Body piercing or getting your body tattooed may cause you infection of Hepatitis B and C virus. The needle used in the act to (re) fashion your body may just be infected with the said virus causing liver disease, which in its ultimate stage often turns cancerous (liver cirrhosis). That is deemed to happen if the needle is not properly sterilized.
How tattoos are done
A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on your skin with pigments inserted through pricks into the skin’s top layer. Typically, the tattoo artist uses a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, with one or more needles piercing the skin repeatedly. With every puncture, the needles insert tiny ink droplets. The process — which is done without anesthetics — causes a small amount of bleeding and slight to potentially significant pain.
How tattoos cause hepatitis?
Tattoos are a potential cause for spreading hepatitis B and C virus. “The main risk is if the equipment, which is the needle, is infected and not enough precaution is taken to prevent transmission. But it’s not just the needle that can spread the virus.
Needles are not the only things that can cause transmission of the hepatitis. The silent culprits are the expensive ink bottles in which the artist dips his needle time and again while doing the tattoo. So even if they use disposable syringes or fresh gloves, if an artist uses the same ink bottle for several clients, the chances of transmission of the virus increase. Now since these ink bottles are mostly imported, they generally don’t use fresh bottles for every client.
Tattoo making involves pricking the needle deep into the dermis – the layer under the skin surface – which results in bleeding and the same needle is dipped into the paint bottle which leads to transferring of Hepatitis B or C from infected to another.
Preventive measures to rescue yourself from hepatitis
Get tattoo as you would for any other medical procedure. You want the tattoo parlor to be at least as clean as your doctor’s office.
Ask to see the tools the artist will use. The needles should be new, sterilized, and wrapped — no exceptions. The ink should be in small pots meant for single-use and anything that touches your skin should not be reused. And the artist should wear gloves.
Tattoos can be beautiful, artistic expressions of our inner selves. Just be sure you know the risks and go to a professional tattoo artist.