Thinking of getting some ink? Make sure you do it safely.

Doctor Kia Saeian is Director of the Hepatitis Treatment Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He says a recent study found that about 23% of college undergraduates have tattoos. About 17% had complications; bleeding, tissue trauma and bacteriological infections (pierced navels — another popular trend — actually were more prone to complications than were tattoos.) There is some good news; Dr. Saein says another study of students in Houston looked for a link between tattoos and hepatitis. “There was no real association between tattoos that were done professionally, and either Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C,” he says.

The key here is tattoos done professionally, and Dr Saeian has advice for students who may be considering getting inked; have a professional do the job, and make sure a fresh needle and inkwell are used and then disposed of. Saein says there has been documented increased incidence of hepatitis among those whose tattoos are not done professionally, or where needles or inkwells are reused.

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