It is important to know how tattoos affect your health in order to make a good decision in such a case that you will ever consider getting a tattoo. And if you already have a tattoo then you should know how to take care of your health in those cases.

Let’s start by saying that getting a tattoo means that the artist pierces the skin with needles full of dyes at a rate of 3,000 times per minute. This dye is injected into the dermal layer of the skin that is where the sweat glands are located.

Now that we know this procedure we can continue by analyzing what happens with that ink now that it’s inside the body.

Tattoos affect your health and lymphatic nodes

The ink that is used at the time of making the tattoos contains certain toxic particles that penetrate the skin and travel throughout the body which can have various consequences for our health over time.

Using x-rays and fluorescent technology we can trace the particles of titanium dioxide, which is a compound found in the pigments used for tattoos.

It was found that this compound reached the lymph nodes which makes sense since the lymph nodes are responsible for removing toxins and impurities that can be found in the body.

When these nodes were analyzed in people who had tattoos for a long time, it was discovered that they were pigmented and inflamed.

Now, I must clarify that the amount of these particles found in the nodes are less than 100 nanometers in diameter which seems too small but it’s still very significant considering that in that size those particles can have different behaviors and can affect the body in different ways.

Even more, the same compound of titanium dioxide is related to delayed healing, elevated skin, and itching. Apart from that, it is not the only compound found in the lymph nodes.

These nano-compounds are spread throughout the body and are accumulating. Since the follow-up has not yet been done, we don’t know the details of its effects over time, it is only known that it’s something that we must analyze considering that it is a toxic chemical compound stored in various parts of the body.

Nor can we know if it has any connection with chronic diseases such as cancer because those are diseases that appear over the years or decades.

It is also worrisome that several of the ingredients used for tattoo ink has never been approved to be injected directly into the skin and there is not enough research to explain the famous side effects of a tattoo. For example, allergies and the formation of granulomas. These most likely can be immediate consequences of these toxins that are then stored in the body.

This is a phrase that summarizes the usefulness of tattoos:

Tattoos are decorative, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes embarrassing, but always harmful.

 

Tattoos affect your health and sweat glands

When the pigments reach the dermal layer, our body is alerted and knows that it is an abnormal substance that enters by force. As a response, our immune system sends a variety of cells to that area.

Some of these cells are responsible for transporting part of the pigments to the lymph glands to be able to eliminate them although we saw that this does not go very well because the amounts are so high that the glands become inflamed.

Other immune cells are mixed with the residues of the ink in such a way that they are accumulated in certain areas of the skin. Other cells respond by generating inflammation to help repair damaged tissue which usually recovers in a few weeks.

We already saw that the lymphatic glands become inflamed but what about the sweat glands? or what about the physiology of the affected epidermis and dermis?

It has been found that the skin of a person with a tattoo produces less than half of sweat compared to the area where there is no tattoo. Not only that, but the composition of the sweat is different.

The sweat of the tattooed area contains twice as much sodium as the sweat of the area without a tattoo. This has been found in both recent and old tattoos.

I wrote this article for the purpose of clarifying a little bit what we know about how tattoos can affect your health. It’s clear that we don’t know much and yet many choose to get a tattoo even when there’s no benefit from doing that. Actually, there are many concerns about how tattoos may be affecting health.

This is something that is being taken into account for high-performance athletes due to the problems with the sweat glands. I recommend you to also consider these things before making a decision.

So far I have not mentioned the point of view of natural medicine which is blunt with this issue saying that tattoos directly damage our purifying organ (the skin) therefore it affects our digestive system because when our body is not able to effectively expel the toxins through the skin then it store those toxins inside damaging internal organs in a chronic way.

My recommendation is to not get tattoos because rationally it is not wise when you compare the advantages (null) and disadvantages in our health even if the disadvantages are minimal. But as always, I only provide the information I have so you should analyze them with your own criteria.

I have also found other data about this topic but I will be adding them to new publications. If you want to know when I publish more on this topic then register for the newsletter by [clicking here].

Finally, don’t forget to Stay Healthy and to Subscribe.

See you in the next post. Tschüss!

 

Sources

  • This Might Make You Rethink Getting a Tattoo | Amanda Macmillan | 2017.09.13 | Health.com | [Link]
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  • A medical-toxicological view of tattooing | The Lancet Volume 387, Issue 10016, 23–29 January 2016, Pages 395-402 | [Link]
  • At the dark end of the rainbow: data gaps in tattoo toxicology | Schreiver, I. & Luch, A. Arch Toxicol (2016) 90: 1763 | [Link]
  • Tattoo Pigments are Cleaved by Laser Light—The Chemical Analysis In Vitro Provide Evidence for Hazardous Compounds | Photochemistry and Photobiology 80(2):185-190. 2004 | [Link]
  • Tattoo inks in general usage contain nanoparticles | British Journal of Dermatology, 165: 1210-1218. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10561.x | [Link]
  • Sarcoid granuloma on black tattoo | Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , Volume 55 , Issue 5 , S71 – S73 | [Link]
  • Natural responses to unnatural materials: A molecular mechanism for foreign body reactions | Molecular Medicine. 1999;5(6):351-358 | [Link]
  • How Tattoos Might Affect Your Workout | Gretchen Reynolds | 2017.07.26 | [Link]
  • Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Na+ Concentration | Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jul;49(7):1432-1436 | [Link]