Checking Up – The dangers, stigma surrounding tattoos

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

We are what we consume, and everything we come into contact with has the potential to affect our health. When we put on lotion, our skin is hydrated. When we consume grease, we feel sluggish. Our habits and recreational activities may also affect our long-term health. Smoking is bad for you, but people smoke anyway.

There are, however, things we expose our bodies to that have been deemed unhealthy by society when in reality, they might actually benefit you. For example, excessive use of tanning beds can cause cancer, but a healthy amount of vitamin D helps regulate mood.

Tattooing, a more taboo subject, has been stigmatized and categorized as unhealthy. Tattoos are a form of body modification in which ink is inserted into the dermis layer of the skin. This insertion of ink alters the skin’s pigment permanently. While there are certain health risks associated with tattooing, there are also personal benefits that come along with this type of modification.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, getting a tattoo comes with risks such as infection, allergic reaction, blood borne disease and other skin problems. Problems are likely but can be minimized by receiving the tattoo in a reliable and sterile environment.

Taking into consideration the physical risks of a tattoo, it is understandable why some people avoid them. Approaching the choice to get a tattoo from an informed standpoint can help people understand why some opt for tattoos.

The earliest evidence of tattoos is 2000 B.C., and they have served throughout history as symbols of status, love, religious beliefs and even forms of punishment, according to the article  “Tattoos: The ancient and mysterious history” on Smithsonian Magazine’s website.

While all these tattoos may have represented different things, they had one thing in common: They were signals of personal identity. Today, tattoos represent beliefs and values as well as decoration.

Permanent modification of your skin is profound. It is symbolic of something so important to people that they are willing to undergo physical discomfort just to be able to carry it with them always.

Regardless of the health risks, people will get tattoos. If you decide to get a tattoo, take some things into consideration: Make sure you are receiving the tattoo in a clean place, make sure the needle and ink are sterile, choose a tattoo shop that upholds specific health codes for safety purposes, and follow up with the tattoo shop to make sure the tattoo is still healing appropriately.