Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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JCAS SYMPOSIUM
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-36

Complications of tattoos and tattoo removal: Stop and think before you ink


1 Department of Dermatology, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi, India
3 Maulana Azad Medical College, LN Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Niti Khunger
Department of Dermatology, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2077.155072

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Tattooing is a process of implantation of permanent pigment granules in the skin. Tattoos can be decorative, medical or accidental. There has been a exponential increase in decorative tattooing as a body art in teenagers and young adults. Unfortunately there are no legislations to promote safe tattooing, hence complications are quite common. Superficial and deep local infections, systemic infections, allergic reactions, photodermatitis, granulomatous reactions and lichenoid reactions may occur. Skin diseases localised on the tattooed area, such as eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, and morphea can be occasionally seen. When used as a camouflage technique, colour mismatch and patient dissatisfaction are common complications. On the other hand, regrets after a tattoo are also seen and requests for tattoo removal are rising. Laser tattoo removal using Q-switched lasers are the safest; however, complications can occur. Acute complications include pain, blistering, crusting and pinpoint hemorrhage. Among the delayed complications pigmentary changes, hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation, paradoxical darkening of cosmetic tattoos and allergic reactions can be seen. Another common complication is the presence of residual pigmentation or ghost images. Scarring and textural changes are potential irreversible complications. In addition, tattoo removal can be a prolonged tedious procedure, particularly with professional tattoos, which are difficult to erase as compared to amateur tattoos. Hence the adage, stop and think before you ink holds very much true in the present scenario.


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