Most People With Tattoos Don't Get Proper Care Instructions

Many People With Tattoos Don’t Get Proper After Care Instructions

Most People With Tattoos Don't Get Proper Care Instructions

mr_Prof via Getty Images People who get tattoos need better instructions on how to properly care for their skin afterward, and most states need stronger guidelines for tattoo artists about this topic, a new opinion paper suggests.

Only seven states in the U.S. — Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Dakota — have strong policies, requiring that licensed tattoo artists provide customers with instructions on tattoo "aftercare" that has received prior approval from state public health officials, the skin care experts wrote. Such instructions can prevent skin infections after a person gets inked, according to the paper, published online today (Nov. 4) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology.

Dermatologists are caring for an increasing number of people who come to them with skin infections after getting a tattoo, said Dr. Jared Jagdeo, a dermatologist at the University of California, Davis Health System in Sacramento and a co-author of the paper. There is a need for better information on the topic for the general public as well as the doctors who treat them, he said.

Whether they are visible on the body or concealed with clothing, tattoos have become increasingly popular. At least 21 percent of Americans have one or more tattoos, according to the paper.

However, because obtaining this body art involves sharp instruments that puncture the skin and release blood, the skin may become infected if the procedures are not done safely.

Surveys of people in the U.S. who have recently gotten a new tattoo have found that about 3 percent of them developed a skin infection from it, and about 4 percent of people had at least one short-term complication, such as pain, infection or itching .

"Actual skin-infection rates from tattoos may be higher," Jagdeo told Live Science. And there may be regional differences in infection rates, he noted. Larger studies are needed to understand what problems may be cropping up, he said.

Post-tattoo care

Currently, regulations for tattoo parlors are […]