People who are fond of tattoos may have to think twice before getting one done as a new study found possible links between tattoo ink and risks of developing skin cancer.
Tattoo is the physical modification of a part of the skin with inedible ink that changes the pigment of the skin. Tattoos are popular in many cultures across the world and people get tattoos done on various parts of their body. Some people take tattoos as a significance of religion, culture or tradition, while some may get it done just to beautify their body.
However, a recent study by German dermatologists suggests that tattoos may possibly cause skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.
The researchers reveal that they examined a 48-year old man, who was reported to have developed skin cancer at the spot where he had got a multi-colored tattoo done 4 months back. The dermatologists were unable to find a direct link between tattoo ink and skin cancer but they advised doctors to find signs of squamous-cell carcinoma in patients who have a reaction to tattoos.
The researchers also highlighted that there are no international standards that govern the ingredients of the tattoo ink. The mixture of tattoo ink may also include carcinogens than can cause skin cancer. In the U.S., tattoo ink is considered a cosmetic and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the agency does not test the ink before it gets to tattoo artists.
"Because of other competing public health priorities and a previous lack of evidence of safety problems specifically associated with these pigments, FDA traditionally has not exercised regulatory authority for color additives on the pigments used in tattoo inks," per FDA.
The agency warns tattoo enthusiasts that there remains a risk of ink contamination and people should seek medical attention if a tattoo becomes painful, swells or develops redness.
Previous studies have also tried to understand the link between tattoo ink and skin cancer; however, it is still unclear if tattoo ink actually causes skin cancer.
The researchers suggest that further detailed study is required to understand the link between tattoo ink and skin cancer.
The study has been published in the journal PRS Global Open.