Can You Safely Get a Tattoo with Psoriasis? Expert Advice and Tips

April 16, 2024

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Psoriasis is an incurable condition causing raised reddened skin plaques covered in dry white scales that constantly flake off. Around 7.5 million Americans battle psoriasis, facing daily physical discomforts and emotional distress. With proper precautions, people with psoriasis can usually get tattoos safely but do face higher chances of complications like infections and flare ups. Knowing key risks while meticulously caring for new ink helps minimize likelihood of issues.

Overview of Psoriasis and Its Triggers

Psoriasis arises from overactive immune signaling and inflammation producing rapid turnover of skin cells. The excessive accumulation externally presents as painful or irritating plaques encrusted with shedding dry scales. The persistent symptoms significantly diminish general wellbeing and quality of life.

Flare ups occur unpredictably in response to various triggers. These include infections, stress, weather changes, skin injuries and certain medications. Anything inciting immune responses risks provoking eruption of new plaques or worsening existing ones. Avoiding known personal triggers is key to maintaining smooth stable skin.

Concerns with Tattooing Over Psoriasis Plaques

Getting tattooed always carries inherent risks like infections, allergic reactions and excess scarring since the process relies on deliberately puncturing the protective skin barrier with needles thousands of times. But those with psoriasis face a few additional challenges requiring heightened precautions.

Increased Infection Vulnerability

Open cracks, lesions and delicate healing skin around plaques provide easy access for bacteria to invade deeper tissue layers during tattoo sessions. Vigilantly monitoring for early signs of infection afterwards remains vital.

Higher Allergy Potential

Although rare, some tattoo inks or ingredients may provoke immune reactions resulting in raised plaques or skin irritation confined around the tattoo itself. Healing psoriatic skin seems more prone to localized allergic contact dermatitis.

Koebner Phenomenon Activation

This response describes new psoriatic lesions developing along areas of skin damage, including tattoos. The skin injury itself combined with extra inflammation during healing kicks the immune system into higher gear provoking fresh plaques.

Optimizing Tattoo Results and Minimizing Psoriasis Flares

Those with well-controlled, stable low disease activity enjoy the best tattoo outcomes and satisfaction long term by proactively minimizing risks before and after getting inked. Helpful strategies include:

Choosing Location Wisely

Avoid direct tattooing over active psoriasis plaques since irritation is likely and may worsen symptoms. Also dodge body areas prone to frequent troublesome lesions if possible. Discuss options with your artist and dermatologist.

Preparing Skin Optimally

Getting plaques under best possible control beforehand through medication adjustments reduces chances of flares or transfer infections during vulnerable healing. This also supports proper ink saturation for brighter colors.

Selecting Reputable Artist and Shop

Ensure meticulous sterile technique, fresh opened needles and FDA-approved inks to limit risks for contagious diseases or serious infections from contaminated tools or supplies. Ask to see documentation.

Practicing Proper Aftercare

Carefully follow provided directions on gentle cleaning, using thin ointments or creams only as recommended while avoiding picking scabs. Bandaging if needed prevents rubbing by clothing but requires more frequent washing. Report concerning changes promptly.

Long-Term Outlook on Tattoos with Well-Managed Psoriasis

By laying vital groundwork before ever entering the tattoo studio combined with responsible aftercare once home, psoriasis patients can indeed enjoy gorgeous lasting body art without activating significant troublesome plaques or flares. The thousands choosing awesome ink designs despite contending with this burden stand as shining testaments that some extra planning pays off wonderfully long term. So consider fun possibilities without fear by reaching out for proper guidance armed with key insights for success.


While presenting extra hurdles to overcome, having psoriasis clearly does not prevent one from safely enhancing appearance through thoughtfully planned tattoos using smart strategies minimizing risks of complications. But ensuring disease stability and skin resilience beforehand remains imperative for optimizing outcomes plus avoiding potentially serious consequences like rampant infections or uncontrolled flaring. With forthcoming communication between patients, artists and doctors at each step however, fabulous artistic self-expression through glorious everlasting tattoos is very achievable long-term when living with psoriasis.

Main Takeaways

  • Choose location carefully, avoiding unstable plaques
  • Prepare skin proactively through best possible disease control pre-procedure
  • Select reputable artist and shop using meticulous sterile technique
  • Practice proper aftercare with gentle washing and moisture balance
  • Report any concerning tattoo changes promptly

Staying vigilant by understanding key risks then diligently implementing precautions pays dividends enabling those with psoriasis to enjoy awesome tattoos safely like anyone else. With reasonable planning, there is no reason to deny yourself during flares or stability alike. So discover inner beauty outwardly with ink artistry despite psoriasis!

Frequently Asked Questions About Tattoos and Psoriasis

Should I treat plaques first before getting a tattoo?

Yes, optimizing disease control by resolving active inflammation beforehand minimizes risks of flaring and transfer skin infections during the vulnerable healing period. Well-managed skin also supports better ink saturation for brighter bolder tattoo results.

How long should I wait between treatments and new tattoos?

Avoid tattooing until at least one month after completing any intensive topical or systemic psoriasis treatments. This allows confirming stability before undergoing elective injury possibly inciting fresh plaques. Discuss timing with your doctor.

Can I still have light therapy with tattoos over plaques?

Existing darker tattooed areas will block some penetration of UV/laser light impacting potential benefits treating covered psoriasis plaques. But moderately sized finer line ink work causes less shielding issues typically. Discuss options with both your artist and dermatologist early.

What aftercare is best for my new tattoo with psoriasis?

Carefully follow provided cleaning instructions without over-washing while gently applying recommended moisture products only if needed to avoid over-drying. Watch for signs of infection closely and report concerning changes urgently since higher risks exist. Avoid bumps or skin scratches over the tender healing tattoo.

How can I tell infections versus flare ups with new tattoos?

Infections cause isolated redness, warmth and pain confined just to the tattooed area itself, sometimes with pus or oozing from penetration by bacteria. In contrast, immune-mediated flare ups manifest as new wider plaques arising irregularly around previous stable surrounding skin triggered by the immune stimulation.

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