Tattoo Shops Pose Infection Risk

Risk of hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis and HIV.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — A report from the UK Royal Society for Public Health has warned that shops providing tattoo and piercing services pose possible risk of infectious disease. It has called for tightening of regulations and laws governing the operations of such shops.

Currently, any person is able to open up a shop and offer such services despite not having proper training.

NHS England has said to the BBC that higher standards were “long overdue”.

One in five adults in the UK have a tattoo.

The report examined special procedures such as tattooing, cosmetic piercing, acupuncture and electrolysis.

As they involve the skin being pierced, there is risk of bacterial infection should the wounds not be given good care by the shop technician and customer.

The report described how a teenager developed an infection after an ear-piercing was forced be placed on a drip and had the top of her ear removed.

Infections could result in diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis and HIV. Outbreaks of infection have been linked to tattooing and piercing in the UK.

The Royal Society for Public Health’s report states the following recommendations:

  • non-surgical cosmetic procedures like dermal fillers to be made illegal for under 18 years old
  • any infections linked to special procedures must be reported to local councils or health protections teams
  • tattoo and piercing equipment can only be sold to people with a licence or registration documents
  • dermal fillers to be included in laws around special procedures, e.g tattooing, piercing etc

NHS England has called for all providers of cosmetic procedures, including fillers and injections, to be registered with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners.

Plastic surgeons support the call for non-surgical cosmetic procedures to be restricted to over-18, unless there is a medical need.

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