Consumer Reports: Safer Tattoos
September 26, 2012 -- More than one in five adults in the U.S. has a tattoo. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp have lots of them, but recent outbreaks of tattoo-related infections are cause for concern.
Consumer Reports' medical experts have important safety advice.<p David Beckham boldly flaunts his tattoos in an H&M commercial, and fan websites for celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rihanna are totally devoted to the singers' tattoos and what they mean. <p Big or small, tattoos are now mainstream. <p "These days everybody comes in to get tattooed. I tattooed a hedge fund manager a while ago," said Daredevil Tattoos' Michelle Myles. <p But getting a tattoo does pose health risks. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a report on tattoo-related skin infections in several states caused by contaminated ink. <p Consumer Reports' Medical Adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur says concerns go beyond skin infections. <p "In many areas tattoo shops are completely unregulated so infection prevention practices can vary, that creates a risk for HIV and hepatitis," Dr. Avitzur said. <p But there are ways you can reduce your risks. <p "I'm surprised by how many patients tell me they were intoxicated when they got their tattoos. So it's important to keep a clear head. Never drink before you ink," said Dr. Avitzur. <p And Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" video showcases another don't: homemade tattoos. Instead, find an experienced tattoo artist. And check that the artist uses individually packaged single-use kits with disposable needles and tubes and wears sterile, disposable gloves. <p And remember, tattoos aren't easily removed. <p "You don't want to be stuck with something that's really ugly or that down the line you're going to regret," said Myles. <p Consumer Reports says be aware there are no standard regulations for training or licensing tattoo artists. And it advises if you see any sign of a rash or infection, consult a doctor.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2008. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.
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