Can Tattoos Cause Skin Cancer?

Tattoos are known as fashion statements worldwide. A lot of people gets themselves tattooed where a few needles are used to draw a design on the skin by using inks. But it has been also claimed that this ink can cause a lot of problems and even skin cancer, thus many people prefer to stay away from such body arts. However, there are some controversies as to whether tattoos cause skin cancer or not. Here are some viewpoints which might help you in understanding the issue better.

can tattoos cause skin cancer

Can your Tattoos give you Skin Cancer?

It may be noted that there are no direct link between tattoos and skin cancer. However, there are certain problems with tattoo inks that you should be aware of.

  • Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist is of the opinion that tattoos do not cause cancer. He confirms that the ink used in the tattoos stay in the skin cells where they are used and do not spill to blood or elsewhere, thereby causing cancer.
  • However, there may be some carcinogenic elements found in the ink that is used for tattooing. According to Public Health England there are substances like cobalt and mercury in some inks which is harmful for human skin. Moreover, the risk of skin cancer from tattoos increase if the tattoo is done on a mole or a birthmark.
  • If a tattoo is drawn using non sterile ink then that can lead to diseases like Hepatitis B which in turn can increase the chances of cancer in a human body. It can also lead to HIV which is again linked to increased risk of some types of cancer.
  • Indirectly, if a person has dark tattoos that make it difficult for doctors to diagnose if the person has cancerous skin infections like melanoma. However, it does not mean that the tattoos will lead to such skin diseases. There can be localized skin infections though.
  • However, it is very important that you take some precautions if you choose to get tattoos. For example, you must get the tattoo done by sterilized needles. Also it is important to live a rim of normal skin around your birthmark or mole, so that whenever there is some discoloring of the skin, you can go to the doctor. Also, doctors are demanding greater research and regulations of the inks used.

Thus one may conclude that skin cancer and tattoos are not directly related.