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Risks of tattooing and tattoo removal products and practices

In order to determine the risks of tattooing and tattoo removal products and practices, the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) has implemented a global process approach for the care of the person wishing to have a tattoo or permanent make-up.

The risks are structured according to 6 dimensions:

  • the act: definition, good practices;
  • the professional: scope of action, training;
  • the product/material: characteristics, proper use of inks, associated materials and lasers;
  • the person: precautions and contra-indications for different populations (general, young people, those with pathologies, prison environment);
  • information: data available, transmitted and traced before, during and after the procedure;
  • follow-up/monitoring/control: side effects, control of products, equipment and professionals.

The HCSP recommends, for example, that:

  • For minors, authorize tattooing only from the age of 16 with the written consent of a person with parental authority and limit the area and overall surface of the tattoo.
  • Consider changing the regulations to allow a professional tattooist to work in the prison.
  • For tattoo removal, prohibit all use of chemical products and reserve this act for doctors with exclusive recourse to a laser adapted to this act.
  • Create an "intervention" book to be given to clients where each tattooing and tattoo removal act will be noted with the components or materials used.
  • To set up for the persons carrying out tattoos or permanent make-up a continuous training via a refresher module every 5 years.
  • To entrust the broad dissemination of information and recommendations concerning tattoos and detattoos at the national level to a well identified structure, with for example the creation of "Tatoo Info Service".

All 45 recommendations of the HCSP aim to guarantee the "6 Right" throughout the tattooing or permanent make-up process, and possibly tattoo removal: "the right procedure carried out by the right professional with the right product, with the right person, with right information and right follow-up/monitoring".

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