Can Getting a Tattoo Put You at Risk for Infection?

Some of the common questions asked on my foundation page are about tattoos.  Questions like "How safe are they"?  "Can you get hepatitis c from getting a tattoo"?

With the rise of at-home tattoo parties,  we are seeing an increase in the misuse of ink at these parties.  Since hep c is a blood-to-blood transferred disease, it is possible to contract hep c through getting a tattoo IF the proper safety precautions are not implemented.

Dangers of not getting a tattoo at a shop

I had a friend invited to one of these "parties" with the sole purpose of seeing firsthand how and what these were. I would like to note that my friend is a hep c advocate with my foundation.

Typically at this kind of party, you have a friend who is a tattoo artist, and they come to do a group setting of quick one-color jobs.  This particular party that I attended was a bachelorette party, and all of the bridesmaids were getting small heart-like designs on the ankle/foot area. 

The artist brought out his box of tattoo needles, all of which were in sealed bags showing the sterilization label on them.  All appeared to be a good thing.

Tattoo cross-contamination

Everything seemed to be ok up until she noticed that the tattoo artist was using the same ink container from the first lady on the second lady, which means it was possibly contaminated from the previously tattooed person. Even though this artist was using new needles each time, the ink was not new per each client.

Situations like this are how the spread of infectious diseases such as hepatitis c starts.  All the precautions with the needle did not mean anything because the ink was reused again and again. 

When it came to my friend's turn, she backed out of participating.  My friend was approximately the 6th person in line to get a tattoo.

Upon doing this, when the artist was cleaning up to leave, she pulled him aside and explained what she had witnessed, and he sternly said that was not an issue. 

Being the hep c advocate that she is, my friend spoke up and said to the artist that someone could bleed during tattoos and by dipping back into the ink, you are contaminating it. Nothing else was said between my friend and the artist.

This is a serious issue, friend. If you don’t get or request new ink on getting your tattoo, you could be putting your health at risk and possible infection with many diseases.

Be safe. Buy your own bottle if you plan on getting multiple tattoos.  This can be used only on you, or you can request to be shown a new bottle being opened before your tattoo begins.

You can’t be over-cautious when it comes to certain risk factors. It is up to only you to watch out for your health.

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