Tattoos and immunosuppressants

thistlegirl Member Posts: 229
edited 2. Feb 2016, 17:07 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi, it has been a long time since I have posted here but I thought I would tap the vast experience here.

I am looking for anyone who has got a tattoo done while on immunosuppressants. I am on rituximab, mycophenolate and steroids.

I have am 37 years young. I have had JRA since I was 18 months old. I have also been on most medications out there over the past 35 years.
I have gotten 2 substantial tattoos done in the past 2 years. The first one I got shingles closely after, the second I had no issues at all. Both done in a high quality studio.
I did not think to discuss with my doctor with these previous tattoos but my meds have changed now, mycophenolate and steroids have been added, so I thought I would check.....
My gp said as long as it is a good studio following the set sterile practice she couldn't see why not but she suggested that I also talk to my consultant. My consultant is great but from our conversation not a fan of tattoos. She said it was up to me to risk infection and to think why I wanted the tattoo....I could almost see her peering over her glasses at on over the phone line!
I want the tattoo in memorial of mum who passed suddenly last summer, my 2 sisters and I are all getting similar tattoos in her memory. This is not spur of the moment, I have been planning this piece for years and have added to it to reflect my memories of my mum.

I would love to hear from anyone with experience in this. I will be taking immune boosting vitamins before and after, on top of what I already do.

Thank you in advance



  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's lovely to see you back and I hope your health is now on an even keel again. I'm sorry to hear the sad news about your mother though.

    We each decide which risks we're prepared to take. I rode horses with two TKRs and two THRs but, after the knee revision, my surgeon wasn't happy about my continuing so I reckoned I could no longer justify it.

    I confess I cannot see the attraction of tattoos but those who have them seem to find them quite addictive.

    I can only speak as an immunosuppressed Mum. After all the blood, sweat and tears of raising them to be as healthy as possible I'd be furious with my two sons if they took any health risks in memory of me and would much prefer them to make a donation to one of my favourite charities or plant a tree or, in fact, do anything that would make a positive difference for others.

    How did your mother feel about your other tattoos? Is it something she'd have liked you to do?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • scouting
    scouting Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi. I'm tattooed and have been whilst on steroids. No problems here. I think if the consultant does not say you are at increased risk and it is a reputable tattoo salon and it's what you want to do then it's entirely your choice.

    I want more tattoos but it's finding the disposable income for it lol
  • PetiteN
    PetiteN Member Posts: 87
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Thistle,

    The memorial tattoo sounds like a lovely idea.
    I love art and expression.

    I'm 33, and have been tattooed whilst on treatment a couple of times (I've had JIA since I was 2).

    The last tattoo I had the colour refreshed on my foot last summer- at the time I was on mycophenalate, inflectra and steroids. (No longer on mycophenalate).

    I didn't have any problems with healing, and never have had. I always go to an excellent studio, and I used antibacterial wash for cleaning the tattoo regularly during healing, and dry with paper towels, before using bepanthen. I also put paper towels over the bedding where the tattoo rested at night whilst it heals- basically just very clean and careful!

    Good luck if you decide to go ahead :-)

    N x
  • thistlegirl
    thistlegirl Member Posts: 229
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for the responses, guys

    Sticky- Arthur is misbehaving, I have been on 15mg steroids for a couple of months as the infusion and mycophenolate were not working enough. My JRA seems to do these cycles every few years when it kicks off and reminds me who's boss. Add to that a very hectic work schedule and my mum's death I think my body just needs some help for a bit. I have given myself 2 more months on the steroids and I am already decreasing the dose. Until I win the lottery and don't have to work then I have to up the meds until I can cope with work and Arthritis together.

    We are a creative family, with my Mum as the teacher- Drawing, knitting, patchwork, painting, stained glass...basically everything crafty.
    Would she ever get a tattoo herself-NO! Did she want to be involved in planning my next piece, nope, but she raised us all to be individuals and express ourselves however we wanted as long as it doesn't harm others. She will be raising her eyebrow at me from wherever she is but she will have a smile on her face as well.

    Yes the money is tough. I put a tenner in a cup in July when we first decided to get ink done. I then have tried to put at least £10 in a week since. Add to that a birthday and Christmas my ink fund is doing good. Just as well as I am looking at covering half my back- spread over at least 3 sessions between now and Easter.
    It's a lot of money but I am not thinking of the total, I will be starting at the shoulder and work down until the money runs out, then fill the cup again!

    When I first got into tattoos I did think about what I get in memorial of my parents when the time came, in an abstract way, I just didn't think it would be so soon.

    I will ask my gp again if there is anything she wants to do, I have read of some people taking antibiotics before and after ink, like they would do if they were going to the dentist but they were more organ replacement patients on mycophenolate. I am healing pretty well on these meds, unlike some of the others I have been on so hopefully things go smooth. My first appointment is in 2 weeks so fingers crossed.

    Thanks again