As of today, tattoos have made their way onto the skin of 20 percent of Americans. Yet, as more people proffer their arms or legs as canvases, various dermatological ailments are starting to arise. A new study warns that there’s been a surge of chronic skin conditions, including rashes, infections and severe itching or swelling that have lasted months and sometimes years.

"It is not yet known if the reactions being observed are due to chemicals in the ink itself or to other chemicals, such as preservatives or brighteners, added to them, or to the chemicals' breakdown over time,” said senior investigator Dr. Marie Leger, an assistant professor in the dermatology department at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City in a news release. The lack of a national database or reporting requirements also hinders reliable monitoring," Leger said.

For the study researchers analyzed survey results from around 300 New York City adults, aged 18 to 69, with tattoos. Most of the survey participants less than five tattoos. According the researchers, up to 6 percent of the study participants experienced some form of tattoo-related rash, infection, severe itching or swelling that sometimes lasted longer than four months. For some the problems persisted more than a year.

People could also be having reactions to preservatives or brighteners added to the inks, Leger adds. While some of the conditions may be treated with anti-inflammatory steroid drugs, others require laser surgery. Have you experienced any issues after getting a tattoo? Does this study make you think twice about getting one in the future? Sound off in the comments.



HealthDay: Tattoos May Pose Health Risks, Researchers Report