If you are a diabetic, or suffer from any other autoimmune condition or cancer, you should make an informed choice about getting a tattoo or a piercing. Many people with this condition have had tattoos and piercings completed successfully without any further complications, but it’s important to do your research. Here’s some things to consider.
Understanding the tattoo process and how it affects diabetics’ skin
Anyone who has diabetes knows that they must carefully weigh up the consequences of anything they do. It pays to be fastidious when it comes to the management of this disease especially when considering getting a tattoo. The epidermis (outer layer of skin) protects you from infections. As tattooing is the process of inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin, it involves piercing the skin many times over and could therefore present a higher potential risk of infection, but it all depends on your own personal diagnosis and ensuing management of the condition.
Entering the epidermis poses a unique risk to diabetics, especially if your blood sugar is not in good control. The immune system can also be affected, placing a diabetic at even higher risk to fight off infection. If the studio you choose follows lawful safety and hygiene guidelines, then it’s generally considered ok to have a tattoo. Do your research though - unsafe practices may contribute to diseases such as Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, HIV and a range of bacterial infections. You can also ask your tattoo artist to provide a skin test before you commence to ensure you are not allergic to the inks they use.
Tattoo considerations if you are diabetic:
If you have a medical condition, you need to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss how to manage your risks especially as there is not a singular set of guidelines offered by any one diabetic association. It’s essential to make sure your blood sugar is at an acceptable level. It is possible to get a tattoo if you suffer from Diabetes but it’s essential you make a plan involving preparation from at least six months out so you can undergo the necessary blood glucose and haemoglobin A1C test - this takes an index of average blood glucose for the previous three months.
As a general rule, your haemoglobin A1C should be sitting at 7% and this test is the best indicator of how well the diabetes is controlled. If the last couple of tests come in around 7% and there are no other significant health concerns, getting a tattoo should be safe. If you are outside of this range, you run the risk that the tattoo or piercing will not heal properly and could become infected quickly.
As some tattoos can also take a long time, blood sugars can rise during the procedure so be sure to chat to your tattooist to request regular breaks so you can monitor and manage your sugar levels throughout.
Diabetes, Tattoos and Aftercare
Aftercare for the tattoo is even more critical; that is it should be kept clean and ongoing management of blood sugar levels need to stay in the safe range.
Tattoos and piercings in some places can take longer to heal which can also cause infections. It’s best to avoid areas of poor circulation such as shins, ankles and feet. If you are a Type 1 Diabetic and need to inject insulin, avoid areas where you would usually inject so you can monitor for any infection developing on these sites.
Some people even have a tattoo completed identifying them as a Diabetic Type 1 or 2. If you have researched well, have your Diabetes under control, and most importantly consulted your Doctor, then you can go ahead and get that tattoo or piercing. Be prepared to put in the aftercare too so you can ensure the best possible healing time and discuss your needs with your tattoo artist at Celebrity Ink™.