Tattoos and autoimmune diseases: Been reading a... - Thyroid UK

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Tattoos and autoimmune diseases


Been reading a bit about the link between tattoos and auto immune diseases.

I have one tattoo, taken 1998, a year before getting symptomatic. Well it might a coincidence as my immune system was compromised already as I had another condition going on from 1993 (which I just found out). So maybe the tattoo did not trigger anything, but I wonder if possible mercury could have worsened things. My tattoo is not big but main color was red which apparently contains mercury. Of course after all these years colors not so bright anymore.

Would removing tattoo at this point make any difference ? Does the heavy metals vanish during the years , does the ink contain less heavy metals?

I do not know if I have a build up any heavy metal in my body as I don't have money to test it. Just wondering if the tattoo could still sort of leak heavy metals.

15 Replies

Justiina, I don't have tattoos but still developed Hashimoto's. It is probably an accumulation of things which trigger Hashimoto's rather than any one thing.

Justiina in reply to Clutter

Yup. I think my trigger was antibiotics as the fatigue started before getting a tattoo, other symptoms came later. I was just speculating if the heavy metal load could be something that can prevent healing.

Clutter in reply to Justiina

Justiina, heavy metal toxicity can cause health issues but I have no knowledge about whether the dyes in tattoos contain metals.

Plenty of people have huge tattoos, but Don't have Hashi's. :)

Justiina in reply to greygoose

The question is if a person with autoimmune disease takes tattoo. Will it worsen it as colors might contain heavy metals and does it help removing them. Does the colors leak all the time and /or does the heavy metals build up in your body or when the colours are vanishing does it happen other way sort of pushing through the skin. Same that happen with removing them with laser.

greygoose in reply to Justiina

It would surprise me if anybody had the answers to those questions.

Justiina in reply to greygoose

Yeah. I guess I have too much time :P

Lisacp in reply to Justiina

Most tattoo parlors here in the States don't use the ink with metals anymore. I just got my first ones at 56, and was concerned about MRI's and he told me that the ink now has no mercury or other metals! Hope that helped!

jannyf in reply to greygoose

Life and health are not a one size fits all. Some people can do most everything right and still get autoimmune diseases. Some people can totally abuse themselves and not.

I have never had a tattoo but have often wondered about the ingestion of dyes into the body being unhealthy.

Justiina in reply to Joyia

That's what I started to wonder when I read about different colors containing different heavy metals. Is it enough to build up so much it can cause issues. Been trying to find proper info. I did find some articles linking tattoos to autoimmune diseases, but oh well some of those might be just random articles from people who don't like tattoos :D

We must remember the skin is a living breathing organ and whatever we place on it will be absorbed, so treat it with great respect.

I am considering to have a semi-permanent eye line tattoo. The tattooist told me the colour is vegan hence it usually only last 18 months and 2 years. I have over-active thyroid. After reading your post, I wonder dose hair dye also might trigger the disease?

I don't know if this is currently accurate, but according to this article, tattoo inks are completely unregulated by the FDA:

I too have autoimmune disorders - albeit a genetic proclivity - and many tattoos, particularly black. I was stretching today, after a long bout of illness (so far doctors haven't been able to track down the cause), looking in the direction of a teenage tattoo, I began to wonder what was in the ink and if others had noticed a correlation between AI disorders and tattoos. Then I discovered yes, there is a link. How tenuous is it? I don't know.

When I did the research as a kid, before getting tattoos, all I encountered in opposition was the hysteria of conventional squares and nothing of medical relevance. I believed I was choosing carefully and also, naively, thought surely such industries were regulated in terms of ink contents since makeup is regulated (somewhat?) and, for chrissakes, they sure make sure to check your age when you buy a beer or get a tattoo, and you can't smoke weed in public even in legal states. But evidently our US regulatory industries are even more arbitrary (or pro-eugenics) than I ever knew.

radishio in reply to radishio

My apologies; I just took note that you are likely in the UK.

I'm not certain what regulatory agencies you have over there, but I did confirm that the US FDA doesn't regulate ink ingredients any more than the EPA regulates fracking.

This study explores German subjects as well:

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