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Is It Safe to Get a Tattoo If You Have Vitiligo?

This question is more common than you think it is. Tattoos have been around for centuries as a means of self-identification. Body art is often used to cover up deformities, enhance features and present a side of oneself to the world.

So, is it safe to get a tattoo over a vitiligo patch? What if you are under medication for vitiligo treatment, is the tattoo ink safe? Or will the process of tattooing irritate your skin further and worsen the vitiligo? The answer to these questions, depends on two main factors: the stability of the vitiligo and the purpose of the tattoo. First, let’s understand what vitiligo is and then explore the options open to you.


What is Vitiligo?

Our body has cells called melanocytes which produce the pigment that gives our skin colour. Sometimes, our immune system mistakenly attacks our own cells. If the melanocytes on a certain part of your body get attacked, they stop producing pigment and a white patch appears.

Those with a family history of vitiligo are more susceptible to this skin condition. Vitiligo patches may occur anywhere on the body, but they mostly affect the face, arms, legs and rectal areas.

Vitiligo is a cosmetic skin disease and therefore non-fatal in nature. Still, in a society that is ruled by physical appearance, it does greatly affect our self-esteem. A previously confident person can suddenly become self-conscious and unsure.  Therefore, people seek different options of dealing with this skin condition and trying to cover it up as much as possible.


Step #1 Find out the stability of your vitiligo.

Before getting a tattoo, it is very important to consult your doctor and understand the stability of your vitiligo. People often tend to get new vitiligo patches at an area where the skin gets bruised or damaged. For instance, if you have vitiligo, and you actively play sports and fall and bump your knee, chances are your new vitiligo patches will appear on your bruised knee.

The same goes for tattoos. A tattoo pierces a layer of skin and is therefore considered a wound. Modern tattoo methods and ink used are safe for most skin types and the tattoo heals within a few hours.However, if your vitiligo is spreading fast, you could get new white patches over your tattoo. While the tattoo ink will not affect your vitiligo, the white patches can end up ruining the beautiful art work and might disappoint you as a waste of money.


Step #2 Understand the purpose of your tattoo.

Some people get their skin colour tattooed over their vitiligo patches to cover up the white spots. This doesn’t work most times for many reasons. Firstly, if your vitiligo is active, your patches will spread beyond the tattoo. Secondly, the tattoo ink looks very different once it settles into your skin. Lastly, tattoos begin to fade with time. This can leave you with a bad discoloration.

The best option is getting a tattoo that is meaningful such as an image or a quote. If possible, tattoo as far away as possible from the areas where you have an active vitiligo condition. While this will not help you cover up your patches, it is will ensure that any vitiligo treatment you are undergoing will not be hampered by the tattooing process.


What is Vitiligo Micropigmentation Technique?

This form of tattooing has been specially developed for vitiligo patients, to help blend the affected area with the rest of the skin. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia so the patient is comfortable. Vitiligo micropigmentation is only recommended for patients whose vitiligo condition is certified stable through testing. The results are seen around two to three weeks post tattooing. Though this method doesn’t guarantee permanent results – the vitiligo can still spread – many patients still prefer micropigmentation to skin grafting.


Homeopathy and Vitiligo

Homeopathy focusses on holistic healing. Homeopathic medicine for vitiligo is safe from any harmful side effects and is therefore a popular choice for vitiligo treatment. Vitiligo is an auto immune disorder and homeopathy helps by starting to work on healing the immune system. Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s melanin cells to produce melanin pigment and also slow down the development of more patches across the body. Treatment of vitiligo in homeopathy is a comprehensive approach that is tailor-made to suit each patient’s individual requirements. It aims for long term and permanent results.

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