Tattoos are more popular than ever, with a scroll through various social media hashtags revealing everything from “black tattoo art” to a “full sleeve” of tattoos. However, a new report is suggesting that all that “tatted up” ink could cause cancer. As reported by the Daily Mail, a new study from Hiram Castillo of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France notes that folks getting tattoos are often cautious about finding tattoo artists that use clean needles but not as careful at looking into the chemicals found in the tattoo ink. As a result, Hiram claims that chemicals like titanium dioxide can leak into the bloodstream and remain there for life while backing up in the lymph nodes and causing them to swell.
With swollen lymph nodes from tattoo ink, a person may find it harder to fight infections, claims Castillo. Titanium dioxide is used to create colorful dyes in the tattoo ink, but the chemical also reportedly dyes the lymph nodes as well. It’s a chemical that has been tied to cancer and other maladies, such as itching, and one that caused a delay in healing. As a result of the findings, Hiram has advised people to research the exact chemicals that are present in the ink being used by the tattoo artist prior to getting a tattoo, in order to avoid cancer.
As a result of the new study’s findings, that tattoo ink can travel all the way to the lymph nodes, more emphasis is being placed on titanium dioxide. When people get tattoos, the ink is usually injected about three to five millimeters beneath the skin, which is about the same depth as a person’s sweat glands. Ironically, the Daily Mail reports that this fact also causes people with tattoos to generally sweat less than people with no tattoos.
Whereas researchers like Bernhard Hesse, one of the study’s authors, reported already knowing that tattoo ink traveled to the lymph nodes due to seeing visual evidence of dyed lymph nodes that appear the color of the tattoo, it wasn’t known until now that it was done in the form of nanoparticles. It’s not clear if they react the same way as micro particles. Titanium dioxide is a very common chemical used in tattoo ink.
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