Q: Is the ink from tattoos dangerous for my health?
A: There’s very little evidence that tattoo ink is hazardous to your health (unless you count the mental stress that comes from the regret of having one done). When tattoo ink is injected into the epidermis, the skin reacts by protectively encapsulating the alien clumps of pigment in dense fibrous tissue and nearby lymph nodes collect what migrates out of the tissue. Low levels of carcinogens (cancer causing substances) have been identified in the ink, so as this ink sits trapped under the skin, you may be putting the nearby cells at risk.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food, raise goats, and make goat milk soap on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.