What Are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tattoos?
Do-It-Yourself or DIY tattoos are tattoos that are given by non-professional tattoo artists in people’s homes. These premises are not licensed or inspected by your local health department.
Are There Health Risks with DIY Tattoos?
Yes. Bacterial infections and/or viruses are the main health risks associated with DIY tattoos.
These infections can be spread when unprofessional tattoo artists use unsterilized needles, share needles, do not wear gloves or clean their hands, or when working in unsanitary environments. Good infection control and hygiene practices are essential to reduce the risk of infection.
Proper aftercare is also important in reducing the risk of infection or the development of scar tissue. Professional tattoo artists know how to properly care for tattoos.
What Are the Risks of Sharing Needles?
Sharing needles can result in serious blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV as well as bacterial infections. Needles must be thrown into a sharps or hard plastic container immediately after every use.
Only use needles that come individually pre-packaged and sterile. Placing needles under a flame, in the oven or in a pressure cooker does not ensure that they are properly sterile.
Do You Have Any Advice for Anyone Who May Be Thinking About Getting a DIY Tattoo?
Don’t do it. Get your tattoo from a professional tattoo artist who is routinely inspected by your local health department. If you still want to do your own tattoo, it is important to purchase individually pre-wrapped sterile needles and follow hygienic procedures recommended by local health departments on safe tattooing. Never share needles and make sure to dispose of them properly after every use.
Where Can I Get More Information on Safe Tattooing or About the BodySafe Program?
- Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600