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 disease? 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 disease?
The answer to these questions depends on a variety of factors like the stability of your vitiligo symptoms, your purpose and place of getting a tattoo. First, let’s understand what vitiligo disease 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, which is called as vitiligo.
Vitiligo patches may occur anywhere on the body, but they mostly affect the face, arms, legs and rectal areas.
Spread of the vitiligo patches
The key vitiligo symptoms are the sudden onset of a single, few or many milky white patches of irregular shapes and sizes on the skin. Small areas of de-pigmentation gradually start spreading to involve larger areas of the body. The patches appear more prominent on dark-skinned people and can be quite disfiguring at times.
As far as the progress and reasons for white spots on the skin are concerned, they are highly unpredictable. Some cases experience an extremely fast advancement, with quick involvement of large areas of the body, whereas in some cases, there may be a few small patches that do not change much with time.
The active phase of development of new patches can be followed by a phase that does not present any new patches. Therefore, on getting a tattoo with vitiligo disease, it is difficult to say whether your condition will spread or not.
Why do people affected with vitiligo condition get tattoo?
Living with vitiligo disease can be very difficult. Because the patches are often visible, people often mistake them for signs of leprosy, and end up treating the patient like a social outcast.
People with vitiligo suffer tremendously from the fear of being socially rejected. This can be emotionally devastating and can lead to the distortion of one’s self-image.
Therefore, people seek different options like make-up and tattoo to deal with this skin condition and try to cover it up as much as possible.
Is tattoo making safe for vitiligo patients?
Reasons for getting a tattoo over skin in vitiligo patients is different –
- some people want to tattoo a vitiligo patch to cover the spot
- some people want to tattoo a nice quote or a phrase over their vitiligo spots to serve as a distraction or motivation, and
- others simply want to get a tattoo on a part of the body that doesn’t have spots.
But, these options don’t work most of the times for many reasons. Firstly, if your vitiligo condition is in the active phase, your patches may spread beyond the tattoo. Secondly, it is very difficult to match the color of your skin with tattoo ink, partly because the skin color changes with the seasons, sun exposure, and age. Also, the tattoo ink looks very different once it settles into your skin. So whatever color you select for the tattoo, it will look a lot different once it’s placed into the deep skin through a tattooing needle.
Another problem is that even if you get a tattoo at a normal spot (far from a vitiligo patch), you may get a new patch in the tattoo area. For example, you have a vitiligo patch on your right arm and you get inked at the back, there is a possibility of getting a new vitiligo patch on your back.
Why does it happen?
It has been seen that people often tend to get new vitiligo patches at an area where the skin gets bruised or damaged. For instance, if you have vitiligo disease, 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. However, modern tattoo methods and ink used are safe for most skin types and the tattoo heals within few hours.
What can you do about your vitiligo condition and tattoo?
It is highly recommended that one should consult a doctor and understand the stability of vitiligo symptoms before getting a tattoo.
If your vitiligo is not in the active phase, you can get a tattoo as far away as possible from the areas where you have an active vitiligo condition while taking a treatment for vitiligo alongside.
Another option 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.
If you’re looking for a reliable, permanent, and safe solution to treat vitiligo disease, you can try homeopathy.
How homeopathy helps in treating vitiligo disease?
Homeopathy treatment for vitiligo focuses on holistic healing of the condition. 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. It thus targets the root cause of the ailment. 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.
Homeopathic medicine is prescribed on individual case history so the underlying stress can be effectively treated with homeopathy which can bring about a positive result in the vitiligo treatment.
Homeopathic medicines for vitiligo not only help to control the spread of white patches; they also help in repigmentation (return of the individual’s normal skin colour) by enhancing the natural formation of melanocytes, without any side-effects.
Most importantly, homeopathy reduces the chances of recurrence — or, the possibility of white patches reappearing again.