Is it safe for someone with epilepsy to get a tattoo?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can affect people of all ages. People with epilepsy experience sudden changes in electrical activity in the brain, called seizures. During a seizure, they may jump, shake, or twitch. They may also lose consciousness.
Because of these symptoms, a person with epilepsy may have concerns about getting a tattoo, a form of body art that an artist permanently inks on the skin.
Tattoos have long been a part of human culture and are growing in popularity. Polls suggest that almost
There is no evidence that tattoos can trigger seizures or pose additional risks for people with epilepsy.
Keep reading to learn more about epilepsy and tattoos, including the risks and the best types.
Yes, people with epilepsy can get tattoos. The are not strict medical contraindications to performing tattoos, including epilepsy.
However, certain groups of people should consult a doctor before getting a tattoo. These people include those with chronic skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis, as well as people with diabetes, blood disorders, and immunosuppressive conditions. Additionally, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss any tattoo plans with a doctor.
If a person with epilepsy also has a condition that may affect their ability to get a tattoo, they should seek the advice of a doctor.
People with epilepsy may fear having a seizure when getting a tattoo. Though there is no proof as tattoos can trigger seizures, a person may find it helpful to discuss any concerns with their tattoo artist and a doctor. Additionally, a person may feel more prepared if they let the tattoo artist know what to do in a crisis.
- Infection: The tattooing process creates tiny holes in the skin. If bacteria or other pathogens get into these small wounds and multiply, infection can result. Additionally, unhygienic tattooing practices, such as using unsterile equipment, can cause infections. Mold and bacteria can also contaminate tattoo pigment, even in sealed bottles.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to ink or other tattoo materials. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin irritation to a serious condition called anaphylaxis, which can be
- Scars: If a tattoo becomes infected or a person has an allergic reaction, there is an increased risk of the tattoo scarring. Some people may also develop keloid scars, which are raised bumps of old scar tissue.
- MRI complications: There have been cases where people with tattoos have experienced swelling or burning at the tattoo site during MRI scans. Although rare, it is best to tell the doctor about any tattoos before ordering an MRI.
Due to the risks involved in getting a tattoo, it is important that people only use reputable tattoo artists working in registered premises. Many state laws require the use of sterilized needles and equipment, but people should check before making an appointment.
In addition to increasing the risk of infection, unsterile equipment increases the risk of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C.
No specific type of tattoo is ideal for someone with epilepsy. For many people, tattoos are a way to express themselves. Individuals can opt for a tattoo that represents their condition or want something unrelated to their health.
Here are some epilepsy related tattoo ideas:
- the international epilepsy awareness symbol
- a medical identification bracelet or necklace in the form of a tattoo
- a meaningful or empowering quote or phrase for the person with epilepsy
- a tattoo of a crisis support animal
A person may find it helpful to research designs they like and then discuss their plans with an experienced and reputable tattoo artist. A skilled tattoo artist can design and draw a tattoo specific to a person’s preferences.
Some people prefer to have tattoos that they can easily cover with clothes. If so, a person needs to consider the size and placement of the tattoo.
It should also be considered that tattoos are permanent. Although it is possible to remove them, it is a laborious process that can leave a person with scars.
Additionally, people should be prepared to take care of their tattoos properly to avoid infection and scarring. Tattoo professionals may advise slightly different approaches to aftercare, but this usually involves:
- keep the tattoo covered with a polyurethane bandage for the first 24 hours
- wash your hands before touching a fresh tattoo
- limit contact with the tattoo
- apply follow-up ointment for up to 3 days
- refrain from picking the skin or scabs from the tattoo
- avoid swimming, baths and saunas until the tattoo heals completely
- avoid sun exposure
People should also see a doctor if the tattoo looks infected. Infections cause:
- increased crying
- discharge of yellow or green fluid
- an unpleasant odor
- pain and swelling
- pulsation, burning, or discoloration around the tattooed area
Learn more about tattoo tracking.
Although getting a tattoo comes with some risks, people with epilepsy can get one if they take the necessary precautions. This means using a professional and reputable tattoo artist who only uses sterile equipment.
Using non-sterile equipment is risky and can lead to HIV and Hepatitis C infections. Other potential risks of tattoos include allergic reactions, scarring, and problems during MRI scans.
There is no specific type of tattoo that is best for someone with epilepsy, and many people choose designs that are meaningful to them. Some people may also choose to have their medical alert information as a permanent tattoo rather than wearing a necklace or bracelet.