Tattoo Removal Central would like to inform you about what to consider before deciding to go ahead with a tattoo.

Health dangers

Skin infections -  These can range from minor bacterial infections, like impetigo, to serious antibiotic-resistant skin infections, which can lead to pneumonia and blood infections.

Blood-borne infections - Dirty equipment will put you at risk of infection from serious diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV or tuberculosis.

Allergic reactions -  You may have a reaction to the ink or latex gloves, though alternatives can be used.

Skin disorders

Anyone prone to keloid scarring - permanent, raised scars - should stay away from tattoos. Some people also get skin bumps called granulomas around a tattoo.

MRI complications

Some people find the tattooed area swells and burns after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan - but it is rare.

Before you get the needle ask yourself these questions:

How might I feel about this in 30 years?

It's unlikely you'll be wearing the same clothes or have the same hairstyle so consider how your taste may change. If it's a name, for instance your boyfriend, are you really sure you'll be together for ever and, if not, how will subsequent partners feel?

Where should it be?

Very visible tattoos are incompatible in certain workplaces. If you need to cover it, how would it restrict clothing? Also, consider the pain factor. The fleshier the area, the less painful it will be.

How big?

If it's your first tattoo, it's best to start small in case you suffer an allergic reaction. And the bigger it is, the harder it will be to remove.

If you're not satisfied...

According to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (in the UK), the tattooist's work should be done with "reasonable skill and care".  Otherwise, they may have to pay for it to be put right or for you to have it removed.

However, this doesn't apply if you've just changed your mind. If you want it removed, methods include laser treatment and dermabrasion but discuss pros and cons with your GP first. Go with a doctor who regularly carries out the procedure.

Alternatively try the many creams that will fade your tattoo, often to the point of being barely noticeable.

Eight ways to protect yourself

(1) Find a reputable tattooist

By law, all tattooists must be registered with the local authority and have an up-to-date certificate to prove it. They should also have a health and safety certificate on display. Look in the Yellow Pages or contact your local authority's environmental health department for the addresses of registered tattoo parlours. Also check that the tattooist is a member of a professional body such as the Tattoo Club Of Great Britain (visit

(2) Give it the once-over

A tattooist's parlour should be as clean and tidy as a dentist's surgery. They should wear gloves while tattooing and a new needle and ink should be used for every customer. Other equipment should be sterilised between customers. And a reputable tattooist won't mind you asking.

(3) Do your research

Shop around but don't make price the deciding factor. A tattoo should always be regarded as permanent since removal is expensive, difficult and can scar. You need to consider their style as well as skill. Go on recommendations and ask to see a portfolio of their past work.

(4)The right questions

The tattooist should ask you certain health questions. This should include whether you've had particular conditions, including allergies, impetigo, anything that affects your immune system, blood infections such as hepatitis or HIV, seizures and high blood pressure.

(5) Find a rapport

If you don't have a rapport with the tattooist, move on. It's vital that you communicate well and are both clear about the exact design, colours and size of the tattoo.

(6) Don't do it on holiday

There may be good tattooists abroad but hygiene standards are lower in many countries. Also, if something goes wrong, you may not be protected by law. You're

also more likely to be reckless on holiday.

(7) Don't have a drink first.

Drinking affects your judgment.

(8) Be clear on aftercare

You should be given detailed advice on how to look after your tattoo to avoid infection. And see your GP if the skin becomes red, inflamed, discoloured, itchy or painful.