Blog In Less Than 30 Seconds:
- Tattoos have remained a popular commodity for generations of people, especially Millennials, who make up the majority of those tattooed in the United States (40%).
- In some instances, it is possible to tattoo over varicose veins; however, doing so could lead to a distorted tattoo or worse: ruptured veins, spontaneous bleeding, or an infection.
- In this blog, the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center explain the negative effects tattooing over varicose veins can have on a patient’s health.
What is Tattooing?
Tattooing is a unique body modification technique that injects ink into layers of the skin using a special needle attached to a rotary or coil machine. This process creates permanent designs in the skin that can only be removed by a high-powered laser skin-resurfacing device. Tattoos often have a cultural significance or meaning to them, which is why getting one can be a very tough, yet personal decision.
Many people may be surprised to learn tattoos have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest known examples of tattoos dating back 5,200 years. Fortunately, tattooing tools have evolved since then, so the physical act of tattooing is relatively safe. We say “relatively” because tattooing is really only its safest when the tattoo artist practices all of the safety and sanitary guidelines necessary to prevent infection and other complications.
Tattooing and Varicose Veins
Patients at Palm Vein Center often ask questions about what activities they can and cannot do with a venous disease like varicose veins. While there is little a person can’t do, there are a few things the team at PVC recommends patients avoid at all costs, one of these being a tattoo.
There are many blogs, videos, and public forums that say otherwise, but the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center want to inform patients that tattooing over varicose veins is not a good ideafor many reasons.
1. Decreased Function, Unsightly Appearance, and Infection
First, patients should understand that tattooing is not a great alternative to minimizing the appearance of varicose veins. In fact, doing so could worsen the condition they’re in and cause them to bulge or protrude even more. While tattooing over scar tissue can be done safely (mastectomy scars, stretch marks, etc.), tattooing over varicose veins could lead to an infection, making them even more unsightly than before. Many websites will argue tattoo needles don’t go deep enough to puncture varicose veins, but that is not necessarily true. If a patient lacks an adequate amount of subcutaneous fat near or around the protruding vein, a tattooing needle could pierce the vein as it is injecting ink. These occurrences are rare, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. The bottom line? Tattooing over varicose veins can result in decreased function, an unsightly appearance, and possible infection.
2. Tattoos Make It Difficult To Treat A Venous Disease
People need to understand spider veins and varicose veins are not a cosmetic concern – they’re a disease. Both conditions indicate that the valves within the veins are not functioning properly, which is why varicose veins look the way they do (bulging, thick, snake-like, etc.). Varicose veins that are left untreated could lead to serious health problems such as skin ulcers, poor circulation, pain, skin discoloration, hemorrhaging, and much more. Therefore, it’s best to avoid getting tattooed and instead opt for vein treatment.
Speaking of vein treatment, tattooing over varicose veins could also make administering treatment difficult for the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center. The team at the IAC-accredited vein care facility needs to be able to see your veins clearly to ensure treatment accuracy and efficacy. Although the medical team at Palm Vein Center is highly qualified and knowledgeable in treating varicose veins and spider veins, tattoos could complicate the process and increase your risk of developing serious health problems.
3. Threatens Overall Health and Wellness
This may seem like an obvious point, but as we mentioned previously, tattoos could cause significant damage to your overall health if a varicose vein is pierced or damaged in the process. This could cause spontaneous internal and external bleeding, which can affect surrounding organs. Plus, when a varicose vein bleeds, it usually has some difficulty healing itself because it is an unhealthy, damaged vein. In these cases, patients may need to visit a vein clinic, urgent care facility, or emergency room to have their ruptured vein sutured closed. This could cause increased stress and affect a patient’s overall health and wellness. Ultimately, patients should consider treatment before getting a tattoo.
Treatment Vs. Tattooing
To avoid some of these scenarios, patients should see the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center before scheduling their tattoo appointment. If your vein condition and symptoms are relatively mild, a specialist at the clinic may recommend conservative therapies such as exercise, dietary changes, elevating the legs, therapeutic massage, or compression stockings. While these options are favorable for most patients, they may not be the most effective at successfully mitigating the existing vein disease. Instead, patients may fare better with minimally invasive vein treatments like light-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, or VenaSeal Closure.
Light-guided sclerotherapy is an injection procedure for patients with spider veins and small varicose veins, and endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, and VenaSeal Closure are minimally invasive surgeries for larger varicose veins that may require local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance.
The most important thing a patient can do is educate him or herself on the causes, symptoms, and treatments for venous diseases like spider veins and varicose veins. Check out our Vein Disease page to learn more about these conditions, and for more information on this topic (tattooing and varicose veins), schedule an appointment with a member of the Palm Vein Center team today. Please call 623-201-4777; we look forward to meeting you!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.