Are Tattoos Dangerous? by Dr. John Carlyle

The epidemic of Tattoos and body piercing in the Western world will likely have a major health impact in the future.
For the individual who luxuriates in their indelible skin murals they are in danger. For society it will most likely become a public health matter when the painted generation degenerates following the normal ageing process as they age.


The skin is the major organ of the human body and the protective layer of our human existence.

Epidermis has five microscopic layers. The epithelia is a major portal of entry for pathogens, microorganisms, and allergens. Thus the skin is equipped for both innate and adaptive immunity for the protection of the individual.

Any permanent insults to the skin’s integrity like, foreign bodies, chemicals such as pigments and metal studs are treated by the body defense mechanisms as an invader.

I have come across lymph glands coloured with pigment from nearby tattoos when we have been doing ‘ tummy tuck’ operations. So what could be the likely effect of tattooing large surface area of your body?

As you age your immune system may become altered by having to mount a constant defense in the face of the permanent foreign bodies, so immune diseases may start to rise.

Body Piercing

Leukaemia, cancer of the blood
lymphomas, of which there are a variety .
Other cancers
Other types of the autoimmune illnesses may increase [ types of arthritis, kidney disease etc].

Death from skin cancers [melanoma] may increase. The tattoos camouflage the skin cancers so early detection cannot be accomplished and therefore cannot be cured until they have spread.

Mental health may deteriorate with age as the realisation that that tattoos are permanent and removal leaves scars.
Laser atomisation of the ink particles will further strain immune system cleaning up the internal mess.

The social effects also will be manifest.

Fashionable clothing designs will change as the middle aged tattoos cover and hide the scarred body. One could call it the Regret fashion and start a new label Called ‘Regrets’.

People will also be hit with the realisation that there is subtle discrimination against them in job opportunities and social opportunities as society changes.

Social stratification will arise as the pigmented class will be the ones who regret the youthful permanent markers, especially as a skin ages and sags the designs will become hilariously distorted.

Hitler started it – but the the tattooed voluntarily continue it. The unique nature of each tattoo is an identifier of the individual and is a great assistance to law enforcement bodies.

Hitlers Tatoos

If increased pathology does arise, insurance companies will collect statistics over time and it may be possible that the cost of personal insurance may attract an increase in premium.

One thing is certain unlike our usual indiscretions of youth which become memories which alter over time – tattoos, on the other hand, are permanent scars of the indiscretions of youth.
Just like diamonds – they are forever.

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  • February 7, 2018

    I fully agree with this article. Every time I see someone covered in ink, I fear what their future health will be. The majority of people are not prepared for what lies ahead as they grow older. One older person wished me as I was leaving a place of work:- ” One word of advice, please do not get old”. Sorry, unless one dies young, getting older is inevitable.


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