What the red tattoo ink hides

by Science Editor

Could this be a new treatment for granulomatous reaction to red tattoo pigment. Allopurinol emerges as an important drug for the management of granulomatous reactions caused by tattoo pigments, based on the significant clinical improvement noticed during its use.

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What the red stain of the tattoo hides.


The authors present a case report of a 14 year old boy who began to develop papules and hyperkeratotic nodules in the areas of the tattoo impregnated with red ink within two weeks after being tattooed. Photographs of the skin reaction, Doppler skin ultrasound and histopathology images are provided in the report.

Industry Significance Rating:

Medium - Industry wide monitoring is recommended.


Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 1 September 2015.

Authors: Ruiz-Villaverde R, Cuenca-Barrales C, Aguayo-Carreras P.
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Age restrictions for tattooing differ markedly across the European region presently in Spain it appears that a juvenile is able to undergo tattooing as young as the age of 14-16 with parental consent in some parts of the country.

Ruiz-Villaverde et al. note in this case that "Inflammatory reactions to tattoo inks can adopt very different clinical forms: hyperkeratotic, nodular, plaque, exudative, ulcero-necrotic, and may have a period of latency varying from weeks, months or years". For this reason tattoo technicians should not attempt to diagnose or determine the significance of inflammatory skin reactions on or near tattoos as this requires medical expertice.


Clients who develop skin reactions on or near a tattoo should be referred to the clients treating doctors for evaluation.


Scientific Report, body art tattoo, red ink, juvenile tattooing, lymphohistiocytic inflammatory reaction


The Education Team here at CTshop.com.au keeps a close eye on the scientific and medical literature for new publications relating to cosmetic and medical tattooing that may be of interest to customers. The intent is to alert industry members to important publications within the literature to expand the knowledge base particularly in relation to high impact reports.

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