Costhetics is talking about tattoo regret today, and not the kind you might immediately think of.

It’s one thing to be sorry you have a tattoo across with your body with an ex-partner’s name on it. That kind of tattoo regret can be remedied as Johnny Depp explained in a 1993 interview with Australia Tonight. He changed Winona Forever to Wino Forever when he split with his actress girlfriend.

There’s another kind of tattoo regret people are discussing now, one that is related to physical health, not emotions. As a result of research from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Union has voted to ban twenty-five specific pigments and more than 4,000 chemicals used in popular tattoo inks.

If you have a tattoo or are considering getting inked, this is information you shouldn’t be without.

Australia Is Tops in Tattoos

In past centuries, tattoos were primarily found on the arms and chests of seafaring men. Today, you can find tattoos on a growing number of diverse individuals:

  • 8% of Germans
  • 14% of French
  • 17% of Americans
  • 20% of Australians

61% of inked Aussies have multiple tattoos, with 14% sporting more than six! It is interesting to note, however:

  • 31% of Australians regret their tattoo.
  • 10% have looked into tattoo removal.

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

Do Imported Tattoo Inks Pose a Danger?

Tattoo inks are not made in Australia. They are imported but remain unregulated despite the fact that “evidence does show that some tattoo inks contain carcinogens” (source: cancer.org.au). Specifically, there is a concern about a group of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These proven carcinogenic chemicals were found in 83% of the black inks tested and in more than 20% of the other inks.

Other non-compliant substances found in Australian tattoo inks include:

  • Amines
  • Barium
  • Copper
  • Mercury

The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme in Australia tested 49 unique inks and found only four complied with the newly established European standards. Experts also fear certain pigments – particularly red, orange and yellow – may:

  • Harm DNA
  • Disrupt the reproductive system
  • Cause inflammatory and chronic skin reactions

4 Things to Do If You Want a Tattoo

Costhetics knows that nothing is more beautiful than good health. Therefore, when it comes to tattoos, we won’t say Don’t do it. What we will say is Do it right. What does that mean? It means:

  • Do your research into a tattoo artist’s training, experience, and reviews.
  • Ask about the inks being used and whether they comply with ResAP(2008)1, the European standard for colours.
  • Do not get a tattoo over or around a mole as it may obscure skin changes and make it difficult to diagnose skin cancer quickly and accurately.

The good news is that it is unusual for skin cancers to develop in tattooed skin. The bad news is that the carcinogens from certain inks can migrate and have been associated with liver and bladder cancer. Therefore, the best advice Costhetics can offer is this:

  • Monitor your skin health with a dermatologist, and body health with your doctor.

5 Things You Should Do After You Tattoo

A tattoo is actually a wound. First it will heal, then it will scab, and finally, the scabs will flake off. Though it may be itchy, don’t scratch! That can lead to scarring. You should also:

  • Remove your bandage the morning after your session
  • Wash the tattoo gently with a mild soap (Don’t rub!)
  • Apply a moisturising ointment recommended by your tattooist
  • Don’t swim or soak in water for at least 3 weeks
  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible

Costhetics wants you to stay beautiful… with or without a tattoo.

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