Your personal "checklist" before you make a decision to get a tattoo
Are you completely healthy, or are you temporarily under the weather after a cold for example; do you have a chronic condition (there are many types of chronic disorders); or are you receiving immune system suppressant therapy with a biological medicine, cancer medicine or other potent medicine that affects your entire body and changes how it reacts and how a new tattoo may heal?
Do you have a chronic infection such as HIV, viral liver inflammation (hepatitis) or another chronic infection?
Do you have a more widespread skin condition such as eczema and psoriasis?
Are you a carrier of harmful bacteria such as penicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRSA) or other resistant bacteria (ESBL)?
Do you have a tendency to form ugly scars, particularly the “keloid” type?
Do you or did you suffer from the disease sarcoidosis, which primarily attacks the lungs? If so, consider that you have an over 500 fold increased risk that a new tattoo, in particular a black tattoo, can trigger a fresh outbreak of sarcoidosis or a relapse of your disease, which also may become manifested in the new tattoo, in other parts of the skin (scar sarcoidosis, erythema nodosum), and in internal organs.
Do you have a blood clotting disorder or are you receiving anti-coagulation treatment?
Do you suffer from a disease with sudden seizures, epilepsy, disturbances in heart rhythm, etc.?
Do you have a rubber allergy with latex hypersensitivity? In that case, a tattoo can be life-threatening if the tattooist uses rubber gloves.
Do you have a severe nickel allergy or perhaps chromate allergy? Inks contain traces of nickel; a few inks have higher concentrations and may induce a widespread allergic reaction in your entire skin. Allergy to preservatives also can be a problem.
Are you a blood donor? As a blood donor, your health is suspect for about six months (depending on country) after getting a tattoo. You cannot give blood again until you have been shown to be free of HIV and viral liver infections.
Are you a woman and pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or perhaps could be pregnant without realising it? In that case you should consider the fact that tattoo ink can contain chemicals that affect cell division and could potentially harm a baby, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy. No ink is safe if you are pregnant.
Are you emotionally unstable, in a stressed situation or have problems with the tattooing process? In that case, don't do it – tattooing always adds a risk you didn't had before.
Have you given serious consideration to the tattoo motif? Choose your motif with care and avoid extreme pictures or pictures you probably will regret (examples from real life: a cat eating a cheese sandwich, an erect penis, both seen as large tattoos on the legs of young girls).
Have you considered your future work situation? Be perfectly clear that visible tattoos will exclude you from companies that do not accept visible tattoos, or could lower your prospects in a company. Many people value tattoos negatively.
Will you still like the tattoo in 10, 20 and 30 years? Trends come and go!
Do not get a tattoo if you are younger than 18, and never encourage minors to get one.