Risky business? More people are getting tattoos at home

More people are getting tattoos at home

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Risky business? More people are getting tattoos at home

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

By Stephanie Graham, Bridget Shanahan . CREATED 9:58 AM – UPDATED: 10:05 AM

Chances are you probably know someone with a tattoo: Statistics show one in five adults has one. 

Robin Marquis has plenty!  From head to toe, she loves her tattoos. She inked some herself and also had friends do some for her — all at home. 

"I think having the experience of having a tattoo at home is really awesome," Robin exclaims.

The National Tattoo Association says those ‘at home experiences’ are a growing trend, which gives them growing concerns. 

Sailor Bill Johnson is with the association. He warns, "It’s a trade that needs to be taught and if you’re not taught properly you’re not gonna be doing proper work."

The association says it’s becoming easier to get a tattoo outside a licensed and inspected shop.  Just log online and you’ll find directions on how to tattoo with a sewing needle. There are YouTube videos that even show how to make your own tattoo gun. You can even get complete DIY kits on the web — containing needles, ink, and possibly even an electronic tattoo machine. No experience is necessary.

"Are they clean? Are they keeping things sterile? Are they using the proper procedures? Are they using the proper ink?" Johnson asks.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes complaints about tattoo ink related infections, but doesn’t track how many infections are related specifically to ‘do it yourself tattoos’.  However, a report of an infection from contaminated ink sparked a recent recall of some online kits.  Using equipment that’s not sterilized can be dangerous, especially to people with compromised immune systems.  Infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja warns, "If the infection spreads systemically into the bloodstream it could become a life threatening situation. It could also threaten the limb if the infection is very deep-seated in the soft tissue."Dr. Adalja adds that with any tattoo you need to know there are risks involved. "You’re breaching your skin, you’re breaching a […]

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