Kapou Malakar

Photo: Jaishree

Indian celeb Sushmita Sen sports a tattoo on her back to portray a funky image. Binti, a 15-year old also gets a tattoo on her ankle to look cool. No matter how much burn or stretching the tattoo bearers suffer on their skin, they don’t seem to mind it. Tattoos, they say, are fashion.

Vasudha, from St. Stephens College got a tattoo on her lower back three days ago. “Getting a tattoo done on the body is painful, but I enjoy that pain”, she says. “I got this tattoo to match my new wardrobe,” she exclaims happily.

Tattoos are hot commodities these days. “Everyday four to five people come to us to get a tattoo done on their body,” says Shakil Ahmed, who works at a tattoo parlor in Sadar Bazaar. Tattoos represent an art form, and can reflect the attitude of its wearers. But they have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Tattooing can prove to be hazardous if due care is not taken.

Tattooing involves needles that move at very fast speed to penetrate the outer layers of the skin. The needles break the skin, and inject dots of ink into the third layer, creating an image of the tattoo design on the skin. But, the biggest concern one should have when getting a tattoo is the place and the equipment used. “If the equipment isn’t cleaned after each time it is used, the risk of getting the dreaded HIV virus is very high”, says Dr Shail Gupta, a dermatologist at Satya clinic in Shakti Nagar. “You can even be exposed to diseases like tuberculosis or hepatitis,” he further adds.

Although tattooing can be dangerous, there are ways to minimize the threats. “We use steam pressure autoclave to disinfect the tattoo guns and needles”, says Lokesh, who works at Devil’s Tattoo at PVR Priya complex. “Bleach and alcohol don’t actually sterilize the equipment. Instead, they are used to clean the equipments”, he says.

There are other safety measures that are recommended by dermatologists. “We even recommend tattoo artists to wear rubber gloves that can be easily disposed off”, says Dr Gupta. “The ointment spreader that is used after making a tattoo should also be disposable”, he further adds.

Cleanliness and sanitation is the only way to prevent any harmful consequences of getting a tattoo. “Before the tattoo artist starts making the tattoo, he should offer each customer a brand new set of fresh needles to let his/her customers choose from them”, Says Dr Yogesh Sehgal, Dermatologist, at a clinic in Mayur Vihar.

In the world of tattoos, your tattoo is as good as the money you pay for it. So, if you are planning to get a tattoo, get it from a good place, instead of trying to save money. Because, fads and style are temporary. After all health comes first.