A tattoo is created by injecting ink hundreds of thousands of times into your skin through a needle. During this process you might experience an allergic reaction. Allergies to tattoos are possible. Sometimes your skin and body can react to stuff that isn’t supposed to be there, like a tattoo, and want to reject it.
Tattoo allergies are often caused by ingredients used in tattoo inks, such as pigments, dyes, or metallic substances. Some ingredients that can cause reactions are: aluminum, aminoazobenzene, brazilwood, cadmium sulfide, carbon, chromix oxide, cobalt aluminate, cobalt chloride, ferric hydrate, ferric oxide, iron oxide, lead chromate, manganese, mercury sulfide, phthalocyanine dyes, titanium oxide, and zinc oxide. In the past, before the FDA stepped in and started to regulate more, metals were much more common in inks and could cause allergic reactions easily. This isn’t as common any more, however there is still a chance you can get an allergic reaction. Although it is quite rare that we see any reactions these days.
The important thing to remember is that your skin is going to react when you get a tattoo no matter if you have allergies or not. That is normal and expected. A tattoo is trauma to your skin and you should know the signs of what is normal and what could be an allergic reaction. A normal reaction is going to be some redness, a little soreness, some clear leaking fluid and potentially some red bumps around the bandage. These are normal and should disappear quickly.
What could be a a mild allergic reaction is itching, rashes or bumps on the tattoo, redness and irritation, skin flaking, scaly skin on the tattooed area, nodules developing on the tattooed area, and swelling with fluid. A more severe reaction can include intense itching or burning, pus or excessive draining around the tattoo, hard bumpy tissue forming, chills, hot flashes, and fever.
If your symptoms are mild you can usually treat with over the counter medications. In severe cases you should contact a medical professional. In any case, with any concerns you should reach out to your artist and explain your symptoms and see what advice they can give to you.
The way to ensure you have a good tattoo experience is to find out if you have any common allergies and how you react to them. Find out if you have any other underlying skin conditions that can cause a reaction. Do your research and find a clean and reputable shop. Ask and explain your concerns and see what the artist recommends to make sure that you are getting the best and safest tattoo. It all comes down to research and knowledge that only you can do yourself to be safe and get the tattoo that you want.