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Do Tattoos Cause Skin Cancer?

Do Tattoos Cause Skin Cancer?

When it comes to tattoos and piercings, you come across a lot of rumors, some of which are true while others aren't! Do tattoos cause skin cancer? Read ahead to find out how much water this one holds...
Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Memories of getting inked for the first time may seem as fond as the memory of first love for those who have a penchant for body art! That mixed feeling of excitement and apprehension which accompanied your first ever visit to a tattoo parlor.... the needle waltzing upon your skin, leaving behind colorful traces of an intricate design.... the tattoo gun humming almost inaudibly as it trails those elegant lines that will mark your skin for the rest of your life..... the experience of getting tattooed for the first time is something which only a person who has one can fully fathom! That brings us to a lot of rumors - some facts while others pure fiction - which cause a lot of people to frown upon the practice of getting inked.

Most of these rumors are rooted in medical speculations while a lot of these arise out of health concerns and a lack of complete understanding of the interaction of tattoo ink, needle and the skin upon which the masterpiece is created. Do tattoos cause skin cancer? Well, that's a pretty strong rumor that plagues a lot of people who are eager to get a dermal motif but feel unsure due to the grave proportions of this speculated consequence. Let's see how true this is.

Tattoos and Skin Cancer

To tell you the straight truth, getting a tattoo cannot and does not directly make you susceptible to skin cancer. There is no scientific evidence to support any claim that the tattoo ink or the tattooing process itself can, in any way, directly give you skin cancer. However, depending upon your overall genetic makeup, the ink, which is a foreign substance, might, in some way, be responsible for giving you some kind of cancer as the immune system sets to fight it off, thereby misfiring at its own defense system at times. If this is the case then you can have just about any kind of cancer, not skin cancer alone! However, this is a rare possibility, with the high amount of care and consideration given to the matter of hygiene and ink quality.

However, a tattoo can make a cancerous growth on the skin go unnoticed and, thereby, encourage its growth (due to absence of combative action in the initial stages of growth), by making it less visible. This is especially possible if the tattoo covers a large area and is mostly dark shaded, then the dark markings hide the abnormal dermal developments and often, the itching or other irritation may be attributed to the after effects of getting a tattoo, especially if the growth starts appearing close on the heels of getting the tattoo made. Tattoos can cause a few skin problems such as peeling, tattoo getting infected, formation of rash, itching, etc. but no one has ever got skin cancer from getting inked!

So, do tattoos cause skin cancer? Well, not directly, but they can trick you into ignoring any abnormal dermal development by making it obscure. It is, therefore, necessary to be alert to any kind of off feeling on your skin - be it the way it feels on touching or be it any kind of irritation, unprecedented dryness or any other irregularity in texture or sensation - to be able to detect a cancerous growth early to tackle it more effectively. You should be especially alert to these signs if they occur on the sight of a tattoo as the motif makes its detection all the more difficult.

Make sure you follow all the aftercare procedures to keep your inked skin in proper condition so that you do not develop any kind of adverse skin problem that can both ruin the view as well as give you a dermal nightmare! Also, proper hygiene should be maintained both at the time of getting the tattoo made as well as after it is made to avoid your tattoo from getting infected. Take extra care of the tattooed patch of your skin so that your tattoo is visible in all its glory to admiring onlookers!