Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding? Let’s be clear. Tattoo means a decorative and/or symbolic permanent design made on the skin. Previously, it was done mainly with ink or coal or tallow ink. Nowadays, inks containing industrial pigments are more commonly used. There are inks of different colors and even a transparent ink that reacts only to black light: this type of tattoo is called “UV” or “Blacklight” tattoo. Tattooing is considered a type of permanent bodily modification. The tattooing technique consists of injecting the ink directly under the skin using needles or other sharp objects. The ink is then deposited underneath the skin between the dermis and the epidermis. The depth of the injection varies from 1 to 4 mm depending on the skin types and body parts involved, the thickest areas are in the back of the body, on the elbows and on the knees. Tattooing has been practiced for thousands of years all over the world. It can be done for symbolic, religious or aesthetic reasons. In many civilizations, it is even considered a rite of passage, “thanks” to the pain that entails during the realization.
Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?
The temptation to tattoo the name of one’s own child once it has been born for many women is such that one immediately asks oneself whether it is possible or not. Tattoos, as mentioned, are made by injecting ink into the second or third layer of the skin (dermis) through a device that contains solid needles covered with ink that enter the skin hundreds of times to allow the drawing. However, there are no studies that have taken into account samples of women who make a tattoo while breastfeeding and that demonstrate the harmfulness of the ink, which is subject to regulations just like cosmetics. In addition, the molecules contained in tattoo ink are too large to pass into breast milk and then reach the baby who sucks its primary nutrient. In any case, it is suggested to wait at least until one year of life of the child simply and solely to be able to restore even the body of the mother tonicity and to allow then to recover completely from childbirth.
Breastfeeding and tattoos are enjoying a lot of popularity, and if you really don’t want to wait until the end of breastfeeding because the desire to decorate your body is so great, you have to be very careful in choosing the skill and seriousness of the tattoo artist, who could also refuse to do a tattoo to a Pregnant Woman or in the midst of breastfeeding. This is because there could be the possibility of local infections due to a little treatment in the post-tattoo. So, once you find that the study where the tattoos are made is safe, because they use sterilized needles and disposable gloves as any other type of precaution, you can do the much desired drawing on the body. The art of breastfeeding is not a problem and the mother who feeds her baby can rest easy, because there is no evidence to suggest that tattoos affect the breastfeeding relationship or have any effect on breast milk.
Painful areas for a tattoo
The pain experienced during tattooing is very subjective: some people can hardly tolerate it, others feel only a slight discomfort. Experience and the technique of the tattoo artist make a difference, in the realization of the tattoo. The feeling of pain is also affected by the size of the design (the smaller it is, the less it will hurt) and the degree of processing of the same (if the work requires several hours of work, it will be more difficult to tolerate). Another aspect not to be underestimated is the area in which you decide to engrave the drawing. Some parts of the body, in fact, are rich in nerve endings, so the perceived pain is higher than others and should be treated with extreme delicacy. Among the areas where it hurts most to perform a tattoo are knees, elbows and ankles. Very sensitive parts are certainly the skull, neck, side, spine and the area around the nipples. Also the armpits, the inner thigh, the groin and the feet are very painful.
Less painful areas for a tattoo
The execution of a tattoo is less painful in those areas where there are more rigid muscles, such as the outside of the biceps and the upper forearm. The discomfort is also tolerable in the thighs, shoulder blades, pectoral and abdominal areas.
Temporary and semi permanent tattoos
Temporary and semi-permanent tattoos can be made in various ways: drawn, glued or painted on the surface of the skin, with the exception of semi-permanent tattoos made in the same way as permanent tattoos. This practice is not always well accepted by the tattoo community, due to the contradiction between the permanent distinctive character of the “real” tattoo and the ephemerality of the temporary or semi-permanent one.
Henna tattoos are made with traditional or natural henna – a plant of the genus Lawsonia, species inert – not with black henna, which is very dangerous for the skin. The traditional use is practiced in the Maghreb countries; in India and Pakistan it is indicated as mehndī.
Originally, self-adhesive tattoos or decals were created for advertising purposes; they were on offer in packages of chewing gum or candy. They can be easily removed with water or rubbing them and are rarely of good quality. The durability of these tattoos has improved over the years, with more finesse and attention to detail. Currently they are distributed in many shops and cosmetic salons, as accessories. In 2011 a new type of temporary tattoo appeared, the dental tattoo. This new fashion from Japan consists in fixing a small decoration on the tooth using a glue to be dried with an LED lamp, which can be removed after a few days.
Permanent makeup is an aesthetic tattoo called an “indelible” tattoo – even though the pigments actually deteriorate after a few months or years. The process is the same as the classic tattoo, i.e. an injection of colours under the epidermis. It is usually done around or at the edge of the eyes or lips, to facilitate makeup or to redraw the eyebrows. It is not advisable to use permanent pigments because, with age, the eyebrows, eyes and mouth become deformed. At this point, the makeup should generally be reworked to mask the slip. In addition, during face-lifting and other cosmetic surgery, these features become deformed and unpleasant.
The semi-permanent tattoo is made like traditional tattoos but the ink is inserted only in the epidermis and is eliminated naturally with the renewal of the skin. In addition, so-called “biodegradable” inks can be used to facilitate pigment removal. This type of tattoo disappears after a minimum of three or five years. In some cases, it may take much longer or even remain partially indelible. Few scientific studies have been done in this field, but it is mentioned on many sites and forums that this type of tattoo can leave permanent marks and scars.
The extreme practice of tattooing eyeball
Eyeball tattooing is the latest fashion among tattoo lovers, although the practice is much discussed. Tattooers use a very fine needle to inject a pigment diluted with a small amount of antibiotic eye drops directly into the sclera (white part of the eye) so that it is distributed under the thin upper layer of the eye or conjunctiva. A single injection covers about a quarter of the eye, so several injections are needed to tattoo the entire sclera. The end result is an eyeball coloured in blue, green, red and black for life.
According to tattooists, the execution of the eyeball tattoo is painless and should not be harmful. However, for ophthalmologists the practice of tattooing themselves inside the eye is very dangerous and can cause infection, inflammation and blindness. The pigment, in fact, is inoculated with a series of injections just below the top layer of the eye, an area that is about a millimeter thick. The needle, therefore, can accidentally pierce sensitive parts, at the risk of causing permanent damage to the eye. It is no coincidence that several states are considering banning scleral tattoos.
A brief history of tattoos
Tattooing is a technique of body decoration used in many cultures, whose origin is very old. This practice was born to permanently underline the belonging to a small and limited group of a population, a political or spiritual class, a branch of the army, a more or less secret sect. The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian “tatau”, which means “to cut, to mark the skin”. Tattooing was also common among ancient Egyptians and Romans, American Indians, African Muslim nomads and Maori: each of these populations corresponded to precise decorative designs and meanings. In the Middle Ages, Coptic monophysites tattooed themselves to mark their Christian identity. At the end of the 19th century, the practice also spread among the aristocratic classes of the world. Today, the use of these symbols has transcended the original spiritual or tribal purpose and has become, rather, a personal search for expression, a form of transgression and a phenomenon of tendency.