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Viewpoint |

The Need for Greater Regulation, Guidelines, and a Consensus Statement for Tattoo Aftercare

Walter Liszewski, MD1; Jared Jagdeo, MD, MS2,3,4; Anne E. Laumann, MBChB, MRCP (UK)5
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Internal Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans
2Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento
3Dermatology Service, Sacramento VA Medical Center, Mather, California
4Department of Dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York
5Department of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(2):141-142. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4000.
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This Viewpoint on tattoo aftercare recommends the creation of evidence-based best practices that state public health departments and tattooists can use to improve care.

Tattoos are becoming increasingly common worldwide. In the United States, at least 21% of all Americans have 1 or more tattoos.1 Despite this, tattooing is minimally regulated. In the United States, tattoo inks are considered cosmetic products and are not subject to monitoring by the US Food and Drug Administration.2 As a consequence, there are no nationwide policies to ensure the sterility or contents of tattoo ink. In addition, there is no central oversight of individual tattooists. Instead, regulation occurs at the state or local level.24 Requirements, including those for training in sterile technique skills, preventing bloodborne pathogen transmission, wearing gloves, having biohazard disposal, licensing to operate a tattoo parlor, and requiring adverse event reporting, vary by location.1,5

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