplasia, tumours or vasculitis. 

There may also be a risk of keratoacanthoma, which is a fast-growing dome tumour that grows on the skin. If you are affected by this, the entire affected area will have to be removed. 

There are also risks with tattooing that lymph nodes attract pigment and they can cause inflammation to occur. There are always risks with tattooing, even if it is done correctly.

There is always a risk that diseases can be transmitted from one patient to another. Tattooists using the same instruments, must not forget to sterilize the equipment between each client. 

As this can cause a person who tattoos, to get a disease from another person. Today, however, there is very little risk of this happening, if you choose to go to a modern tattooist. 

They are usually aware of the risks of tattooing and they also use disposable products, which is of course a matter of course with us. Do not forget to consult with your tattoo artist for the best tattoo aftercare tips.