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Tattooing type 1 diabetics


BLHellcat
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I have been searching for information on this for quite some time. I haven't seen much on it within the forums and I am really hoping you guys can help me out.

I myself am not a diabetic, I have been involved with quite a few tattoo shops for a better part of my life and I can honestly say that surprisingly I have never been present for anything related to tattooing a diabetic.

My issue right now is that my boyfriend is looking at getting his first tattoo. He has the design finalized (which was a work in progress for 2 years) and placement has been chosen. The last step I wanted to take was to get some good information on the steps he has to take (and the artist has to take) to ensure he gets quality work that will last through healing and years to come.

Unfortunately the internet has been telling me, "diabetics can get tattooed the exact same way as any other person." Which by the way I know is complete bullshit. At least when it comes to a type 1. I grew up with someone diabetic, and I know for a fact it is a bit of a different process.

First off, I do know anti-biotics before and after are generally a very helpful step. I know that regulating blood sugars for a while before will also help the process. Which I have been told for any type 1 would be generally doing regular blood sugars every 2-4 hours for the entire week previous to the appointment and ensuring to adjust diet/insulin to keep it steady. It will allow the immune system and bodies chemicals to balance easier and when the body hits stress mode from being tattooed will help he body fight infection and stay healthier throughout the process.

I know diabetics can generally run at different ph levels for the bodies fluids due to natural chemicals as well as medications they can be taking which is one of the reasons why I have been told that to get a better tattoo with a diabetic there are a few companies that supply inks which generally do better with diabetics.

So I guess overall my inquiries are:

1. Are there any inks that specifically are better to tattoo a diabetic with? The internet is being on both sides here and I would like to figure this out. He has had an autoimmune disorder in the past that was not related to his diabetes. So not only am I going to be pushing for quality inks but the artists we have narrowed it down to have all in the past had no problem ordering in specific inks for extra cost on customers had the requested it for the appointment. I want to knows if there really are inks that are pretty much specifically designed for people with auto-immune issues.

2. Any information on preparing him for this appointment. It is a side piece that is going to run approximately 14 inches high and 8 inches wide on his side/ribs. Likely done in more than one sitting but he has a high pain tolerance and I can see him being like me and usually a sitting ending with the artist calling it.

3. What we should be doing during the appointments, regular blood sugars? Should I bring food and drink just to make sure? Etc.

4. After care, obviously I know how to take care of a tattoo for myself, but is there anything special I should worry about with a diabetic? He has already been told my medical care professionals that anti-biotics should be administered both before and after the tattoo seeing as how having a massive open wound and already having an auto-immune disorder can be bad news bears. But is there anything else to help?

5. Is it true that it is harder for progressive diabetics to hold lines? Is it more likely for the ink to "bleed/blow out/feather"?

6. Information for finding the right artist to do the job knowing that tattooing a diabetic is different? His sister already has a bunch of tattoos done by someone who was not aware that changes should be made for a diabetic, and has ruined them. The artist I had around here who had some serious knowledge on tattooing a diabetic successfully and helped get her tattoos fixed up has moved out of the country and is not in a spot for me to contact her.

Essentially I just want to know everything I can about tattooing a diabetic to make sure he gets the right tattoo the first time, and we get him prepared and healed with little problems.

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I have been searching for information on this for quite some time. I haven't seen much on it within the forums and I am really hoping you guys can help me out.

I myself am not a diabetic, I have been involved with quite a few tattoo shops for a better part of my life and I can honestly say that surprisingly I have never been present for anything related to tattooing a diabetic.

My issue right now is that my boyfriend is looking at getting his first tattoo. He has the design finalized (which was a work in progress for 2 years) and placement has been chosen. The last step I wanted to take was to get some good information on the steps he has to take (and the artist has to take) to ensure he gets quality work that will last through healing and years to come.

Unfortunately the internet has been telling me, "diabetics can get tattooed the exact same way as any other person." Which by the way I know is complete bullshit. At least when it comes to a type 1. I grew up with someone diabetic, and I know for a fact it is a bit of a different process.

First off, I do know anti-biotics before and after are generally a very helpful step. I know that regulating blood sugars for a while before will also help the process. Which I have been told for any type 1 would be generally doing regular blood sugars every 2-4 hours for the entire week previous to the appointment and ensuring to adjust diet/insulin to keep it steady. It will allow the immune system and bodies chemicals to balance easier and when the body hits stress mode from being tattooed will help he body fight infection and stay healthier throughout the process.

I know diabetics can generally run at different ph levels for the bodies fluids due to natural chemicals as well as medications they can be taking which is one of the reasons why I have been told that to get a better tattoo with a diabetic there are a few companies that supply inks which generally do better with diabetics.

So I guess overall my inquiries are:

1. Are there any inks that specifically are better to tattoo a diabetic with? The internet is being on both sides here and I would like to figure this out. He has had an autoimmune disorder in the past that was not related to his diabetes. So not only am I going to be pushing for quality inks but the artists we have narrowed it down to have all in the past had no problem ordering in specific inks for extra cost on customers had the requested it for the appointment. I want to knows if there really are inks that are pretty much specifically designed for people with auto-immune issues.

2. Any information on preparing him for this appointment. It is a side piece that is going to run approximately 14 inches high and 8 inches wide on his side/ribs. Likely done in more than one sitting but he has a high pain tolerance and I can see him being like me and usually a sitting ending with the artist calling it.

3. What we should be doing during the appointments, regular blood sugars? Should I bring food and drink just to make sure? Etc.

4. After care, obviously I know how to take care of a tattoo for myself, but is there anything special I should worry about with a diabetic? He has already been told my medical care professionals that anti-biotics should be administered both before and after the tattoo seeing as how having a massive open wound and already having an auto-immune disorder can be bad news bears. But is there anything else to help?

5. Is it true that it is harder for progressive diabetics to hold lines? Is it more likely for the ink to "bleed/blow out/feather"?

6. Information for finding the right artist to do the job knowing that tattooing a diabetic is different? His sister already has a bunch of tattoos done by someone who was not aware that changes should be made for a diabetic, and has ruined them. The artist I had around here who had some serious knowledge on tattooing a diabetic successfully and helped get her tattoos fixed up has moved out of the country and is not in a spot for me to contact her.

Essentially I just want to know everything I can about tattooing a diabetic to make sure he gets the right tattoo the first time, and we get him prepared and healed with little problems.

Hi there, I am a type 1 diabetic that is 4 sessions into a full arm sleeve. 1 more to go in the next week.

I have been raising my blood sugars slightly on the day of the session to avoid any issues with hypos. I'll take with me a powerade and choc bar also just in case.

Before and after however as you said having tight control is the key. The sessions are two weeks apart and I have had no issues with healing. The ink as far as I know is the same as anyone else gets !

I think the skill of the artist is going to be key in regards to holding lines and blowing out etc. If his control is in check then he should be ok. Never heard of taking anti biotics but i guess this is important with the auto immune issues. Good luck !

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When I got tattooed by Katie Sellergren, my MIL inquired about getting tattooed as a diabetic and Katie said it's possible, the session just requires more breaks, and taking it slow. As for the snacks, aftercare, etc. I would definitely go to a professional that has been tattooing a long time and has tattooed diabetics. If you're located in Toronto, I believe The Pearl Harbor Gift Shop would be more than able to help you and your BF.

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Any artists you recommend personally from PHGS? I want to show him portfolios to get his opinion on how he feels about it.

What style is he interested in? They are all great I can say this with certainty as anyone there I or Mark Bee hasn't been personally tattooed by I've spent a good deal of time watching while hubby was being worked on.

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  • 3 months later...

My kid has type 1 diabetes. I know when exercising or rather playing his sugar level drops allot. Getting a tattoo takes allot out of you because you're constantly trying to suppress the pain. So I can imagine it affects your sugars. Eat a good meal, keep an eye on your levels during the session, bring some juice and a small snack with you to up your sugar levels if they drop.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can only speak for my best friend who has been a Type-1 Diabetic since he was 10 years old, now hes 30 years old...

He got a rather large back piece done in 1 6-hour session with very minimal breaks (1 or 2 at the most).

I'll have to ask him what he did to prep himself before hand but he told me recently that he slept through most of it (which I don't know was a good idea for the tattoo artist to keep continuing or not)..

His tattoo healed like normal, didn't have any infections or prolonged healing.

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Personally- I prefer that if tattooing someone with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes, Not to go below the waist, if possible and typically would avoid a lot of linework if possible (such as Celtic knot work). Aside from obvious health precautions, Ink seems to spread more with diabetics so lines that would normally be within the "limitations" of a person without diabetes may be too close to keep it from looking blurry later. I also try to advise against using a lot of aftercare. This is just an opinion and I do not speak for the admin or other artists on this page, however too much aftercare lotion on a diabetic person seems to cause the tattoo to take longer to heal and prolong the potential to develop an infection.. Like I said this is an opinion that I feel to be true based on past experiences- comments are welcome. Thanks

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  • 9 months later...

So my dad is actually a type 1.5 diabetic, but this thread fits anyway.

I posted the other day that I was going to take him to get a 60th birthday tattoo, his first. I think he was pretty excited to get it. Unfortunately on Sunday night he went on the internet and looked into getting tattooed as a diabetic. Most things he found said it was ok, as long as blood sugar was under control. Unfortunately there were warnings about getting tattooed, such as a diabetic has a higher chance of infection and potentially amputation as a result. Which is no doubt true, but even so the risk is extremely small.

So anyway, he bailed on the tattoo for now. Which I'm ok with, it's his arm after all. He wants to get his A1c number below 7, which apparently is a good indicator that your sugars are ok (currently he's at about 8-something). Still disappointing though, I was probably more excited than he was to go.

If there are other insulin-dependent diabetics on here who have been tattooed (and not had anything amputated as a result), please share your story!

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So my dad is actually a type 1.5 diabetic, but this thread fits anyway.

I posted the other day that I was going to take him to get a 60th birthday tattoo, his first. I think he was pretty excited to get it. Unfortunately on Sunday night he went on the internet and looked into getting tattooed as a diabetic. Most things he found said it was ok, as long as blood sugar was under control. Unfortunately there were warnings about getting tattooed, such as a diabetic has a higher chance of infection and potentially amputation as a result. Which is no doubt true, but even so the risk is extremely small.

So anyway, he bailed on the tattoo for now. Which I'm ok with, it's his arm after all. He wants to get his A1c number below 7, which apparently is a good indicator that your sugars are ok (currently he's at about 8-something). Still disappointing though, I was probably more excited than he was to go.

If there are other insulin-dependent diabetics on here who have been tattooed (and not had anything amputated as a result), please share your story!

Hi, posted earlier in this thread....type 1 diabetic now for 28 years (now 39 years old ). Have now got two full arm sleeves both around 20 hours each. Also have added a large chest plate. In four weeks I'm starting a full back piece tattoo. We are booked in for 8 sessions two weeks apart. I can honestly say I've never had any healing issues. Your Dad's onto it though by trying to lower his A1c...the tighter the control the better obviously....but he shouldn't be put off by Internet stories....it is easily do able with common sense and good control ! To your Dad I say go for it !

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In four weeks I'm starting a full back piece tattoo. We are booked in for 8 sessions two weeks apart. I can honestly say I've never had any healing issues.

Hats off to you! I did a zillion sessions averaging about 2.5 weeks between sessions, and it was a rough haul, although it takes me a good 12 days to finish a peel. Glad to hear that your diabetes is under control, and welcome!

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Hats off to you! I did a zillion sessions averaging about 2.5 weeks between sessions, and it was a rough haul, although it takes me a good 12 days to finish a peel. Glad to hear that your diabetes is under control, and welcome!

@SeeSea thank you ! BTW your back looks amazing....I've been right through the full back piece thread...some great work in there !

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