Tattoos and Diabetes
The best way to know if it’s safe for you to get a tattoo with diabetes is to see your doctor or healthcare provider. They can review your numbers, draw your A1C, and determine if your diabetes is controlled. If your diabetes is not well controlled, or if your blood pressure is elevated, you should take measures to get both within range prior to getting a tattoo.
After you are evaluated by the healthcare provider and they confirm that your diabetes is under control, you will be given clearance to get a tattoo or a piercing. It will also be a good idea to have the doctor write a note, or even a prescription, in the attention of the tattoo parlor or piercing clinic that will be performing the procedure. Normally, a tattoo or piercing establishment will take the word of the client, and the forms that you fill out there should have a question about diabetes, and whether it’s controlled.
Your response should be honest on the form, and if your diabetes is not well-controlled, lying about it could be to your peril. The question is on the form for your own safety, Understand that it is imperative that your diabetes must be controlled, along with your blood pressure, prior to obtaining a piercing or tattoo with diabetes.
Considerations for getting a tattoo or piercing with diabetes
There are many things that your doctor or healthcare provider should consider prior to giving you the ok for the procedure, even with your blood sugar and A1C in your target ranges. If it’s a tattoo, your doctor may want to know its location on your body. Areas farther away from the heart and areas with poor blood flow are harder to heal, and people with diabetes may have existing compromised circulation in these areas.
If it’s a body piercing, where will it be placed is important to consider. Will gauges be used, or bars that are larger in diameter than the usual size studs commonly used for earrings? Will the procedure involve using a gun to pierce the skin with a small stud, or will it be a more complex procedure that involves puncturing the skin with a large bar, while holding a portion up with surgical tweezers? Will it be a procedure in which a gauge will be inserted into a larger hole made in the skin?
These factors can help your doctor or healthcare provider determine if the procedure is one that you may have trouble healing from afterward since you have diabetes.
Your healthcare provider should also consider any complications that you have related to your diabetes, especially issues such as diabetic skin conditions, and complications of diabetes related to neuropathies, or nerve damage, or circulation issues such as Peripheral Arterial Disease. The last thing you want as someone with diabetes is to end up losing a limb due to amputation.
Picking your creative design, and making sure you can live with it forever
Tattoos are especially permanent. That’s why you want to really think about it, and weigh whether you might regret it later.
There is no turning back with some of the body piercings either. Often, as you grow and mature as a person, you learn that you may not make the same decisions as you did when you were younger. You may not have the same tastes or likes, and your body piercing or tattoo could become one of those things that you regret doing in your life.
To help prevent making an unfortunate tattoo or body piercing choices, avoid getting the procedures on a whim, when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or peer pressure. It’s best to think about these things for a very long time.
As far as for a tattoo design, deciding on a design that you can live with for the rest of your life, and what’s more, like, or even love, for the rest of your life, is no easy task. On top of finding a facility that uses safe, sanitary practices, you also want to use a tattoo artist that is an actual artist.
A piercing clinic performs a sterile invasive procedure of inserting a large piercing bar into the skin.
Have your blood sugar levels controlled before you get a tattoo or body piercing with diabetes
If you are considering a tattoo or body piercing, and you have diabetes, you should make sure that your A1C is within your target, which for most people is less than 7%. If you manage to keep your blood sugars in a target range every day, or at least most days, then you can rest assured that your A1C will be low enough to get a tattoo or piercing as well. Still, you must speak with your healthcare provider first, before getting either a tattoo or a body piercing.
Ensure that the place and the person you are going to see is licensed or accredited
All tattoo parlors and piercing agencies are licensed and accredited by the state in which they provide tattoos and body piercings. Local environmental health agency representatives know how many tattoo and piercing licensed establishments there are in their county or locale. In our county, there is one inspector in the county Environmental Health office who is trained to conduct inspections and provide sanitation and safety ratings for tattoo and piercing merchants who are licensed by the state.
They go around, and check each facility for sanitation and safety, ensuring that they follow state guidelines for licensure of tattoo parlors and body piercing establishments. They will issue a grade from A through F, like the grades given to restaurants. These are the types of tattoo parlors and body piercing facilities that you want to look for. Look for those with an “A” rating, and never get a tattoo or a body piercing from someone who is not licensed by the state, and has received an “A” rating. (Note: Each state has different laws regarding tattoos and piercings. Ask the shop owner if they are in compliance and ask to see any pertinent licenses and/or certificates. Also, make sure the shop uses disposables and/or autoclave to maintain sanitary conditions.)
Looking out for the ratings of tattoo parlors and body piercing facilities can help to ensure that you find one where safe practices when performing the procedure have been demonstrated. They have been trained, and they know what the state guidelines for tattoos and body piercings are. Beware of the do-it-yourself home-based tattoo “artists,” who think that they don’t have to play by the rules.
Not only can they give you a tattoo that looks unprofessional, but they can give you Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV from the use of non-sterile equipment, and the re-use of needles from patient to patient. These home tattoo “artists” may also lack an autoclave to use on their equipment between customers.
If they aren’t playing by the rules, then don’t try them out. When you have diabetes, you must make sure that wherever you go for tattoo or body piercing services is a quality provider. It can be the difference between having a great procedure with no complications and having an infection that progresses to a more serious issue.