In 2007, Dr. Jeffrey M. W. Dutcher and his colleagues found that tattoos are among the most commonly reported cancers in the United States. Most people with tattoos do not have a cancer. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found no statistically significant increase in the risk of developing various cancers after removal of all or part of the skin or the area surrounding the tattoo when compared to those who had no tattoos.
Tattoo Removal in Children and Adults
Tattoos that are on people younger than 18 (other than an outer body tattoo) and on adults are generally considered safe because there isn’t any cancer in the tattoo itself even after years from its application. Many of the common childhood tattooing techniques use chemicals, which are dangerous for both the skin and the person receiving the tattoo. These chemicals are often referred to as irritants to skin, which means they may cause irritation. It is therefore very important to take special precautions to be protected from such irritants.
Tattoos may cause itching, itchy, and burning sensations. The burning happens when the chemicals in the tattoo irritate and burn the skin, or cause the skin to die from the chemicals. One example of this is to be found in the “mock tan” on children. A common way to avoid this is to avoid being near a tattoo site.
Because these chemicals do not cause cancer in any way, they are the most frequently reported common skin cancers among adults and children alike. There are few specific medical treatments for these types of skin cancer. However, when skin cancer is suspected, a medical doctor may request blood tests to rule out a possible cause, such as the use of hair dye, topical steroid use, or the use of tanning booths in public places.
Tattoos can also be removed with lasers, which are used to help remove cancerous tumors. This type of treatment can be safe and effective when the tattoo itself isn’t contaminated. Some lasers work by heating and bleaching the skin in order to cut out tumors and cancer cells. These treatments may be safe to use for short-term use if the patient has a very small tattoo that isn’t covered by the skin (such as the top of the hand) or if the tattoos are covered by non-tattooing layers. However, some non-tattooed locations may give false-negative results with certain types of laser treatment, so always use caution.
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