If you’re thinking about having a communist flag tattooed on your forehead, you might want to reconsider. A new study in Contact Dermatitis (my second-favorite publication behind Playboy) claims that 44 percent of people who came down with a chronic skin condition as the result of a tattoo did so after using red ink. Black ink came in second at 25 percent.
The study surveyed 300 random tattooed adults in New York’s Central Park. The findings mirror the results of previous studies that were conducted in Europe. Although certain colors seem to pose a greater risk, scientists aren’t sure why.
“It is not yet known if the reactions being observed are due to chemicals in the ink itself or to other chemicals, such as preservatives or brighteners, added to them, or to the chemicals’ breakdown over time,” said senior study investigator and NYU physician Marie Leger. “The lack of a national database or reporting requirements also hinders reliable monitoring.”
Despite the possible correlation between certain ink colors and chronic skin conditions, the overall risk remains low. Only six percent of tattoo recipients reported symptoms. Although six percent is still greater than zero, so you have to decide if it’s worth the risk. Aside from a skin condition, there’s also the risk of ruining a perfectly good pair of breasts.
And no one wants that.
Jason Mathews is Internetting way too hard. Follow him at @jasonmathews316.