If you’re walking down the road, you may have noticed how every second or third person you see has some elaborate and often vibrant piece of art tattooed into their skin. And according to a study, an estimated one in five adults in the US has at least one tattoo.

But, did you know that skin injected with two of the most common tattoo ink colors, red and black, could have the most long-lasting complications? Dr Marie Leger, NYU Langone dermatologist says, “We were rather alarmed at the high rate of reported chronic complications tied to getting a tattoo,” comments Leger. She adds that while some adverse skin reactions can be treated with anti-inflammatory steroid drugs, others may require laser surgery.

The study also revealed that almost half (44%) of chronic reactions were due to red ink, even though only slightly more than a third (36%) had tattoos with red ink. One third of chronic cases involved black ink, while over 90% of the participant’s tattoos used black coloring.

For what it’s worth, if you must get a tattoo, we recommend you consult your dermatologist simply because allergic reactions (like aversion to hair dyes, for example) tend to surface much later. It’s during the healing process that your skin could get irreparably damaged and require medical attention. So if you think something’s amiss, don’t let it linger and show it to a dermatologist; not a tattoo artist.

Needless to say, as you age, the wrinkled skin and discoloration make this body art an eyesore. It might serve you well to consider natural alternates like henna tattoos that may not last as long, but get the job done just as well.

PS: For solutions to suit your specific skin type, head to our Skincare section.
Also, here’s the latest on what’s trending in the world of Beauty.

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Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.