Think Twice Before Getting a Tattoo

  • By Bae Jun-yong

    January 02, 2021 08:50

    The army and police recently revised regulations so that people with inoffensive tattoos can serve in the forces. The changes come as tattoos, once associated with organized crime in Korea, have become popular among young people from all walks of life.

    However, doctors caution that tattoos can be a health hazard and advise young people to think twice before getting one.

    Dermatologists advise against tattoos due to the potentially harmful effects for the skin. Tattoos are applied with needles that push ink under the skin layer. This can cause infections and even lead to skin decay. In some cases, tattoo ink particles have been found in people's lung tissue. 

    Crackdowns on illegal tattoo parlors have often led to the discovery of ink with excessive amounts of lead, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals.

    According to the Korean Dermatological Association, 55 percent of people with tattoos regret them later.

    Dermatologist Choi Kwang-ho said, "I often see cases where people who got tattoos out of curiosity when they were young come to have them removed when they get older. They can only be removed with lasers."

    The lasers cause particles only in the parts of skin that have been tainted by ink to explode.

    Dermatologist Lim Ee-seok said, "Laser removals of large and dark tattoos in the back and arms, where the skin is close to the bone, can leave scars because the thick layers of skin do not heal as well. The process is quite painful even with painkillers, and it costs a lot of money." 

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