Tattoo health tips

Omega Young the owner of Ink Gallery says just glance at the tattoo machine. Young explains it’s a piece of equipment required by the state to be covered when in use. Omega notes that helps to prevent cross contamination of infection or disease.

“If you see little spots of ink or black blotches on the tattoo station, then that’s not good. What happens when you finish the tattoo and a customer comes or the artists forgets and touches that same thing where that ink is at and tattoo’s again. You have to be aware,” says Omega.

Omega says the behavior of an artist can give some insight into how they conduct business. The artist should have both hands out of reach and contact. “You will notice in many tattoo shops artists like to keep their hands like this {demonstrates with hands in the air} . So, if they’re going into a room or by a door. They’re so use to doing this it’s our second nature.”

Office of Public Health Regional Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski confirms the Department of Health and Hospitals inspects and registers commercial body art facilities. Dr. Stefanski says registered parlors should be placed high on your list. “Do not take put your health at risk. People who may operate out of their garage, a hotel room or a friend’s house; you do not know if they are registered,” says Stefanski.

Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Alison Penton of the Dermatology Center of Acadiana says it’s not just the tools to watch for. Tattoo ink requires proper handling. “If it hasn’t been stored properly, the ink can actually harbor infection agents. Make sure the ink has been handled properly,” adds Dr. Penton.

Penton says if a tattoo artist works without safety in mind, what can follow is an infection. “Viral warts can form, tuberculosis have been reported to have been transmitted. You really have to be careful about who you are going to to receive these tattoos,” says Penton.

Tattoo artist and owner of Instant Classic Tattoo, Charlie Bear shows us how a new tattoo needle is to be used for every customer. “We don’t reuse anything. everything we use is for that one purpose and one time.”

Bear says look for a state license and a clean reputation. He says that can put you two steps in the right direction. “In Louisiana, they are required to have a blood borne pathogens certification, a first aid certification, they’re to be trained in handling bio-medical waste. Without all of those they are unable to get a license. They will in essence be practicing illegally if they don’t have that,” says Bear.

To learn more about certifications and inspections for tattoo artists check out the website of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

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