- by Dr Vivekananda Bhat
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- Apr 01 2017
Does Vitiligo Affect Tattoos
Vitiligo is the depigmentation of skin causing white patches to occur on different parts of the body. The quantity and size of these patches can vary from very big patches covering the entire limbs, face, back to smaller patches that can be easily concealed with clothing or cosmetic products that blend the patches with the tone of the skin.
Vitiligo affects social life
Vitiligo, although harmless is more of a social disease. The white patches are seen as a taboo by many who misunderstand it as a communicable skin disease. Vitiligo patients often undergo social anxiety and emotional stress due to their physical appearance and may face loss of self confidence and seclusion. It becomes important for them to seek Treatment for Vitiligo or come with a coping strategy to cover up their white patches and live a normal life.
Does Vitiligo affect Tattoos?
Getting a tattoo on skin to cover the affected area is something that many Vitiligo patients think of as an easy solution to mask their tattoos. But before doing something like that, it’s wise to learn about the pros and cons of getting a tattoo.
Vitiligo does not directly affect tattoos that already exist on the skin, as Vitiligo only affects the natural skin pigment occurring in our body known as melanin. The permanent ink of tattoo is deposited deep into the dermal layer and does not go any changes to alter the tattoo on skin.
However, as the surrounding skin loses skin pigment, the tattoo may look more prominent or change its colour due to change in the skin colour itself.
Getting a Tattoo for Vitiligo is good or bad?
Getting a Vitiligo tattoo treatment is often a decision that varies from individual to individual. Let’s look at some of the factors that must be considered before getting a tattoo for Vitiligo.
Is your Vitiligo active?
The most important factor is to check if the patient is not getting any new patches. As Vitiligo is triggered by abrasion, rubbing and impact on skin, a Vitiligo tattoo cover may cause a new patch to develop at the tattoo location.
A Vitiligo tattoo rarely matches with the skin colour all the time.
The skin keeps changing its colour tone through different seasons and aging. If the white patch is big and prominently placed on visible parts like face, forearms, elbows and neck etc. getting a Vitiligo tattoo may not be very helpful.
The tattoo may not help at all if the white patch grows bigger than the tattoo itself.
The white patches can grow bigger in any direction and that will make the masking using Vitiligo Tattoo ineffective and worsen it even more. Removal of a permanent tattoo is very expensive and may further stress the skin causing Vitiligo patches to form.
Vitiligo Micropigmentation Tattooing Technique
However, if a patient after all the considerations qualifies for a Vitiligo tattoo, he can opt for Vitiligo Micropigmentation tattoo. In this technique, the pigment of tattoo is made to closely resemble the skin to offer better masking while covering the patches.
It is advisable to first try this technique on a covered part of the body like the back or legs, to test the results and complications before going for body parts like face and arms.
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