Psoriasis and Tattoos

Psoriasis is an autoimmune inflammatory, systemic disease that can last a lifetime and often occurs as a skin condition. Since this condition can affect many parts of the body, you may be wondering if getting a tattoo is a good idea. Here’s what you need to know about psoriasis and tattoos.

Can You Get a Tattoo with Psoriasis?

The short answer is yes, you can get a tattoo if you have psoriasis, but there are a few concerns, such as the Koebner phenomenon. This phenomenon occurs when psoriasis plaques develop at the site of a skin injury.

As a person with psoriasis, you experience episodes. These episodes, also known as flares, occur for various reasons, including stress, meditation, infection, and skin injuries.

Why Might Tattoos Trigger Psoriasis Flares?

Injuries to the skin, including scrapes, cuts, insect bites, burns, sunburns, and puncture wounds, can trigger psoriasis— commonly known as the Koebner response or Koebner phenomenon. The Koebner response appears as lesions on the skin at the trauma site.

Immune Response to Skin Injury

There are different theories surrounding the immune system’s response to skin injury. One evidenced theory states the Koebner phenomenon occurs when the middle and outer layers of your skin experience an injury simultaneously. When this type of injury occurs, your immune system sends cytokines and T-cells, your defensive cells, to the injury site to help repair the damaged skin cells, resulting in an inflammatory response.

Getting a Tattoo with Psoriasis

If you are considering getting a tattoo and have psoriasis, make sure you consider these factors.

Location of Tattoo

How your skin will react to a tattoo is difficult to predict, so it’s best to choose an area of your body that doesn’t usually experience skin changes. In any event, you may experience a flare when you get a tattoo.


Possible Rejection

Some tattoo artists may refuse to give you a tattoo because of your skin condition. However, there are some tattoo artists who will agree to give you a tattoo when you are not experiencing a flare, but you will have to plan with your tattoo artist regarding the best way to get your tattoo.

How to Manage Psoriasis Itch with a Healing Tattoo

When tattoos heal, you’ll experience a variety of symptoms, including redness, peeling, and itching. Common causes of itchy skin after a tattoo are:

  • Peeling skin
  • Growth of shaven hair
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Existent skin conditions

The good news is there are different remedies you can use to help manage psoriasis itch with a healing tattoo.

Never Scratch

As tempting as it may be, don’t scratch a healing tattoo. When you get a tattoo, your skin is damaged by ink and needles, which causes itching at times. Scratching a healing tattoo can damage the tattoo, the surrounding skin and lead to infection.

Avoid Submerging the Tattoo in Water

During the healing process, you need to avoid submerging your tattoo in water, which means you should avoid pools and bathtubs until your tattoo has completed the healing process. After you get a tattoo, your skin’s barrier is compromised and won’t return to normal until the tattoo’s healing process is complete. When your skin barrier isn’t intact, you are susceptible to skin infections.

Create an After-Care Routine

Creating an after-care routine is the best way to care for your tattoo and your skin to ensure they both heal properly. When you have psoriasis, it’s best to use an exfoliation cream or exfoliation gel that helps remove thick, dry patches of skin.

Can Tattoos Cause Psoriasis

Tattoos don’t necessarily cause psoriasis, but they can trigger flare-ups. These flare-ups can occur because of an allergic to the dyes and inks. Trauma to your skin after getting a tattoo can also cause a flare-up. The severity of your allergic reaction can range from moderate to severe.

Can You Tattoo Over Psoriasis?

While you can tattoo over psoriasis, it’s not recommended for different reasons. There are risk factors that accompany being tattooed, especially when you have psoriasis. In addition to possible skin infections, you can experience an allergic reaction and even disease. It’s worth taking the time to take the necessary precautions to find a reputable tattoo shop.

Things to look for when finding an excellent tattoo parlor:

  • Locating a tattoo shop that has a great reputation
  • Ensure the tattoo studio is clean and follows proper sanitation procedures
  • Make sure all the inks that are used are used once and from individual cups and not a multi-use container
  • Ask questions regarding the tattoo shop’s staff’s experience, training, and overall operation procedures

Koebner and Tattoos

Koebner or the Koebner phenomenon is common if you have psoriasis. This phenomenon occurs after an injury occurs to healthy skin. Koebner is your body’s natural response to skin trauma. It’s common to experience a psoriasis flare a few weeks after getting a tattoo. The Koebner phenomenon is not contagious and it’s not an infection.

Preventing Infection from Psoriasis Tattoos

It’s important to care for your tattoo once it’s done. Make sure you wash your tattoo at least three times a day and avoid being around people who are sick. You need to also refrain from sleeping on dirty sheets, using dirty towels, and touching your tattoo before washing your hands. Keep in mind your tattoo is an open wound on your skin, and it needs to be cleaned and protected so it can heal properly.

Having psoriasis doesn’t have to control your life. We have products that can help you manage dry, peeling skin. Shop with us today to get products that address your needs.