Can diabetics get tattoos

Can diabetics get tattoos?

If you have diabetes and are thinking about getting inked, make sure your blood sugar levels are under control first. Chronically high blood sugar levels can make you more likely to get an infection on your skin. Particularly in type 1 diabetes, this is true.

Before getting a tattoo, persons with diabetes should also speak with their doctor to make sure there aren’t any contraindications.

Read on to know more about whether diabetics can get tattoos and when they can if they can.


Tattoos are a common kind of body art in which an artist injects ink, pigment, or dye under the skin of the subject. The ink is then used to sketch or create designs on various portions of your body.

Can diabetics get tattoos?

While diabetics can have tattoos, they must follow some safety precautions. Telling your doctor about your wish for a tattoo or body piercing is the first step. Ask her whether she believes you will be able to heal from it properly and quickly.

Most likely, your healthcare provider will examine your A1C levels (the measure of your average blood sugar over the past three months). Your A1C must be less than 7 to be deemed well controlled. Your risk of experiencing sluggish wound healing is increased if your A1C level is higher. Additionally, the longer it takes for the skin to recover, the greater the chance of developing a harmful infection.

Also, discuss any restrictions on where you should have a tattoo or piercing with your doctor. For instance, your doctor might advise avoiding certain areas if you have neuropathy or circulation problems in your feet or lower legs.

The next crucial step is to do it as healthfully as you can by being proactive to prevent any problems from arising if your doctor thinks you’re managing your diabetes well and can safely get a tattoo or piercing.

Find a reputable shop that follows sanitary, safe practices while getting a tattoo or piercing.

Inform the artist that you have diabetes at the salon. It’s a good idea to let the tattoo artist or piercer know that you have type 2 diabetes, regardless of the shop or where on your body you plan to receive your tattoo or piercing.

If this is your first tattoo or piercing, in particular, ask about the healing time and procedure as you might not know what to anticipate while it heals.

As your tattoo or piercing heals, you should aim to avoid getting infected. Take the tattoo shop’s instructions for at-home follow-up cleaning seriously.

Risk of diabetics getting a tattoo

Through the use of electrically powered needles, permanent body art is carved into the flesh through tattoos. Ink is injected into the dermis using needles. The needle punctures and breaks blood vessels when you get a tattoo. Your body creates a natural defense against the damage as a preventive reaction, which can cause inflammation and bruises. All things considered, if you have diabetes, you should be aware that getting a tattoo carries some dangers.

Slow Healing Wounds

Diabetes increases a person’s chance of having poor wound healing. While there are several physiological causes for this, hyperglycemia and persistent inflammation are two of the most important ones.

You shouldn’t get a tattoo if you have chronically raised blood sugar since a tattoo has to heal properly to avoid an infection. Before thinking about having a tattoo, it’s crucial to discuss your blood sugar levels with your doctor.


In certain people, getting a tattoo might result in keloids. Fibrous scar tissue is what keloids are. You might want to think again about getting a tattoo if you tend to scar easily or have ever had a keloid.


Any person getting a tattoo is susceptible to developing a skin infection due to a number of factors, including contaminated ink, ink dilution, unsterile conditions, or inappropriate tattoo aftercare.

If their blood sugar levels are not under adequate control, diabetics are more likely to get an infection. Additionally, as blood sugar levels rise, it gets tougher to fight infections as high blood sugar can impair immunity. Infection symptoms may include but are not limited to, a rash, itching, soreness, chills, sweating, pus at the tattoo site, fever, and open sores.

Allergic reactions

Although tattooing carries a small risk of allergic reactions in the general population, these reactions are frequently uncommon and surprising due to stricter standards. Some individuals have allergies to the components of tattoo ink.

Itching, redness, or tiny bumps may be signs of an allergic reaction. Tattoos may exacerbate pre-existing skin disorders in patients with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis (eczema).

The American Academy of Dermatology lists the following symptoms as indicators of a severe but uncommon allergic reaction: trouble breathing, racing heart, tightness in the chest, lightheadedness or vertigo, stomachache, severe swelling, severe pain, flushing, or hives. These symptoms demand urgent medical care.

Enlarged lymph nodes

This can happen in lymph nodes near the tattoo, such as those in the armpits, groin, and neck. While some swelling is likely natural, if it persists for an extended period of time, you should see your doctor to rule out an infection.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long does it typically take for a tattoo to heal?

The tattooed area of the skin’s outermost layer typically heals in 2 to 3 weeks. Even though it may appear and feel healed, the skin beneath a tattoo can take up to 6 months to fully recover, so don’t be tempted to put off or neglect post-tattoo care.

It should be noted that larger tattoos cause the skin around them to heal more slowly, and certain actions like picking at the scabs, neglecting to moisturize, forgoing SPF (sunscreen), or using lotion with alcohol may impede the process.

Can scars be tattooed over?

A scar is a mark that stays on the skin after an injury or wound has healed. It serves as the body’s organic method of restoring and replacing lost or damaged skin.

Although it is possible to tattoo over the majority of scars, it is more challenging than tattooing over skin without scars. Working with a qualified tattoo artist who is comfortable hiding your scar or incorporating it into the tattoo design is therefore essential.

Why do people get tattoos to hide their scars?

A person could want to cover a scar or stretch mark with a tattoo for a number of different reasons.

People frequently hide scars because they don’t like the way they look. Scars are common, but some people are more self-conscious about them than others. Some individuals merely feel more comfortable hiding their scars with tattoos.

Others have scars from surviving a significant medical disease like breast cancer or an accident that required surgery. In these circumstances, tattooing over scars may feel like regaining control over one’s body and self.


You can definitely find a way to express yourself if you have diabetes and want to get a tattoo. To do it safely, you simply need to perform some careful planning and follow some instructions.

As a diabetic, you should only get a tattoo if your blood sugar is under control and you don’t have problems with wound healing.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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