Eczema and Tattoos, Some doctors don’t recommend getting a tattoo if you suffer from eczema, however, millions of people have done this without a problem.
Every eczema sufferer is different however and it is unknown how you will react. Even years later, eczema flare-ups on that area could change the look of the tattoo.
In this article, we will look at the possible effects of having a tattoo could cause. Eczema and Tattoos are a tricky and very individual topic, so let’s have a look.
The Beginner’s guide to Eczema and Tattoos
Having eczema can naturally rule out some things from your life, but can you get a tattoo?
Normally we talk mostly about babies and children with eczema on Our Eczema Story, so we just want to say – this is not one of those articles!
This article is purely for grown-ups who are considering tattoos.
As always with eczema, everyone suffers from it differently, with different levels of severity. Most people with eczema who have gotten tattooed have had little problems, but this doesn’t mean that your response will be the same.
What does getting a tattoo involve?
When you are tattooed, colored ink is permanently placed within your skin, through a tiny needle. A tattoo is not just ink drawn on the surface but is injected several layers into your skin.
Usually, tattoos are quite safe, but some people have been known to have an allergic response to the dyes.
Very rarely does tattooing cause serious health problems when it is done by a professional. The most important thing you can do is talk to a reputable tattoo artist and stay far away from any amateurs or backyard operations.
Apart from eczema you can also get serious bacterial infections and much worse from unregistered tattoo artists, so always play it safe with this one.
Eczema and Tattoos: What is the medical advice?
Many doctors and dermatologists will advise against people who suffer from eczema getting a tattoo. Some tattoo artists may be reluctant to work on you if you have eczema, so it may be a good idea to chat with one beforehand to help you make up your mind.
Doctors say that having eczema puts you at a higher risk of being allergic to the dye used for applying tattoos. Tattoo artists state that there are a number of color dyes that may cause allergic reactions.
You can overcome this obstacle quite easily however by having a patch test done prior to your permanent tattoo. Through the patch test, a small amount of the dye to be used is injected into your dermis, then this is left for several days to see if an allergic reaction occurs.
However, you could have no reaction to a patch test and still not respond well to the tattoo.
What could happen if someone with eczema gets a tattoo?
In addition to the dye causing an allergic reaction, the process of tattooing can also cause a flare-up. The needle used is heated, and it repeatedly stabs you in the skin, similar to if you were giving yourself a really good scratch. Both the heat and needling are triggers for eczema.
If you have an eczema flare-up while getting a tattoo, the tattoo will take longer to heal.
There are a lot of unknowns with eczema, and you may never in your life stop discovering new triggers for your sensitive skin.
Getting a tattoo basically involves aggravating and heating your skin, as well as putting a foreign substance into it, so all of this could cause your eczema to flare-up.
It is highly unlikely that you will have a long-term reaction to the tattoo, just another case of eczema to get past.
Will this affect the color or speed up fading?
As always with eczema, try not to scratch. If you have a fresh tattoo and an eczema flare-up together definitely resist the urge to scratch. Scratching not only makes your skin angrier, it can make the ink weep and run.
Don’t use topical steroid creams on the area as some people report this can increase tattoo fading. Keep the area moisturized and use a barrier cream to protect it from water and infection.
One of the best products for healing tattoos is good old nappy rash cream, such as Bepanthen.
Tattoos naturally fade and change color with time, but usually, this takes years.
What about on ‘safe’ parts of your body?
It would be better to get a tattoo on a part of your body that isn’t prone to eczema, however, this won’t guarantee you get a temporary flare-up there because of the tattoo.
People often get tattoos to cover scarring. It is very common for people to opt to have a tattoo to cover scarring on their body. According to tattoo artists, tattooing over scarring is not the same as a tattoo on the unmarked skin, and the texture of the scar needs to be taken into consideration.
If you have eczema (or other) scarring that you would like covered up by a design of your choice, this can be done. The scar needs to be worked into the design, however, so discuss your ideas with a tattoo artist first.
What do people with tattoos and eczema have to say?
One eczema sufferer put it beautifully when he said he wanted a tattoo as a way of taking back control of his skin. He couldn’t help the scars on his body from years of eczema and scratching, but he wouldn’t let those scars define him. He would rather use his choice of tattoo to do that.
Most people who have tattoos and suffer from eczema report no problems at all. Some, however, have had reactions, even years after the tattoo was first done. For someone with eczema, your skin could always flare-up and the look of a tattoo might be affected when that happens.
You should always keep the tattooed area well-moisturized and stop it from getting dry we highly recommend Manuka Honey Eczema Cream. A natural moisturizer that is perfect for eczema and sensitive areas. Read all about Manuka Honey in our full review.
To sum up eczema and tattoos
Some doctors don’t recommend getting a tattoo if you suffer from eczema, however, millions of people have done this without a problem.
Every eczema sufferer is different and it is unknown how you will react. Even years later, eczema flare-ups on that area could change the look of the tattoo, either temporarily or permanently.
You should get a patch test first to make sure you are not allergic to the dyes used. Even if you aren’t allergic you may have a flare-up at the site of the tattoo – just take extra care looking after it while it heals and DON’T SCRATCH!
Looking after the area as it heals and long-term should ensure that the look of your tattoo lasts as long as on anyone without sensitive skin.
Always have your tattoo done by a qualified professional tattoo artist who can give you the best care and advice about your skin.
You could always reach out to British Tattoo Artists Federation for more advice.
Good luck and we hope you now have all the information you need to make the correct decision about getting a tattoo if you have eczema.