• A tattoo is a permanent design using coloured ink pigment punctured deep into the skin. In the long term the colours can fade or the tattoo may change shape if you put on or lose weight.
  • It is illegal to get a tattoo if you are under 18
  • Tattoos must be performed by professional tattooists under totally hygienic conditions.
  • Before you get tattooed, remember that removal involves laser treatment or dermabrasion or vapourisation and all of these are expensive and NOT available on the NHS
  • Talk to the tattooist about what design you want and where you want it then go away and think about
  • To avoid the risk of infections like tetanus hepatitis or even HIV, be sure the tattooist uses a new needle and tube from a sealed packet, and that the ink is in disposable pots.
  • Always follow the tattooist’s advice about after care.

Risks of tattoos
Whilst a tattoo is being performed it can cause bleeding and pain however there are other risks to think about. Remember the skin is the main protective barrier of your body and the process of tattooing interferes with that barrier.

  • Blood-borne diseases. If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with the blood of an infected person, you can contract a number of serious blood-borne diseases. These include hepatitis C, hepatitis B, tetanus, tuberculosis and HIV — the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Skin disorders. Your body may form bumps called granulomas around tattoo ink, especially if your tattoo includes red ink. Tattooing can also cause areas of raised, excessive scarring (keloids), if you’re prone to them.
  • Skin infections. Tattoos can lead to local bacterial infections. Typical signs and symptoms of an infection include redness, warmth, swelling and a pus-like drainage.
  • Allergic reactions. Tattoo dyes, particularly red dye, can cause allergic skin reactions, resulting in an itchy rash at the tattoo site. This may occur even years after you get the tattoo.

Tattoo after care

  • Remove the bandage after 4 to 12 hours. (Depending upon the size and location of the tattoo).
  • Do not re-bandage.
  • Wash your tattoo with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Gently pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment.
  • Use the ointment during the first two days, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Make sure your hands are clean before touching your tattoo.
  • After the first two days, apply a thin layer of fragrance free moisturizing lotion. Apply it 3 to 4 times daily for the next 2 to 3 weeks.
  • The normal healing time is 2 to 4 weeks. Do NOT pick or scratch your tattoo. Flaking or peeling is a natural part of the healing process. Do not soak your tattoo during healing. That means no baths, hot tubs, pools, etc.
  • Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight while it’s healing.
  • After your tattoo is healed, always use sun block while in the sun, preferably 30 to 45 SPF.


The King's School 2008