Piercings and tattoos are body decorations that go back to ancient times. Body piercing involves making a hole in the skin so that you can insert jewelry. This is often in the earlobe, but can be in other parts of the body. Tattoos are designs on the skin made with needles and colored ink. A permanent tattoo is meant to last forever. Permanent makeup is a type of tattoo.
The health risks of piercings and tattoos include
- Allergic reactions
- Keloids, a type of scar that forms during healing
- Infections, such as hepatitis
To reduce the risks, make sure that the facility is clean, safe and has a good reputation. Proper sterilization of the equipment is important. Be sure to follow the instructions on caring for your skin.
Holes from piercing usually close up if you no longer wear the jewelry. It is possible to remove tattoos, but it's painful and can cause scarring.
- A Fatal Fad? Tongue Studs Cause More Problems Than Chipped Teeth (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Temporary Tattoos and Henna/Mehndi (Food and Drug Administration)
- What Is an Oral Piercing? (Academy of General Dentistry)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Tattooing (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Fashion for a reason: Oral jewellery to aid forensic odontology.
- Article: On the association between oral piercings and periodontal conditions-A case series.
- Article: Is there a risk of transfusion-transmissible infections after percutaneous needle treatments in...
- Piercing and Tattoos -- see more articles
- Tattoos -- see more articles
- Avoiding Infection After Ear Piercing (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Tattoos and Piercing (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
- What Kids Should Know about How Piercings and Tattooing Work (American Academy of Dermatology)