MADRID, 29 April (EDITIONS) -
Tattoos are in fashion. It is quite frequent that we see someone who has tattoos. There is a specific regulation on the sanitary conditions in which these must be carried out, on the techniques and materials to be used, but you probably never before would have imagined that these can influence your longevity and your health.
We chatted at Infosalus with Dr. Vicente Mera, one of the most prestigious doctors worldwide in the field of anti-aging, European Awards in Medicine 2021 award, which accredits him as the best European doctor in the field of Antiaging Medicine precisely on this matter, by who dedicates a section to it in his book 'Young at any age' (HarperCollins).
"People get tattoos with great joy, without knowing the conditions and the substances that are applied to the skin, and that are also for life. The techniques have changed a lot, but in some places we continue with very rudimentary procedures and with very little hygiene. Also, there are long-term problems with tattoos that people ignore," remarks this longevity guru.
Thus, he points out that the substances used in tattoos, the dyes, are metals, and these are permanently introduced under the skin. "There are thousands of ink components whose composition, many times, although regulated by legislation, escapes conventional analysis", he points out.
Dr. Mera explains that tattoo inks consist of a pigment and a vehicle: "There are countless carrier solutions that improve the solubility and viscosity of the pigment, favoring its introduction under the skin. For its part, the substance that in Titanium dioxide can sometimes help to give nuances to primitive colors, thanks to the intense bleaching capacity of titanium nanoparticles which, under certain circumstances, become potentially carcinogenic," he adds.
Likewise, it indicates that other molecules are cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that constitute tattoos, which could also produce a certain degree of toxicity.
In addition, this benchmark in antiaging medicine reviews that, due to its foreign body characteristics, the introduction of pigment into the body, like any surgical act, can cause infections, allergic or inflammatory reactions; as well as long-term toxicity, even if it is carried out with all the sanitary guarantees.
In turn, he stressed that "special toxicological interest" have azo pigments, used as dyes in leather goods and in the textile industry, which have precisely been identified in inks for human tattoos. "These compounds, in theory, do not pose a health problem as long as they remain chemically intact, but it is possible that some bacteria or ultraviolet light can degrade them into potentially cardinogenic aromatic amines that are concentrated and excreted in the urine, being able to produce, for example, malignant tumors in the bladder", he details.
In the book, he recalls at the same time that according to the latest review of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), in force since 2022, some blue and green dyes will have to be withdrawn, and several thousand components that are no longer considered safe. .
In Dr. Mera's opinion, therefore, not only consumers, but also tattoo artists and doctors should be aware that tattoos are "more than just a simple decorative element", especially when they are applied to large surfaces of the skin. , or in poorly controlled environments.
He does specify at this point that "a small tattoo does not mean anything", although he affirms that those who tattoo practically the entire body, these people have long-term toxicity problems, and that later they are usually attributed to unhealthy habits, such as the person smoked, or drank, for example. "But tattoos themselves can have a serious health problem. Don't overdo it, but don't take it lightly either," he insists.
In short, maintains this longevity guru, many times we think that aging and health are given to us in general, and we do not realize that the impact of genetics is less than we think, and that the most important thing is the Lifestyle. "Here the great ignored are the toxins that surround us in our day to day, such as those used with these tattoos," he emphasizes.
Of course, he remarks on several occasions that he does not want to demonize tattoos, but he does want to draw attention to the long-term danger that introducing toxins, as is done with tattoos, can entail in this regard.
"The problem is that you wear one, but in the long run you end up wearing ten. You have to be careful, do them in the right places, use the right products, and there is precisely a regulation that is never complied with, it's as if you were wearing Botox in any hairdresser and it is a mistake. There are substances that have to be applied and with special characteristics. You have to know that this metal or other substances depending on the tattoo is for life, and this has effects. The organism tends to eliminate it and tend to detoxify, and the immunity and inflammatory system are affected," concludes Dr. Mera.