Getting a tattoo with Type 1 diabetes

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Hello everyone, welcome to my editorial 🙂 My name is Stéphanie, I’m 42  years old, I’m a nurse, and I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes for 27 years, and I also became a mother in 2017, of a child living with T1D.

I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo. First on my shoulder, and then on my ankle. But before taking the plunge, I had a lot of questions: is it possible to get a tattoo when you are T1D? Are there any contraindications? What about the healing period?..  I can now tell you everything about getting a tattoo when you live with Type 1 diabetes! 

Reminder: a tattoo is a wound made on the epidermis in which ink is injected to create a nice indelible drawing.

Can you get a tattoo if you have Type 1 diabetes? 

Living with Type 1 diabetes does not man you can’t get tattooed. However, in addition to the hygiene measures that apply to everyone, it is recommended to take a few particular precautions. It is strongly recommended that your diabetes be balanced. Don’t forget to tell your tattooist that you have Type 1 diabetes and to talk to your doctor if you have any doubts.

Will my tattoo heal well if I have Type 1 diabetes? 

Controlled diabetes does not present any particular risk for healing. Chronic hyperglycemia could however lead to delayed healing.

Am I at risk for infections? 

People living with Type 1 diabetes must be all the more vigilant in their care management. The tattoo artist must be informed of your diabetes. Then, an increased surveillance of the signs of infection (redness, heat, pain…) must be observed after getting the tattoo. 

Follow the recommendations that will be given to you at the tattoo parlor.

It is very important that your skin be well hydrated and if you have a job that is risky regarding your tattoo, protect it with a bandage. A non-healed tattoo remains an open wound, you need to avoid microbes getting in there.

Should my tattoo be limited to a certain area and/or a size?

Not if the precautions are well respected. It is however advisable to avoid the shins, ankles and feet as much as possible, as well as your insulin injection areas, as they may be more difficult to heal. 

Do you know about innovative tattoos? 

Researchers have developed a type of tattoo that changes colors depending on the body’s pH, albumin and blood sugar levels. 

The sensor measures blood sugar levels and changes the color of the tattoo’s filling from light green to dark green depending on the concentration of glucose.

Think it could change your life? Right now, it’s only at its clinical trials stage! To be continued…

If you’re sure, GO! 

Once you have chosen the design or message that is important for you to get tattooed on your skin, you are ready to take the next step with all the keys to artistic success! Try to get tattooed in autumn or winter, because you should avoid sun exposure and swimming.

During your tattoo session, your blood sugar level may increase due to stress, pain, the duration of the tattoo session… Don’t panic, there is nothing abnormal! Usually, everything is back in order the next day 😉

However, if the tattoo session is particularly long, remember to give yourself breaks, especially to take rescue carbs if you are prone to hypoglycemia.

If you feel the need to discuss your tattoo project with your diabetologist, don’t hesitate! 

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