Psoriasis, which is the inflammation and flare-up of the skin which causes severe itchiness and dry scarring, can be a bothersome medical condition. You may be wondering if this skin issue may also interfere with your desire to get a tattoo. We understand the risks that come with this condition, so we have rounded up a thorough guide on psoriasis and tattoos.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Related: Tattoos and Eczema
What Is Psoriasis?
Most people are unaware that psoriasis is not just a skin condition but is an immune system issue. It occurs when your body has excessive production of skin cells in certain regions of your body. This results in dry, flakey, or scaly patches on your skin that are excessively itchy or sometimes even painful.
Psoriasis isn’t truly ever cured but rather managed. With proper medicinal lotions or even prescription medication, individuals can manage flare-ups and reduce the inflammation of psoriasis. Some people live with their skin condition without treatment, though this can be bothersome, and scratching the skin can lead to bleeding or cracking of the scaley scars.
Psoriasis flare-ups are usually caused by a trigger, such as trauma or injury to your skin. Since the wound created by a tattoo is, essentially, severe skin trauma, this could make your psoriasis even worse. That is where the primary concern comes in.
Psoriasis and Tattoos: Considerations and Questions to Ask
The Koebner Phenomenon
Although psoriasis is generally contained in a specific region of the body, you can never truly anticipate where flare-ups will appear. Since tattoo artists are not allowed to tattoo over any open wounds, lesions, or scars, you might encourage your artist to place a tattoo in an open, psoriasis-free region. This could result in a flare-up in the region of that healthier skin and you must be prepared for that risk.
This reaction is called the Koebner Phenomenon, and it can happen as a result of a trigger for any skin or immune condition. According to various studies, one in four individuals with psoriasis will experience the Koebner Phenomenon, and, unfortunately, you cannot anticipate when the reaction to this trigger might appear.
Precautions With Your Tattoo Shop
Some tattoo shops or artists may actually refuse to tattoo an individual with psoriasis due to the risk of triggers and flare-ups on otherwise healthy skin, post-tattooing. Never hide your medical conditions from your tattoo artist, and ensure you discuss openly during your consultation about your history of flare-ups and which regions of your body they’re usually centralized to.
Ensure the tattoo parlor you do choose is licensed, certified, up to sanitation standards, and has their blood-borne pathogen certifications displayed.
Consult With a Medical Professional
Of course, the most important thing of all is to check with your medical professional whether they believe it is safe for you to pursue being tattooed in the first place. This is especially important if you are taking oral medication which may hinder or present issues during the healing stage of your tattoo.
Your doctor or your dermatologist understands your skin and immune system better than anyone else, and they will give you the safest and most honest opinion on whether or not you should proceed with getting a tattoo, and how to prepare if you do decide to move forward.
Pre and Post Tattoo - Set Yourself Up For Success
Leading up to your tattoo session, you should ensure you are moisturizing your skin daily and managing flare-ups. You should be changing your sheets and washing your clothes in sensitive detergents. You should also be drinking a lot of water, and if you should experience a flare-up before a tattoo session, consider rescheduling for your comfort and for a smoother tattooing experience.
In addition, after your tattoo, you need to be extra cautious with your aftercare procedures. Your tattoo may take longer to heal, so you need to be patient with this delay. You should follow our aftercare advice to the T, but should also be ultra observant about any complications, concerns, or potential for infection.
Ask your doctor what antibacterial soaps they may recommend, as well as what lotions would be best to heal your tattoo and keep flare-ups under wraps. Ensure you are keeping an eye on any signs of allergic reaction or inflammation which may cause additional issues for your psoriasis.
Our Final Thoughts
Psoriasis shouldn’t completely put a halt on your inked dreams, but it’s definitely something that comes with further risk and concerns. You should always discuss your desire to get a tattoo with your doctor or your dermatologist to ensure that it’s the best decision for your specific case, as every situation with psoriasis is completely different. Don’t rush the decision, and take your time researching the risks involved.