Can Diabetics Get Tattoos? Is It Safe?

Written by: Claudia
Updated:

Diabetes is a disease that affects around 10% of the American population, and it currently is uncurable. People with diabetes want and deserve the same rights and privileges as individuals who do not have Type 1 or 2 diabetes. If you are suffering from diabetes, you may be wondering if it is safe to get a tattoo; we narrow down all the safety precautions and risks you should consider when wanting to get a tattoo with this medical condition.

Your Diabetes - Type 1 vs. Type 2

Only you and your doctor know and understand the severity of your medical condition. You may be living a relatively normal life as a person with diabetes, and in most cases, this makes it perfectly safe for you to proceed with getting a tattoo. But the type of diabetes you are suffering from may impact whether or not you should reconsider.

Type 1 diabetes is genetic and often appears young in life, while Type 2 diabetes is lifestyle-related and may appear after weight gain, dietary changes, or even other medical conditions. Diabetes, in general, is an issue with the way your body processes and regulates glucose or blood sugar, and both types require specific and constant monitoring.

If you are considering getting a tattoo, you need to consider that your body will be stagnant for many hours. This may require regulation of your blood sugar and A1C levels, frequent snack or water breaks, or medication so that your tattoo session goes smoothly.

Why Shouldn’t I Get a Tattoo With Diabetes?

Though the decision is ultimately your own to make, it can be risky to pursue getting a tattoo when you are suffering from diabetes. This is because you cannot anticipate how your body will react to the trauma of getting a tattoo. Your immune system will go into response mode as your tattoo artist starts to work on your skin, and, in addition to this concern, your body may have more difficulty, after the fact, fighting off any potential bacteria or infection.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you do wish to get a tattoo while suffering from diabetes, the best advice you could get is from your personal medical professional. Your doctor can review your blood sugar or A1C levels and give you advice on how to proceed with the process of getting a tattoo, ensuring you have the right strategies in place for monitoring and managing your diabetes during the session. They will also provide you with the essential advice you require for a smooth aftercare process and healing.

Tattoo Preparation with Diabetes

If you have received the go-ahead from your doctor and feel comfortable with proceeding with a tattoo, there are some additional factors you should keep in mind.

Controlling Your Diabetes

It’s important that your diabetes, blood sugar, and A1C levels are under control leading up to your tattoo session, during your session, and following your session. The general recommendation is that you should have had a month of no spiked counts (A1C lower than 8.0) prior to your tattoo.

Finding a Reputable Parlor

A responsible, high-quality tattoo parlor will ask you about your medical history prior to you getting a tattoo. Your tattoo artist should have a consultation with you about your diabetes and any of your concerns about the process. You should also be sure to ask about snack and drink breaks during your session.

Look for accredited tattoo shops that show off their sanitation and licensing certifications, and make sure that your tattoo artist has their blood-borne pathogen certification, as well.

Location

When you have diabetes, you need to carefully consider the placement of your tattoo. Since diabetes is a blood-related illness, you should avoid getting tattooed on areas that have poor circulation, such as:

  • Your backside
  • Your shins, ankles, and feet
  • Any insulin injection sites

Design

On that note, you should also carefully consider the design of your tattoo. If this is your first tattoo as someone with diabetes, pick something that isn’t too complicated and won’t have you sitting for the session for too long. The less complicated the design, the simpler it will be to heal as well. This allows you to “test the waters,” so to speak, with how you can handle tattooing as a person with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Risks You Need to Be Aware Of

There are some additional tattoo risks worth noting:

  • Allergic reactions to ink are very rare but as an individual with diabetes, this could be more concerning for you.
  • Skin infections are usually caused by poor tattooing conditions or terrible aftercare.
  • Scarring can occur with some tattoos, especially if you suffer from a blood-borne medical condition.
  • Wound healing may be delayed due to your diabetes.

Tattoo Aftercare with Diabetes

Tattoo aftercare for a person with diabetes doesn’t look very different from standard tattoo care, but it does require more monitoring and perhaps more frequent washing. You should continue to monitor your A1C and blood sugar levels and speak to a medical professional if you have any concerns about the way your tattoo is healing or how your immune system seems to be responding. Do not hold off on seeking assistance if you’re ever worried.

Our Final Thoughts

Getting a tattoo as a diabetic is perfectly safe so long as your A1C levels are regulated leading up to your session, you are monitoring your levels during your tattoo, and you are paying careful attention to your aftercare process as you heal. It is important to be honest and upfront about your medical condition with your tattoo artist during your consultation, and to advocate for your health during the process.

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The information contained on Tattify is intended for informational and educational purposes only. None of the statements made on this website are intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, infection or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before using tattoo/skincare products that may interfere with medications or known conditions. This article is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you are looking for help with your condition, please seek out a qualified medical practitioner.

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