Safer Tattoos

More than one in five adults in the U.S. has a tattoo. Consumer Reports' medical experts have important safety advice.

David Beckham boldly flaunts his tattoos in this H&M commercial. And fans websites for celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rihanna are totally devoted to the singers' tattoos and what they mean. Big or small...tattoos are now mainstream.

Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoos says, "These days everybody comes in to get tattooed. I tattooed a hedge fund manager a while ago."

But getting a tattoo does pose health risks. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a report on tattoo-related skin infections in several states caused by contaminated ink.

And Consumer Reports' Medical Adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur says concerns go beyond skin infections.

Dr. Avitzur says, "In many areas, tattoo shops are completely unregulated so infection prevention practices can vary, that creates a risk for HIV and hepatitis."

But there are ways you can reduce your risks.

Dr. Avitzur says, "I'm surprised by how many patients tell me they were intoxicated when they got their tattoos. So it's important to keep a clear head. Never drink before you ink."

And Katy Perry's, "The One That Got Away" video showcases another don't-homemade tattoos.

Instead find an experienced tattoo artist. And check that the artist uses individually packaged single-use kits with disposable needles and tubes and wears sterile disposable gloves.

Remember, tattoos aren't easily removed.

Michelle Myles says, "You don't want to be stuck with something that's really ugly or that down the line you're going to regret."

Consumer Reports says be aware there are no standard regulations for training or licensing tattoo artists.

And it advises if you see any sign of rash or infections, consult a doctor.

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