Up to 6 percent of inked adults develop a long-lasting rash, researchers report online May 27 in Contact Dermatitis. In some cases, itchy, scaly, puffy skin at the tattoo site lingered for years.
Of 300 tattooed adults surveyed in New York’s Central Park, more than 10 percent had experienced irritating skin reactions. Four percent developed painful, scabby infections that lasted days to months after being inked, and 6 percent had symptoms — including scarring, bubbling and wrinkling — that stuck that around even longer. Red may be the most irksome ink color, the study’s authors suggest: Some 44 percent of the long-term reactions could be traced to the hue.
Approximate fraction of U.S. adults with tattoos
Fraction of tattooed adults with short-term infections at tattoo sites
Fraction of tattooed adults with long-term rashes, scarring or other skin problems