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Prof. Luca Valgimigli, Scientific Director

Tattooing is a form of communication, a form of art in which one's skin is used as a painter's canvas, a way to express oneself and talk about oneself, just as clothing and body care are.

This form of visual art has seen its popularity and diffusion grow exponentially in the last 20 years, raising important questions; one of these in particular: how should I treat tattooed skin?

Our skin is certainly not a canvas, as it is alive and constantly changing. In doing so it inevitably interacts with the pigments it hosts, with two important consequences. The first is that the pigments could cause inflammatory or allergic interactions; the second is that the pigments could spread, be altered or be gradually removed, ruining the "painting".

What skin reactions can occur after a tattoo and how to intervene?

In a informative article the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) identifies several possible skin reactions that could occur following a tattoo.

Between these, the skin infection that could appear immediately after getting a tattoo or after a short time it is the most predictable, but also the easiest to manage, and can normally be avoided by an expert tattoo artist, with appropriate hygiene precautions and responsible behavior on the part of the tattooed person. However, if something goes wrong it is advisable to contact a doctor.

An allergic reaction to the pigment components could be more subtle and present itself even after years. In more severe cases it requires medical intervention, but in milder cases the problem can be transitory and can be treated with particularly delicate soothing-protective products such as  lino-dÉrmA designed for dermatitis in newborns, if you want to use a natural remedy without resorting to the classic cortisone ointment.

Photo-sensitization or "sun allergy" is another of the possible negative interactions, due to the fact that the pigments, although not in themselves toxic or irritating to the skin, absorb sunlight and can act as a energy transferors against the skin, causing erythema.

It is always advisable to expose yourself to the sun by protecting the tattooed areas with very high protection in the first periods after the tattoo, possibly with a very delicate, photostable and allergen-free product such as Sun Cream SPF50+ ; however, even when the tattoo is well "integrated" into our skin it is always advisable to expose ourselves to the sun with good protection such as Sun Cream SPF30 and renew the application several times in case of prolonged exposure.

In some rare cases, the tattoo could trigger inflammatory or autoimmune skin diseases such as psoriasis, vitiligo, lichen planus or others , acting as a trigger for a latent disorder, even without this being the real consequence of the pigments used in the tattoo.

Finally, rarely, some pigments could cause "skin burning" when undergoing medical diagnostic methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to their interaction with the strong magnetic and electromagnetic fields to which they are subjected.

How could the tattoo get damaged? What things should be avoided if you have a tattoo?

The first piece of advice indicated by AAD is to avoid petrolatum-based cosmetic products on tattooed skin! If there was a need for another good reason to avoid petrolatum, here it is: they cause the diffusion of pigment in the skin, discoloration of the tattoo and the appearance of "smudging" of the design.

The second good tip is to always protect the tattoo from the sun. In addition to the problem of photo-sensitization, which concerns our skin, tattoo pigments could undergo photo-degradation, i.e. be chemically damaged by the action of UV radiation, discoloring or changing color. So excessive exposure to the sun can cause obvious damage to the tattoo, which will be irreversible.

Finally, it is very important to avoid dehydration and dryness of the skin. Our skin continually loses water in the form of vapour, even if this process is slowed down by the protective hydrolipidic film.

Frequent cleansing, which is a proper hygienic requirement, depletes the hydrolipidic film, increasing dehydration. In addition to choosing delicate detergents that respect the hydrolipidic film such as Shampoo & Shower , it is always important to keep the skin hydrated by applying suitable products.

This applies to both men and women, and becomes indispensable in the case of tattooed skin. Poor hydration leads to desquamation (even if not apparent) and loss of pigment, with the consequence that the tattoo will gradually become more faded or discolored.

How to keep tattooed skin in perfect health while protecting the tattoo?

As we have seen, It is important to always keep your skin hydrated with delicate products that respect the skin's physiology . It is also important to avoid petrolatum and products containing them: contrary to what many mistakenly think, they can ruin the tattoo and cause discolouration.

It is advisable to moisturize the skin with a natural cream that soothes any irritation, protects the skin and maintains its elasticity. BeC recommends two formulations that contain all these requirements and are ideal for the health of tattooed skin: SE' , an entirely natural body cream very rich in antioxidants which also has a toning action on microcirculation and BodyBi an extremely delicate and light-touch organic cream, to meet the needs of different skin types.

Let's not forget to protect our tattoo from the sun: it is recommended to apply Sun Cream SPF30 every time we expose ourselves to the sun, possibly applying it for 15 minutes after exposure to give the skin time to fully absorb it.

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