The Health Protection Agency has warned against the dangers of DIY tattoos after two Sussex teenagers were admitted to hospital with infections. They are legal and easily available on the internet. But experts warn they could be harmful. Charlotte Wilkins has compiled this report and speaks to Kerry Peacock who had a tattoo from an unlicensed artist. She also talks to tattoo removal specialist Paul Davis and David Hagen from the Health Protection Agency.
The Health Protection Agency has issued advice about what to look out for when getting tattoos.
- Choose an establishment that is registered with the local authority (which means they will have been inspected and conform to correct hygiene procedures) and which looks clean.
- Ensure that the tattooist/piercer sterilises all non-disposable equipment after every customer and ask him or her how they sterilise instruments.
- Equipment should be sterilised in a machine known as an autoclave. Sterilisers designed for babies’ feeding bottles or pressure cookers are not adequate.
- Check that the needles used for your tattoo are new, sterile and have not been used on any other client. Needles must not be re-used. Watch the tattooist and make sure that they remove a needle and tubes from a sealed package before your procedure begins.
- The tattooist/piercer should wash their hands and put on a fresh pair of examination-type gloves before any new procedure is carried out.
- People who find themselves in dirty premises where it is obvious that instruments are not being properly sterilised should walk out immediately. Don’t put your health at risk.