Tattoos could stave off common infections

Anyone who have tattoos on their bodies know how painful the process of inking was, but they do not have a strong sense of its good effects on their health. A recent study reveals that getting tattoos will strengthen the immune system, supporting us to fight against common infections.

Tattoos' effects

Statistics from Pew Research Center (2013) show that nearly 14% of the American have at least one tattoo on their bodies, costing approximately $1.65 billion each year. Most of these people do not face any complications after having tattoos. However, some allergic reaction or skin infection may happen in some people. What’s more, in case tattooting equipment is contaminated with infected blood, there is likelihood of contracting bloodborne diseases, namely tetanus and hepatitis B and C.

However, Dr. Christopher Lynn, professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama indicates that tattoos, on the other hand, do health good, which help fighting against colds, fever and other common diseases. Dr. Lynn and colleagues have worked out that multiple tattoos entail a lower reduction in immunoglobulin A levels.

29 individuals at the age of 18 to 47 took part in their tattoo studies in Leeds and Tuscaloosa, AL, between May-December 2012. Saliva samples from participants were collected both before and after being tattoo-ed. The samples was used to measure immunoglobulin A levels, the antibody acting as the first defence against common diseases, and cortisol, a kind of “stress hormone”.

Also, the number of tattoos, tattoo sessions, the time taken to have a tattoo, the percentage of tattoos in their bodies was collected as well.

As what they had anticipated, participants with the first tattoo saw a reduction in the levels of immunoglobulin A. In other words, having tattoos make people more susceptible to common infections.

However, people with more tattoos showed a lower reduction in immunoglobulin A levels. Dr. Lynn insists that it increases immune system resilience, which builds up with higher exposure to the stress of tattooing. He explains that after the stress response, the equilibrium returns. If you go on stressing your body again and again, your body will fix its internal set points in stead of coming back to the equilibrium.

The reaction against tattoos is just the same as the response towards physical exercises. For the very first times, the workout might make your muscles hurt, but along with the time, more workouts are practiced, the body will become much better at dealing with these stress.

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