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22 March 2024

Navigating Tattoos with Psoriasis

Tattoos can be a fun way to express yourself and often hold lots of sentimental value or symbolism. They are an outward expression of individuality, and living with psoriasis might raise some concerns when considering getting a tattoo.

Although there is little data which shows the number of people with psoriasis who have tattoos, there is still a big community of people living with psoriasis who enjoy getting inked.

As ever, it’s important to consult your dermatologist or primary healthcare provider before getting a tattoo, piercing, or any other treatment which directly contacts the skin.

Can I get a tattoo if I'm on biologics?

If you are on a biologic treatment or oral DMARD it is advised to consult your dermatologist prior to getting a tattoo as you are more susceptible to infection.

Here are some general pointers when considering getting a tattoo:

Talk to Your Dermatologist: If you're thinking about a tattoo, it's a good idea to have a chat with your dermatologist or primary healthcare provider first. They can give you advice tailored to your skin, dependent on the type of your psoriasis, how severe it is, and any current treatment or medications you are undertaking.

Think About Risks: Tattoos involve needles and poking your skin, which can come with associated risks such as potential skin trauma and infection. People with psoriasis are more susceptible to skin injuries, which may trigger flare-ups. So, it's important to think about where you want your tattoo (its placement) and how large or small you want your tattoo.

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Pick a Good Tattoo Studio: Make sure the place you choose to get your tattoo is clean and takes hygiene seriously. This can help prevent any infections, which could make your psoriasis worse.

Skin Patch Testing: Before you commit to a tattoo, it's a good idea to have a small test done to see how your skin reacts to the ink. This precautionary measure will help you avoid any unwanted surprises later on.

Be In The Know - The Koebner Phenomenon: If you've had the Koebner trigger before (where psoriasis can show up on areas of skin injury), getting a tattoo might pose a challenge. The skin injury from the tattoo process could potentially lead to a psoriasis flare-up right where you get inked. While not everyone with psoriasis experiences Koebnerization, it's definitely a factor to consider when deciding on tattoos.

Take Care Afterwards: Once you've been inked, it's important to look after your tattoo properly. This means keeping it clean and moisturised, and avoiding too much sun exposure, which can irritate your skin. Proper aftercare can promote optimal healing and minimise the risk of psoriasis flare-ups.

Embrace Your New Tattoo: Whether you’ve been tatted for the first time or adding to your collection, it’s time to embrace your new ink. Emma, who is part of the Psoriasis Association community, talks about her experience of having severe psoriasis and being inked. You can read about it in her blog here.