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Are tattoos and permanent makeup safe?


While temporary and permanent tattoos are subject to regulation as cosmetics and are under the jurisdiction of the HHS Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local agencies have direct jurisdiction over the practice of tattooing by salon technicians. FDA is currently evaluating the safety of tattoos and permanent makeup as a result of their growing popularity. Among the issues being considered are tattoo removal, adverse reactions to tattoo colors and infections and infectious disease that result from the use of these products.

The inks, or dyes, used for tattoos are color additives. Currently no color additives have been approved for tattoos, including those used in permanent makeup.

Consumers should be aware of some of the risks presented by tattoos and permanent makeup:

1. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious disease, such as hepatitis; it is extremely important to confirm that all equipment is clean and sanitary before use;

2. Tattoos and permanent makeup are not easily removed and in some cases may cause permanent discoloration; think carefully before getting a tattoo and consider the possibility of an allergic reaction; and

3. Blood donations cannot be made for a year after getting a tattoo or permanent makeup.

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Last Updated: 04/22/2008