While the young and the fearless may think it is cool to sport body art, tattoos and piercing, doctors warn that these fashion statements could be dangerous and infectious without going through an allergy test beforehand.
T K Sumathy, senior professor and consultant dermatologist, MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital said infection cannot be ruled out, “If body art is done without precautionary measures and is not scientifically and hygienically done then one may be prone to serious infection including HIV.”
Body art forms can be segregated into two sections- permanent and temporary. Both body tattooing and piercing can cause infection in some cases. It can be either bacterial or viral. In some cases it even causes skin TB. Body piercing can lead to swelling and material allergy. Sometimes water oozes from the affected area. There can be reactions to metallic dyes used in tattoos. Many patients want to erase names of people they are no longer in touch with. There are two options to get this done. Via a small excision but if the tattoo is very big then laser treatment is a good option.
Dr Sudheendra U, dermatologist and cosmetologist, Fortis Hospitals, said, “Removal of piercing and tattoos can leave scars. If the body reacts to metal or dye then it can lead to rashes and granuloma which might be very difficult to treat and even when treated might leave some scars. If the person has a tendency to develop keloid which is a kind of thickening in the scar, then disfiguration may follow.
Dr Leelavathy B, Professor of dermatology, MS Diabetes Centre pointed out the risks of infection related to piercing techniques. Navel, nipple and genital piercing need prolonged healing time.
Tongue piercing can result in swelling of tongue, haematoma formation and sometimes tooth fracture. High ear piercing through the ear cartilage can result in serious infections and disfigurement like hypertrophic scar, keloid formation and also traumatic tearing.
Stressing on the ill effects of body tattooing or piercing even after treatment, Dr Raghu J, Consultant Internal Medicine at Sakra World Hospital, said, “Most often there will always be some scarring or pigmentation no matter how effectively we treat the complications.”
Hence all this should be thought of before undergoing these procedures. If the instruments are not sterilised then swelling, burning et al cannot be ruled out.