Why does a 40 year old woman decide to finally get her first tattoo? Permanent body art on a mature and average body?
Well, as much as I love my husband, and kids and family, I found a private love, yoga.
I found a beautiful OM symbol that I loved and decided to add it to my back. Was it a painful process? Yes, but not awful and I researched and found an artist I liked and a location that was sterile and clean. I suppose if you wait until you’re 40, you think about these things. At least more than when you’re drunk and 21, I hope.
All was fine with my first tattoo and it healed perfectly well. 5 years later, I decided to cover up an ugly burn scar on my ankle and once again, researched tattoos and artists. I got my second tattoo in May 2013.
This time the healing didn’t go so well. Being on my ankle bone, it was a deep process not to mention over scar tissue. As time passed, the majority of the tattoo healed fine, but the red stayed itchy and inflamed. I asked two doctors about it and they suggested a topical steroid cream and then the ointment to stop the itching and to help it heal. Today I finally saw a dermatologist and was diagnosed with a red tattoo ink allergy.
I knew my mother was allergic to mercury but I had never been checked and it never occurred to me to be checked. Luckily, my tattoo artist is an old pro and gave the me names of the ink he used so I can avoid it in the future. I doubt I’ll get another tattoo but the information is so important that I need to share it with anyone considering body art.
We have to be informed and some inks are organic, but they do tend to fade and lighten over time.
Though most people do not have any allergic reactions to tattoo ink, the occasional person will have difficulty healing a tattoo. Most often, these incidents involve a specific tattoo ink that causes the allergic reaction. Red and shades of red, including purple, are high on the list of allergens.
When this happens, you will see that most of the tattoo heals normally, within the usual 7-14 days most people take to heal their skin. However, there will be one section of the tattoo that is not healing at the same rate and this section will correspond to a specific color. Mine just happened to be red!!
The five year old tattoo on my back also became inflamed where the red ink is, lucky me, I wanted them to match.
After my third physician consultation, I was referred to a dermatologist that did not say, “This is a freaking disaster!”, and calmly explained what I needed to do. I started taking a steroid dose pack to suppress the allergens and I was already taking antihistamines for seasonal allergies. (Late summer burn ban in Texas). I added Silver Sulfadiazine (SSD) cream to the hydrocortisone ointment to help prevent infection. After 3 days of this treatment, it was much better but not healed.
The dermatologist injected 0.7mg of triamcinalone in 5 different places on the red area of my ankle tattoo. My back had already recovered with the treatment that I began, so my back looked fine.
When I mentioned my reaction to my friend, she said, well what do you expect? My response was,
“You’re right, friend, people should get sick from the stupid things they do to their bodies. We deserve it.
Ok so what should be wrong with you?”
Okay, I don’t mean that but we have a good friendship and can joke like that!
So think before you INK!
Think! Live! Love!
I’d like to add a post script here before I reblog.
I’ve since had 12 ankle injections of triamcinalone in very low dose subcutaneous injections, applied steroid ointment twice daily. I’m taking an anti-histamine daily.
I still have flair ups. My back still itches when my ankle is at its worse. I can’t help but scratch at night.
The last time I saw my wonderful dermatologist, I was appalled that the first question that she asked was,
“Are you ready to get rid of it?”
“No!!”, I smirked, “I love it!”
I do indeed love it!
But it also brought to mind that I may at some point have to decide differently. I may have to have it removed in the future but I certainly hope not.
“The only way out is through”
I’m seeing a dermatologist this week to handle this situation. It’s been a year and a half and I only treat the symptoms.
Bad choice for an educated woman!
So updates soon!
Think before you ink!
See update today!