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Can You Safely Get a Tattoo With Eczema?
Posted by Dr. Robert Levine

Can You Safely Get a Tattoo With Eczema?

When you make the decision to get some permanent ink, the last thing you want to end up with is an infected tattoo. Having eczema does not mean that you cannot get a tattoo, but it does mean that you should take extra precautions.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which the skin’s barrier has been weakened to a point where it can no longer sufficiently protect the inner layers of the body. Eczema is caused either by a combination of genetic factors or one’s interactions with their environment usually due to an overactive immune response to irritants or allergens.

Many who have eczema experience flare-ups where their skin becomes dry, itchy, and inflamed, and it can occur at any age. Luckily there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid flare-ups.

What Causes Eczema Flare-Ups?

Those living with eczema will at some point in time try to get to the bottom of what causes eczema flare-ups. Every person has different triggers, so there is no easy answer. But common triggers include:

  • Dry skin
  • Certain fabrics (like wool or polyester)
  • Pet fur or dander
  • Harsh soaps
  • Stress
  • Temperature changes
  • Anything on the list of common allergens like cigarette smoke or perfumes

Flare-ups can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription creams to reduce itching and prevent further outbreaks. Ultraviolet therapy done in a dermatology office may also be of benefit. Oral antihistamines, steroids, or other systemic medications may be needed. It may take some time to figure out the treatment or combination of treatments that works best for you.

Will Eczema Cause an Infected Tattoo?

It is no more or less likely for someone with eczema to get an infected tattoo than anyone else unless they are currently having a flare-up. It is also important to note that a flare-up anywhere on the body – even if it is distant from the tattoo location – can signal systemic inflammation which can poorly affect healing.

Your best bet is to wait until eczema has cleared from your body before getting a tattoo. This recommendation is also not exclusive to those with eczema. Anyone with a history of psoriasis, lichen planus, vitiligo, discoid lupus, or anyone currently on isotretinoin should make an appointment with their tattoo shop to discuss their options ahead of time.

The Bottom Line

We always recommend calling the tattoo shop and letting them know of any concerns ahead of time. The artist you are working with has probably seen skin conditions before and will want to know how to keep you safe and your new tattoo looking great.

Speaking with your dermatologist about your eczema or any new skin developments, such as a tattoo, can also be helpful. Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to know your options for tattoo removal in case a life-long commitment is too much to take!

Whether you have a medical emergency or just want to schedule a cosmetic consultation, Advanced Dermatology, P.C. makes it easy to see a top-rated dermatologist. Call or book online to schedule an appointment at one of our 50+ convenient locations.

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