How to Safely Get a Tattoo If You Have Diabetes

Plenty of people argue that you shouldn’t get a tattoo if you have diabetes because you’re more prone to infections and have more trouble healing than people without the disease.

But here at The Diabetes Site, we don’t believe in letting diabetes control our lives. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, and there are certainly some precautions you should take before getting one, but if you have diabetes and you want a tattoo, we say go for it!

If you’re going to go under the needle, make sure you check that the tattoo parlor has the proper license and is regularly inspected and cleaned, just like you would if you didn’t have diabetes. They should use a new needle just for you and use an autoclave machine to sterilize their equipment between clients. But those are things you should check anyway:

Tattoo artist at work close up

The only added precaution you need to take is making sure your diabetes is well controlled before getting your tattoo. Whacky HBA1C levels may cause healing to take longer, putting you at risk of an infection. If you’re not sure whether you’re healthy enough to get a tattoo, consult your doctor. But if you’ve got a handle on your health, getting a tattoo doesn’t need to be any more risky than it is for anyone else.

But why settle for safe when you could get life-saving? If you wait a few years, your tattoo could actually help you stay healthy. With the help of rapidly changing technology, glucose-sensing tattoos may soon replace your meter and help you monitor your blood sugar. While these color-changing tattoos are currently too temporary and inaccurate for use as a glucose-measuring tool, we hope it won’t take more than a few years for this important technology to become a way of life for people with diabetes. You’d never have to worry about bringing your meter with you or pricking your finger again!

Medianet DBS
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?