A new survey from the Center for Disease Control in British Columbia, Canada, has revealed that regulation of the tattoo industry goes a long way to battling infections, common from unregulated and untested tattoo artists.
In Michigan, regulations currently exist that required tattoo facilities to be inspected regularly, and those who do not pass the rigorous inspections are prohibited from tattooing.
The health organization interviewed a cross-section of people from all around the world – from the United States to Iran – for the study, and the findings suggest that greater regulation of tattoo shops is needed in some parts of the world.
Unsafe practices have led to tattooed people becoming up to three times more likely to contract Hep C, the research showed. Tattoo needles and tubes touch contact blood, and if they are not sterilized between use, this can lead to infections.
A quality tattoo shop will dispose of all needles that come into contact with the skin, sterilize tubes by autoclave between uses, and ensure that all surfaces in the tattooing area remain sterile for each customer.
Those seeking to get tattoo work should ensure their shop of choice adheres to strict sterilization procedures and discards all needles after use.
The manager of health protection for Vancouver Coastal Health, Angelo Kouris, said, “Operators look for sterilization of reused equipment, clean sanitary work surfaces and ensure that single-use disposable needles and disposable gloves are used.”
The State of Michigan requires that tattoo shops be licensed, which means regular inspections of premises, and banned from-home tattooing, where many untrained artists use unsafe practices, earlier this year.
The study was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.