Scientific Reports published a peer-reviewed report stating there’s a possibility ink contains tiny heavy metal particles such as:
There are also other toxic impurities. Tattoo inks usually have over 100 additives and 100 colourants, according to the European Chemicals Agency that conveyed their concern there was no guarantee of the safety of inks due to lack of regulation.
And one colour in particular is more of a safety concern than other colours. A chemical used often in creating white ink, titanium dioxide, increases your risk of developing cancer.
Tattoo ink could cover up any clinical skin cancer signs. It can disguise subtle changes like what you’ve just read about in the two cases above. Assessing both non-pigmented and pigmented lesions that a tattoo covers is hard for the following:
- Patients to see with their naked eye (macroscopic level)
- Health practitioners to see at both clinical and dermoscopiclevels (the use of a dermatoscope to examine skin lesions)
- Histopathologiststo see even using a microscope (microscopic level)
Extensive sleeve tattoos may magnify their risk due to delay lesion detection by patients and their family or friends. Early detection is especially important in patients who have dysplastic nevus syndrome or a history of melanoma.
But according to Terry Slevin, Occupational and Environmental Cancer Risk Committee chair, if you have a tattoo sleeve, you shouldn’t panic. It’s important to know there hasn’t been any direct evidence of anyone developing cancer because of their tattoos.
If you’re concerned about a lesion that’s under your tattoo, have it examined and monitored closely by skin cancer experts.
Whether you have tattoos or no tattoos, skin cancer detection should occur early for the best possible outcome.
To learn more about melanoma and other skin cancer, get a head-to-toe mole check with total body photography, and an expert dermatologist diagnosis, book your MoleMap appointment today.