Tattoo ink causes cancer, piercings cause keloids, dermatologist warns 

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Dr Uche Ojinmah, a Consultant Dermatologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, has warned against tattooing of the body as some substance in the ink could lead to cancer. 

On Sunday, Mr Ojinmah said Nigerians, especially youths, should be very cautious of what they put on their body as some things might cause bodily harm or lead to varying degrees of illnesses. 

“They should know that some of the ink can cause cancer, especially the coloured ink, so they should be careful with what they put on their skin in our environment where the sun is hot and ultraviolet rays are harsh. 

He said the red or green ink was more predominantly prone to triggering cancer, unlike the black ink. 

“Also, it is easier to apply a tattoo than to remove a tattoo, so why do they even do all these things in the first place?” he asked. 

He, however, said that he was not aware of tattoos causing liver or kidney problems except if the dye used reacted with the body’s other properties. 

On body piercing, Mr Ojinmah who is also the National President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said that body piercing could lead to large keloids in some people. 

He said keloids were an exuberant wound healing, following a minor injury such as popping a pimple which would cause the skin to continue growing. 

“People should also know that dark pigmentations or blackspots can follow minor injuries on their skin. 

“I’ve seen somebody that went for a second ear piercing and ended up with a large keloid on the ear and of course infections into the skin can also occur. 

“I am not a priest, neither am I a Bishop to say don’t do or do; we should understand the implication and it also has a social connotation determining the way people will read you and see you,” he said. 

A tattoo is a permanent mark, word, figure or design made on the skin with pigments inserted through pricks into the skin’s top layer, while body piercing is the piercing of holes in parts of the body other than the ear to insert rings or other pieces of jewelry. 

Tattooing and body piercings are fast becoming a fashion statement, with tattoo inks containing toxic elements such as cobalt, aluminium, mercurial sulfide, lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, titanium and other substances. 

Also, the equipment used in body piercings and tattooing, if contaminated with infected blood, could increase the risk of transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B and C.  

(NAN) 

 

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