Tattoos and diabetes: what you should be aware of

Written by Víctor Rosa


Getting a tattoo is not against the law if you are a person with diabetes. It is not even forbidden to get a piercing. However, it is recommended that you follow a series of guidelines and advice before injecting ink into your skin, as you are more susceptible to infection because your immune system may be altered.

Before the session 

If you know your skin, you’ve gained a lot. How it reacts to the ink and how it heals. If you are a person with diabetes, avoid those areas where you inject insulin. Also avoid those parts of the body with low blood circulation and avoid tattooing your feet, as an infection there can lead to gangrene and amputation.  

If you have good control, the risk of infection and poor healing is lower. Conversely, if your metabolic control is inadequate, improve it before you expose yourself. You should tell your doctor about your intention, and he or she will measure your haemoglobin concentration to tell you whether your blood glucose is adequate or not.  

Choosing a good practitioner is also essential. Make sure they comply with the appropriate health and hygiene measures. To do this, make a visit to the studio and find out about the different pigments, the sterilisation of the needles, the training that the workers have received and anything else that you don’t trust… Don’t forget to stress to the professionals that you are a person with diabetes. Everyone wants to have the right information, to carry out the session with the maximum precautions and with the necessary measures.

The day of the session 

Once you have followed the above instructions and made an appointment, you should prepare for it. Make sure you know how long the session will last, that it will not be detrimental to control your levels and avoid possible hypoglycaemia. Don’t forget to be accompanied by someone who knows your condition and to have your i-glucose meter with you. 

After the session 

Tattoos cause small wounds on your skin. You should be careful about infections. Good healing and hygiene can save you from acute ketoacidosis.  

Wash the area with an antiseptic or neutral pH soap and apply the cream recommended by the tattooist.  The tattoo should be kept covered with a non-stick, transparent dressing so that you can see that it does not become infected. If there are any symptoms of infection (pain, swelling or pus), see your doctor.

Otherwise, we hope you get a real work of art… and of course, that you won’t regret it in a few years.

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