Health officials warn do-it-yourself tattoos pose health risk
Products sold online; Some have been recalled
ORLANDO, Fla. – Chances are you probably know someone with a tattoo, and statistics show one in five adults has one. But now, personal body art is getting really personal.
That's because more people, adults and teens alike, are inking themselves.
While "DIY tattoos" may allow for creativity, critics say the trend can be really risky.
"It's a trade that needs to be taught, and if you're not taught properly you're not gonna be doing proper work," said Sailor Bill Johnson of the National Tattoo Association
While it's illegal to get a tattoo until 18, or 17 with a parent's permission, it seems you the Internet is making those restrictions, as well as licensing and inspection less of an obstacle.
In fact, when Local 6 logged on, it found directions on how to tattoo with a sewing needle.
And, you can get complete DIY kits on the web containing needles, ink and possibly even an electronic tattoo machine.
"Are they clean? Are they keeping things sterile? Are they using the proper procedures? Are they using the proper ink?" are all questions and concerns of Johnson's.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes complaints about tattoo ink-related infections.
But it hasn't yet begun to track infections related to "do-it-yourself tattoos."
"If the infection spreads systemically into the bloodstream it could become a life-threatening situation. It could also threaten the limb if the infection is very deep-seated in the soft tissue," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja who warns that with any tattoo you need to know there are risks involved.
"You're breaching your skin, you're breaching a part of your immune system to apply this tattoo, so everything needs to be sterile," explained Adalja.
Nicole west creates and sells home tattoo kits.
She got a certification for infection control and tries to help "do-it-yourselfers"-- "do it" as safely as possible.
West equipped her kits with medical gloves, sterile needles and ink, alcohol wipes and information on how to prevent diseases.
"I decided to start making these kits because I know people who stick and poke using random, you know, objects around the house -- not necessarily the best thing for creating a tattoo," said West.
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