Scientists often warn against tattoo inks. However, the needles used could also cause allergies. In cause: the migration of metal particles in the body.
Formerly reserved for a certain social class or trade, tattoos are now more and more popular, especially with the Millenials. At present, 12% of Europeans are tattooed. Faced with the emergence of this trend, the European Chemicals Agency warned in 2018 against the many carcinogenic components contained in tattoo inks. But it seems that needles are also a risk factor. According to a study published Tuesday, August 27 in the journal Particle and Fiber Toxicologymetal particles of needles used in tattoos could migrate into the body, with the risk of causing allergies.
"We report the deposition of nanoscale and micron sized tattoo needles in human skin that move to the lymph nodes," the researchers say. Most commonly, tattoo needles contain 6 to 8% nickel and 15 to 20% chromium, which can cause hypersensitivity reactions and may therefore "play a role in tattoo allergies".
Indeed, the adverse reactions caused by a drawing on the body (or the face) are more and more common, reveal the scientists. And if we regularly pin the pigments used to explain them, this is the first time that the needles are also mentioned.
"An additional entry of nickel into the skin and lymph nodes"
"Previously, it was suspected the almost inevitable contamination by nickel iron pigments to be responsible for tattoo allergies caused by nickel," note the researchers. However, "the evidence in our study clearly indicates that wear and tear on tattoo needles results in additional nickel entry into skin and lymph nodes," they write, calling for "accurate" impact measurements (tattoos). about health".
"These are long-term effects that can only be evaluated by epidemiological studies that monitor the health of thousands of people over decades," concludes Ines Schreiver, lead author of the study.
Risks associated with "changing the body"
This study, which includes scientists from the European synchrotron in Grenoble (France) and several German institutes and universities, was led by researchers from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Because in Germany, two-thirds of people suffer from traumatic sequelae, delayed healing and other local lesions after a tattoo. About 6% of these ailments are chronic.
In France, where 10% of the population would have given in to this "worrying practice" of drawing on the skin, the National Academy of Medicine, called in September 2017 for a better regulation of tattoo products.
Concerns shared with the US Pediatric Medical Academy, where nearly one in three teenagers would be tattooed according to a 2016 Harris poll. In a report released two years ago, too, it was inventory of tattoo and piercing practices employed and associated risks. "It's important for young people to consider carefully the consequences and risks of changing the body," said the American pediatricians, recommending that teens consult a doctor before crossing the line. In fact, in addition to the infectious and toxic risks, being scarred on the skin can have a heavy psychological impact and negative consequences on future job search, they warned.