Diabetes And Tattoos: 7 Things To Know Before Getting Inked

Tattoos are no longer just the domain of the rebel or the motorcycle rider. Today tattoos are for pretty much everyone, and they can symbolize pretty much anything. As of 2015, 1 in 5 Americans were sporting tattoos. Tattoos are a powerful medium of self-expression, and they may mark a person’s status as a member of a certain group, such as the diabetes community.

People with diabetes may be interested in getting ink for the same reasons as anyone else. Or they may want to artistically express their status as a type 1 or type 2 or have a permanently inked medical ID. As with a lot of things in life for people with diabetes, tattoos take a little more consideration and planning. But they are absolutely an option, and if you’ve been considering a tattoo, there’s no reason that diabetes should hold you back. Here’s what you should consider as you’re planning to get a safe, regret-free, and amazing tattoo:

Photo: pixabay/AnnieSpratt
Photo: pixabay/AnnieSpratt

1. Tattoo Parlor Hygiene

Admittedly this is something that everyone considering a tattoo should take very seriously. Tattoos with unsanitary practices put you at risk for infection and blood-borne pathogens, so it’s important to find a reputable shop and be willing to pay what it costs for a quality job. There are many excellent tattoo parlors out there, but be sure that the parlor you choose:

  • Is licensed and/or accredited.
  • Uses brand new needles for every person and each new session.
  • Uses an autoclave machine to sterilize equipment or uses disposable equipment.
  • Uses disposable ink pots.
  • Has their artists use gloves when tattooing.
Photo: AdobeStock/mr_prof
Photo: AdobeStock/mr_prof

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2. Location, Location, Location!

There are lots of things to consider when deciding on your tattoo’s location. Does it need to be in a spot where you can cover it for work? Are you going to be able to sit for a long time with that part of your body exposed? How high is your pain tolerance in that area?

If you have diabetes, there are some places that you should avoid. It’s best not to get a tattoo on your buttocks, shins, ankles, feet, or places where you commonly inject insulin. These areas are more susceptible to infection and will take longer to heal. Avoid getting tattooed in any areas where you struggle with poor circulation as well.

Photo: AdobeStock/Drobot Dean
Photo: AdobeStock/Drobot Dean

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