HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- She may be the love of your life, destined to be your wife forever. But do you really want to tattoo your girlfriend's name onto your body?
While there are numerous tales of break-ups after such tattoos, there are other things to think about - whether you're a male or female - whenever getting any type of tattoo. Most importantly, consider the potential health risks, and how to minimalize them.
According to Christine Cabell, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery (PAD), while tattoos can be meaningful and beautiful to the recipient, they should be done in a safe environment. But, in a state like Pennsylvania that does not require the tattoo industry to regulated or tattoo artists to be licensed, the risk level may be of concern.
"Outside of the fact that it's illegal to perform body art on someone under 18 without parental consent, Pennsylvania really has no laws to protect citizens who could be walking into a dirty shop," he said. "Other industries like food, health care, hairdressers, and nail salons have state regulations and inspections to address issues related to basic standards of safety, but tattoo shops are not regulated for safety in our state."
According to Dr. Cabell, a tattoo is a permanent mark on your skin. Typically the artist creates the tattoo with a hand-held machine that allows one or more needles to pierce the skin and deposit a dye.
Karen Rizzo, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), says that's where a health problem can start. She cites potential risks including serious skin infections, persistent allergic reactions, and bloodborne diseases including hepatitis and HIV.
"It's really important to carefully check out a tattoo studio and how they conduct their business before you get a tattoo," she says. "The majority of shops are likely trustworthy, but others may not practice the best or any sanitation methods."
For medical organizations like PAD and PAMED, that's a concern. They much rather have Pennsylvanians be safe and avoid a trip to see a physician.
During the last legislative session in Pennsylvania, both groups along with others were able to move a bill through the House of Representatives. The bill, HB 1249, overwhelmingly passed 181-16, and would have required body art businesses to be licensed and regulated. Unfortunately, the legislative session ended before the Senate could act.
Both organizations say the issue isn't going away, and they're sure it will resurface in the current session.
However, until the industry is regulated and businesses inspected, PAD and PAMED has suggestions for those thinking about getting a tattoo. When checking out a tattoo studio, the organizations recommend the following:
* Find out if the tattoo artists wash their hands and wear fresh disposable gloves for each procedure.
* Check to see if the tattoo artists remove needles and tubes from sealed packages before new procedures.
* Be sure nondisposable equipment is cleaned between customers. A heat sterilization machine should be used. Also, are tables, sinks, and other parts of the studio disinfected after each use?
"For your safety, you want to make sure you're going to a studio that is practicing with customer safety in mind," says Dr. Cabell. "You don't want to leave the studio with a tattoo and hepatitis."
If you do develop a health issue, says Dr. Rizzo, see your health care team immediately.
"We much rather see you enjoy your tattoo than see you in our exam rooms," she says. "But unfortunate things do happen and a visit to a dirty tattoo shop could be a mistake that you regret."
This news release is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Health News Service Project, consisting of 20 Pennsylvania-based medical and specialty associations and societies. Members of PHNS include Pennsylvania Allergy & Asthma Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology, Pennsylvania Academy of Otolaryngology, Pennsylvania American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Medical Society Alliance, Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society, Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesiologists, Pennsylvania Society of Gastroenterology, Pennsylvania Society of Oncology & Hematology, Robert H. Ivy Society of Plastic Surgeons, and Urological Association of Pennsylvania. Inquiries about PHNS can be directed to Chuck Moran via the Pennsylvania Medical Society at (717) 558-7820, [email protected], or via Twitter @ChuckMoran7.
This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit http://www.newswise.com.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Medical Society