Dangers of Tattoos Done At Home


Avoid the dangers of a home tattoo and get it done by a professional as pictured.
A tattoo by a Professional

So what kind of dangers are we talking about? Physical/Medical? Psychological? Legal? Yes to all three. There can be situations when any or all of the previously mentioned can happen. Just because you have an acquaintance that spent $40 on a tattoo machine off of the internet doesn’t mean they are qualified to give tattoos. Would you get dental work done by a friend who bought a used dental drill?

When a person gets a home performed tattoo, 99% of the time they are dealing with someone that has no training to be a tattoo artist, no training in the techniques and skills that are involved, no training in health and safety practices regarding before, during and aftercare for a tattoo, and no training with bloodborne pathogens. The dangers are very real with a home tattoo.


One of the biggest dangers involve physiological and medical issues. Most likely, scarring over the tattoo will occur due to lack of skill and poor equipment. If the voltage of the tattoo machine isn’t in concert with hand speed, this is a recipe for dragging or scarring.

Having no knowledge of needle length/depth along with hand pressure can cause blowouts. A blowout is when a person presses too hard or the needle is hanging out too far and you tattoo past the dermis and into the fatty layer of tissue. The ink will not stay in place in that layer and will spread out, looking a lot like a permanent bruise. They’re definitely not pretty to look at, are tricky to cover, and can be very embarrassing.

Now for the very real dangers. Bloodborne pathogens. If a person doesn’t know the proper procedures to follow to insure a clean, safe and sanitary tattoo, they are putting the person they are tattooing, and themselves at real risks. Risks of HIV, hepatitis, blood poisoning, severe infection and so on. There are so many possible complications that can occur, it’s nuts to let someone tattoo you without proper training and in their home.

You might be thinking, “I know Jeff, I’ve known him for years. He’s a pretty clean guy!” Oh? Did you know that Jeff never washes his hands after he uses the bathroom? Or that Jeff had his finger in his nose moments before he shook your hand? You say you may know a person, but you really don’t. Gender isn’t a factor, either. Both men and women are capable of being less clean than you think they are.


Although not a “danger”, low quality is definitely a concern regarding these home jobs. However, they can, and most likely will, lead to regret which would fall into the psychological realm.

Having a low quality, poorly done tattoo can be a huge bummer. It’s nothing to be proud of, you don’t enjoy showing it off, and they can be flat out embarrassing. Unfortunately, quite a few of us have tattoos that can be described this way. They’re most commonly done in our youth, when we don’t know any better. If you are still getting these types of tattoos past your mid 20s, maybe it’s time to make better life choices at this point.

A low quality, home done tattoo can actually make you depressed. It’s permanent markings you put on your skin. Short of covering it up or paying for expensive removal, there’s not much you can logically do to fix it. So yes, it’s depressing. Being stuck with a bad tattoo sucks. It can affect your mood each time you look at it.

A shoddy tattoo not only can look pretty bad, but can get expensive to properly cover. A clean canvas is easier to work on for an artist than a used one, so to speak. Try and avoid Johnny NoTalents aspirations to become a tattoo artists by being his practice space. The industry makes fake skins to work on for a reason.


Besides all that, it’s also a class B misdemeanor for someone to tattoo another person outside a sanctioned and approved tattoo studio. If that person is underage, it becomes an even more serious charge.


The overall dangers of home tattoos are real and just not worth it to save a little money or to let your friend get some practice in. If you want to do your friend a favor, buy him or her some practice skins and advise them to not tattoo on other people until they are fully trained, had lots of practice, and are licensed to do it. It’s the responsible thing to do.


If you’re ready to get your next tattoo done, schedule an appointment with an award-winning tattoo parlor. Here at Lucky Bamboo Tattoo, we have some of the best and most experienced tattoo artists in the Salt Lake City area. We can tattoo any style you’d like, and our artists can even design your next piece as well.

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