Many people like to express themselves in the form of body art. If you have psoriasis, however, it's worth thinking about the additional risks that may be involved if you decide to go down this route. Although it's possible to get a tattoo if you experience psoriasis, it may not always be a wise decision for everyone.
The main issue with getting a tattoo if you have psoriasis is that the procedure breaks the skin, thus causing trauma to the surrounding area. Skin trauma can be a trigger for psoriasis flare-ups in some people.
In one-in-four people with psoriasis, getting a tattoo causes psoriasis lesions to develop at the tattoo site. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon . In some cases, this can happen within a few days or weeks after having the procedure, but it may even appear years later.
Unfortunately, there is no real way of knowing which sufferers of this skin disease may be vulnerable to the Koebner phenomenon following a tattoo. If you tend to develop psoriasis patches after getting cuts or grazes to the skin, this may suggest you could be prone to this phenomenon.
Another possible consequence of having a tattoo if you suffer from a skin disease like psoriasis is that the tattoo may become discoloured.
If you do decide to get a tattoo, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor or dermatologist first for relevant advice, so you can properly weigh up the risks together. Be certain that you aren't just getting a tattoo to cover up any psoriasis patches.
Choose your tattoo artist with care, and make sure they follow robust health and safety procedures. You should mention that you have psoriasis to the tattoo artist. In some cases, you may be advised to change the location where you want the tattoo if lesions are present, or you may be advised to wait if you are currently experiencing a flare-up. It's worth bearing in mind that some tattoo artists may not carry out the work on people with psoriasis.
As you don't know how your psoriasis will react from the tattooing procedure, it's a good idea to only get a small one done initially to see how your body reacts. If lesions do develop on the skin following a tattoo, consult your doctor or dermatologist for appropriate psoriasis treatment to help clear the patches up.