Does Tattoo Cause Cancer
Credit: smithsonianmag

Tattooing is considered a part of fashion; we see tattoos of different colors and designs on the bodies of many actors, sportspeople, celebrities, and businessmen. Many people think of the health hazards before getting a tattoo. Here, we will discuss whether tattoos cause Cancer and the health risks of tattooing.

How Does a Tattoo Work?

A tattoo machine is used to do a tattoo. The device contains a group of needles, and ink is inserted into the skin. TattoosTattoos are mainly permanent designs or images on your body, which are done deep into the skin to make them permanent. The needle is pierced into the skin at almost 3,000 pricks per minute speed for insert color. 

The tattoo ink is deposited in the dermis, an inner layer of our skin. The needle has to price three layers before it deposits the ink: the epidermis, epidermal-dermal junction, and papillary layer. After penetrating the layers, the ink permanently sets into the dermis. 

When the tattoo ink is inserted into the body, the body’s defense system recognizes it as a foreign particle. The macrophage starts working by trying to ingest the ink. But they fail. As a result, the ink is not disposed from the skin and is trapped there permanently. For this reason, when you get a tattoo, you must keep it for a lifetime.

What happens during the time of tattooing to your skin?

When you go to a tattoo shop to get a tattoo, you will feel some changes in your skin. As the skin is pierced, the body reacts by causing inflammation in the tattoo site. Here are some of the symptoms you will face:


The first thing you will notice is that your skin will turn red. This occurs due to microscopic bleeding into the skin. The blood flow increases. Minor bleeding may be visible for some people, but the skin will turn red for every person.


You will feel pain while the tattoo needles pierce your skin. The free nerve endings of the skin will send the signals to the brain, which will cause you pain.

Swallowing of the Skin:

When a part of the body is injured or damaged, it swallows automatically. This is a primary sequel of inflammation. 

Allergic reaction:

If a person is allergic to tattoo ink, he will face an allergic reaction immediately after the procedure has been started. So, before starting the [process, a proper allergy history should be taken. 

Loss Of Function:

Sometimes, in some rare cases, tattoo needles do permanent damage to the nerve endings. As a result, you can lose the permanent sensation of your skin. 

Does Tattoo Cause Cancer?

No, the tattoo doesn’t have any direct link with cancer. However, some researchers have claimed that tattooing can be the cause of cancer in some cases. 

Tattoo ink consists of many components. Some manufacturers use polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carcinogens, in the tattoo ink. A carcinogen is a component that can cause cancer in your body. 

While you do tattoos from some unrecognized and low-quality shop, they may use low-quality materials. Macrophages can’t destroy the tattoo ink, so if the tattoo carries carcinogens, it will not be destroyed by our body’s defense mechanism.

The carcinogen will travel through the blood or the lymphatic system in different organs, with a potential risk of causing cancer. So, before getting a tattoo, get proper information on the materials used. 

What are the health risks of tattoos?


If the instruments and your skin are not sterilized properly, infections can occur in your skin. So, before making any tissue, maintain all the health hygiene.

Allergic Reaction:

Allergic Reactions are very common while doing a tattoo. If you have an allergic reaction to tattoo ink, try avoiding it.

Skin Problems:

Tattoos can cause many skin problems like psoriasis or eczema. You should always consult a dermatologist if you have any previous history of skin disease before doing a tattoo.

Permanent Skin Scar:

Inappropriate use of tattoo needles can develop permanent scars on your skin. Always get tattoos from experienced people to avoid any post complications.

MRI Complications:

If you have any tattoos on your body, you should be cautious before taking an MRI. Tattoo ink can include metallic compounds, which will be hazardous while doing MRI.

Blood Borne Disease:

There are high risks of contamination of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis, HIV, etc from tattoo needles. For that, sterilized instruments should be used for the procedure.

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cause Cancer?

No, removing tattoos with a laser doesn’t cause cancer. but, it can affect your skin. After laser treatment, the skin becomes more photosensitive. As a result, direct sunlight causes damage to the skin.

It is not obvious to have skin damage after laser tattoo removal. you can take some measures to decrease the risks like:

  1. Using suncream while exposed to direct sunlight.
  2.  Take regular care of your skin according to a skincare expert.
  3. Use moisturizers to avoid the dryness of the skin.
  4.  Visit your dermatologist if you find any problem in your skin.

Final Words:

Tattooing has become a common trend to the young generation nowadays. There is not a huge adverse effect of the process in a large community, but you face many problems after getting a tattoo for your unconsciousness. So, before doing a tattoo, regulate the hygiene of instruments, do it from a trained person, and take proper care of the skin. This will reduce the health risks a lot.


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