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ISN New Topic: Scleroderma and Tattoos


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#1 LisaBulman

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 01:32 AM

ISN New Topic: Scleroderma and Tattoos. Topics covered in this new website section include: medical eligibility for tattoos, tattoos and blood donation, medical complications, social considerations, tattoo remorse, removal and concealers, finding a tattoo parlor, and temporary tattos and henna. People with scleroderma should consult their scleroderma expert prior to getting a tattoo. They may advise some precautions, such as taking antibiotics before the procedure. They may ask you to wait until your illness is stabilized, or your treatments (especially immunosuppressants) are ended. ISN. Posted 10/11/10.

This item was posted in the ISN Newsroom. Please check the newsroom daily for updates on scleroderma and other related articles.
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#2 Vanessa

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:38 PM

Oh no!!!

That' my plans totally snookered!

#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:57 AM

Hi Vanessa,

What a hoot! I'm sorry we rained on your tattoo parade with our new section on Tattoos and Scleroderma. But do read up there on alternatives to permanent tattooing, such as ways to make your own temporary tattoos.

Importantly, when we want a tattoo it often represents a desire to identify with a certain group, preserve memories, or express our creativity and uniqueness.

By recognizing these motivators, we can look into other ways to satisfy our underlying urge. For example, it might be worthwhile for us to identify with a certain group by acquiring special clothing or jewelry; preserve memories by arranging audio tapes, video tapes, scrapbooking, or journaling; and expressing our creativity through the design of any/all forms of artwork.

So don't just throw the baby out with the bathwater. Look at why you wanted to get a tattoo. What design were you contemplating, and for what purpose? So for example, if you wanted one with the names/birthdate of a child, for instance, you could preserve your motherhood memories by creating a lovely book of childhood memories for them, noting the progress of their first step, their footprints, and journaling your way through their life. To them, in the end, that would be far more meaningful than your body art as it would be something they could still cherish, after you were long gone.

If it's a desire to be more "in" with the In Crowd, then perhaps you could bond more by acquiring symbolized jewelry or clothing, or making an effort to become better friends with your favorite member of the crowd.

So don't diss your underlying desire; find a way to satisfy it and you will have no regrets about not getting a tattoo!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:56 AM

Vanessa, did you figure out what you can do, instead of getting a tattoo? I believe it's important to satisfy the underlying motive for wanting to get a tattoo, because it can be significant. Sometimes tattoos are just an easy answer to difficult questions, such as how to preserve memories or to feel closer to a group or cause we identify with.

So, have you figured out why you wanted a tattoo, and have you done anything to address the underlying issue(s)?

Just because scleroderma puts a sober dampener on tattoos, doesn't mean we still can't find ways to express our creativity, preserve memories, join groups, or remember our loved ones. However I can say that most other methods involve more time or even more thoughtfulness. Plus, the joys of flexible temporary tattoos are not to be overlooked, either!

So, for example, if we wanted just a little discreet butterfly on our hip, just to show we're playful and creative and part of the crowd. Then perhaps we could take a class in watercolors, and make a few dozen little greeting cards with butterflies on them. Mail them to our friends, with an invitation to a party inside. That would certainly express our creativity, help cement our status in the crowd, and the party would show that we are playful. We could take photos of the party and preserve them in an album. Perhaps we could take the silliest one, enlarge it, and hang it in a prominent place to spur discussion at our next party.

Not to mention that we could become a temporary tattoo artist, and have fun putting facial tattoos on everyone at the party. Then, by having not dissed our underlying motives, we have enhanced our life, built friendships, and have a memory that will stay with us always. That's certainly a lot more effort, but also more rewarding.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#5 Joelf

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 06:27 AM

Hi Vanessa

Although I don't really do tattoos, it's funny this discussion should come up, as prior to getting Sclero I'd considered having my stomach pierced! :rolleyes: My husband was horrified and on reflection I think it was probably some sort of mid life crisis. Thankfully, having Sclero diagnosed put the idea out of my head, which is just as well as I think in my case the words 'mutton' and 'lamb' would probably come to mind!! ;) :lol: :lol:

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#6 janey

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 08:40 AM

O.K. - I admit it. I have a tattoo! I had wanted to get one since I was 18, a long, long time ago. But since I knew it was permanent, I wanted to really think about it, not only whether it was worth it or not, but what and where. So I waited until I was 40. Obviously, I don't make quick decisions. :) I love my tattoo and am glad I got it. I would love to have another one, but scleroderma made that decision for me. There is no way!!!!!! Great new topic Shelley!
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#7 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:24 AM

Hi Janey,

I'm glad you got to sneak one in, before it was too late!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#8 Vanessa

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:51 AM

Hi Shelley

I have only just found your kind replies to my "Tattoo" posting.

I have to confess- I was kidding!

We have an English advertisement which often makes me chuckle. It shows a smattly dressed lady of about 90 years old with one of those gothic style tattoos encircling her none too firm bicep. That would certainly be my worry although I do think discreet and thoughtful tattoos placed in areas which are not going to seem daft in later years can be very lovely.

My 23 year old daughter has a small serpent on her hipbone.

Anyway thank you for your ideas on the subject and I agree there is usually a lot more to the whole process than initially meets the eye.

#9 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:13 PM

What a hoot, Vanessa! And here I was totally worried about having burst your wanna-getta-tattoo bubble. It's about time the joke's on me, as I am always pulling other people's legs to the point of snapping.

You made me chuckle with both your messages! :emoticons-yes:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#10 Eos

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 02:57 PM

Hi,

Interesting...

I have scleroderma sine scleroderma and am on tattoo #2, which is a huge piece covering arm and most of my back. All healed up no problem. I would not describe my sclero as stable but all my issues are internal. I am on oral dexamethasone for lichen planus practically every month also.

My rheumatologist (she was terrible!! She quit since and this left me without a rheumatologist as of now) did not want me to get it done. I did anyway since I figured that I might as well live my life the way I please as my medical issues restrict things already (fatigue, Raynaud's, intestinal issues to just name a few).

My first tattoo -- the size of my hand -- healed up perfectly in 2 weeks. Number 2 (the big one) has healed too. I just got the outline done so far, and have to wait a few weeks to get the shading started.

Of course it is mandatory to find a good tattoo shop who practices sterile technique. My artist uses a new needle for every client, every time and takes other precautions to prevent infections. Plus there is a lot of aftercare involved for weeks after the tattoo was done.

I guess I would not do it if I had skin involvement. I wonder what skin art would look like after the thickening?

#11 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 10:16 AM

Hi Eos,

I hope things continue to go well with your second tattoo. One thing you might want to look into, is that lichen planus can be caused by tattoos, specifically, the red ink in tattoos. So you might want to research that, and discuss it with your dermatologist (for lack of a scleroderma expert at the moment).

I don't know if there's anything you could do about your first tattoo (if it contains red) but perhaps you could work around any red in your tattoo #2 if it contains red or hasn't been done already. Since lichen planus is a skin disease, and since it can overlap with other skin diseases too, like vitiligo and scleroderma, it would be worth asking your (next) scleroderma expert about it, and bring along copies of any online research you find too in case that's not a particular area of expertise for them.

Also, I didn't get all that terribly far into researching about tattoos, just enough to remember that I came across lichen planus and the red ink in my travels, so perhaps there are also alternate versions of red ink that might be available to help with tattoo #2.

In any event, I hope it all goes very smoothly, and turns out well for you!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#12 Eos

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 02:08 PM

Thank you Shelley.

The lichen planus is oral actually. Travels around my mouth. I remember I had it even back in my teen years and I thought I burned myself, but still had no idea why this weird pattern would appear after a burn.

I do not have any color in my skin art. I prefer black and white. I am actually thinking of getting some pale yellow to highlight the pattern in my snake images. Thank you for the info on red though. :D

#13 epasen

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:31 PM

Hi you all,

I've got to say that I actually have three tattoos today, and the day after tomorrow I will have five. I've taken them all when I haven't been on any medication and my sclero is pretty much stabilized: Slow progressing going on all the time. The first one, really small wasn't too easy to heal but it took only like a week. The second one that covers my right side from under arm to the hip healed very quickly and well, like the third one too. The second one actually tells about scleroderma.

I love them and I've asked few doctors beforehand. They just said that it's my own decision and I could try. They just said that I shouldn't take them on sclero-areas of my body so I have them on sclero-free areas only.

Emmi

#14 marsha

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:45 AM

I asked my scleroderma expert about tattoo's just in case the idea ever crossed my mind.. He said it was fine, I had all those concerns about scarring and the immune system.. Now I'm wondering what the right answer is?

#15 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 04:05 PM

I have one small one, just in black, and it caused no problems at all. I guess it is a question of just how much do you want one - I really, really wanted mine. :lol:
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#16 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:42 PM

Hi Marsha,

Kudos to you for following instructions and asking your scleroderma expert about it, ahead of time! Obviously you must not be on immunosuppressants or have areas of skin involvement unsuitable for tattoos. When you have the medical go-ahead then you only have the standard precautions to watch for, as outlined in our web pages on Scleroderma and Tattoos.

Our point isn't to "just say no" but rather to provide the information so that people with scleroderma can make an informed decision regarding tattoos, since it some instances it is ill-advised. The take-home message is that everyone with scleroderma who wants to get a tattoo should discuss it with their scleroderma expert beforehand to see if it is okay given their particular complications and medications.

Thank you for setting a great example for others to follow, in doing your studying and your asking ahead of time. That will give you even greater peace of mind plus put all the odds in your favor of getting a pleasant, and unregrettable, tattoo.

:emoticon-congratulations:

Now if that isn't cause for a Sclero Happy Dance, I don't know what is!

:emoticons-line-dance:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#17 marsha

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 12:18 PM

Shelley,
I am only too glad to set an example.... Posted Image I had such a list to ask my scleroderma expert from Tattoos to suntanning, not that I am a sunbather, but I do like to garden and putz around outside the house since summers here are so very very very short!! It kinda stinks that we have to think before we do anything because of our disease, but maybe that stops us from doing knee jerk things also?!! I am on no immunisuppressant drugs and only have very limited skin tightening on my face and hands and feet... but then again I am just in the very early diagnoses of my disease..
Marsh

#18 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 01:25 PM

Hello Marsha

Yes the list of considerations before going out are endless...where are the toilets, do I need my wheelchair, have I got my pain meds/reflux meds, do I need extra clothing, sun protection including parasol, how long will it take to get there/back, do I have enough stamina and what do I do if I don't...Make staying in the new going out! :lol:
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#19 zomby

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 03:42 AM

Tattoos are far more than just fitting in with a crowd, which is quite commonplace in this thread, for some its a lifestyle others part of their belief system, etc. that scrapbooking and putting on a pretty piece of jewelry just cannot replace.

 

I just want to take a few lines to say as a tattoo enthusiast, and a sufferer of morphea, I am a bit taken a back by the general undertones of tattoos are bad and it seems to me that people who wrote this regard tattoos to be bad point regardless of sclero. With having a nice big tattoo remorse link.

 

I understand the complications people may now have getting tattoos (I only found out today that I may not be able to get tattoos again) but 99% of these are pretty much the big scary legends people used to warn their kids about back in the 60s about tattoos, "Oh you'll get the AIDS," "You'll regret it," "There's metal and petrol in the inks!". And in this day and age these things are exactly that, old tales.

 

Every licensed tattoo parlour will use one use needles and everything you can see is sterile, medical grade metals are used in the equipment, all tattoo artists have blood tests and screened for blood disease and you can now get organic inks. The red reaction is most common place but good quality inks with good quality pigments FDA approved are what's in shops now.

 

Also skin testing can be done prior to tattooing to check for reactions and the first signs of any problems you may face. Any smart person here will be able to tell a good studio from a kitchen wizard and will know most of this already, if you want a tattoo, yes go to your doctor, tell them what you want to get checked out, understand there COULD be reactions and complications but mainly they will come from a bad choice of artist and location.

 

Yes, speak to many many artists and ask if they know about sclero diseases, ask to see their inks and license, ask to see their blood tests, ask to see their cleaning stations, all these things should be done prior to tattoos regardless of sclero anyway. Its all common sense. And most infections and blood diseases and tattoo complications come from bad aftercare rather than the studio or artist. Another side of the coin for you to consider.



#20 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 11:44 AM

Hi Zomby,

 

I'm sorry you may no longer be a good candidate for tattoos. I do think it is important to try to identify what purpose they serve for us, so that we can be sure to try to satisfy that same need in other ways.

 

For example, if our proposed tattoo is of religious significance, but we aren't a good candidate for tattoos, we should try to find other ways to incorporate religious symbols or activities into our life in some way, shape or form. 

 

If something is important enough to rate a tattoo for us, it seems to me it should also be important enough to include in other ways in our life, and we shouldn't deprive ourselves of that joy, that symbol, that meaning. 

 

If the tattoo we wish we could have is a lovely flower, perhaps we should take up gardening, buy fresh flowers every week, learn how to paint flowers, teach children how to paint flowers, or even wear flower-scented perfumes. We should explore the whole range, and not limit ourselves to only one possible expression of something we love, but rather, embrace it every way we can.

 

So my question to you is, if you were able to get another tattoo today, what design would you choose?  What would it symbolize for you?  And then, if it were not possible to express this desire through a permanent tattoo, what other ways could you manifest this desire? 

 

For example, would you select a permanent tattoo of your favorite musical group?  If so, perhaps you could learn how to make your own temporary tattoos and reapply them as needed, buy another CD from the group, go to their concert, buy their t-shirt, volunteer for their fan club, or even start a music blog. Don't just think, oh, I can't have the tattoo, I have to just "forget" about this whole interest!  Instead, consider using it as an impetus to expand your interest and perhaps do things you wouldn't otherwise have even considered.

 

Your suggestions on investigating everything about a parlor before getting a tattoo are outstanding!

 

A major misunderstanding here in the U.S. (I realize this could be entirely different in the U.K.) is that people assume that all tattoo artists are trained, licensed, and regulated.

 

Whereas, in most jurisdictions that is simply not the case. Basically, in many states, anyone can set up shop as a tattoo artist, without any required training or even a basic understanding of health concepts. It would be rare, to the max, for tattoo artists to actually have any medical training regarding scleroderma.  See:  Tattoo Certification on About.com.

 

In the U.S., it is basically a case of "buyer beware" when it comes to tattoos, even though you would logically think that all of the parlors should be required by federal law to have training in blood-borne pathogens, at an absolute minimum, wouldn't you?

 

In areas where training, certification and licensing of tattoo parlors is required by law, people who are good candidates medically can be more intent on just selecting the artist, trying to find a tattoo and area of application that they are just as likely to love now as they will ten or twenty years from now, and not have to worry about all the equipment and procedures, as well.

 

:emoticons-group-hug:


Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.