Are you thinking of getting a tattoo? Many people are growing more accepting of the tattooing process, although there are some people with controversial and reserved thoughts about the inking process. One of those reserved thoughts and prohibitions includes donating blood after getting your body tattooed.
There are a few things that may disqualify you from becoming a donor for blood, such as age, potential life situations, and events and diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV or AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, as well as some severe lungs diseases. In some facilities, you could also be ineligible for giving blood if you recently had a tattoo or a piercing.
In this article, we’re going to talk about whether it’s allowed to donate blood if you have a tattoo, as well as some regulations from facility to facility. Make sure to read the article, if you’re a regular blood donor, but you want to embark on the tattooing journey.
Tattoos And Blood Donation
As you may know, when tattooing, your tattoo artist will use a tattoo needle to pierce through your skin to shape and outline your tattoo. The tattooing process allows a lot of bacteria living on your skin to get inside of it and potentially enter your bloodstream.
Among those bacteria, there could also be some blood-borne pathogens that could spread across the blood and result in some sexually-transitive diseases that you may not know about. That’s why many hospitals and medical facilities, as well as blood donating facilities, had a pretty strict policy about donating blood from tattooed individuals.
Even a famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo avoided getting a tattoo because he frequently donated his blood.
As you may know, the healing process for a tattoo can last anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, and cause skin infections if the aftercare is not properly done. The risk is only increased if you didn’t get your tattoo done at a certified and regulated tattoo studio but went to an unregulated tattoo artist who didn’t adhere to all the rules for hygiene when tattooing.
Still, a lot of professional artists are trying their best to adhere to those rules and make a tattoo that will heal easily and as painlessly as possible, while also advising their clients how to take care of their tattoo so that it’d heal swiftly and so that they could get back to donating blood as soon as possible.
In a lot of countries, tattooed people cannot donate blood because of fear of potential infections that can be transmitted through blood, and were obtained through the tattooing process. Even in a country that is tattoo-friendly and filled with various regulations, the process can be challenging, because people may travel to some cheaper places to get their tattoo done by a local who doesn’t adhere to all the rules regarding tattooing, especially if they traveled to a developing country.
There are different regulations regarding when is the right time to start donating blood after a tattoo. Below, we’re going to look at some regulations regarding tattooing and blood donation.
Also Read: Tattoo Blowout or Still Healing: How to Fix?
What To Know If You Want To Donate Blood After Getting Tattooed
Donating blood is charitable and people who practice that are greatly valued and respected, especially if they have a blood type that is high in demand and necessary to save life. Still, there are a few things that you need to consider if you want to donate blood after giving blood.
Below, we will list what you need to know before you donate blood after getting a tattoo.
You May Have to Wait
Getting a tattoo is a fresh and exciting experience. Nevertheless, your skin receives micro-injuries as the tattoo needle penetrates your skin to outline the tattoo. This may make you ineligible to donate blood for some time, even if you were tattooed in a certified and registered tattoo studio in the regulated states.
Some facilities within the registered states of the United States of America will allow you to donate blood as soon as you’re done with the procedure, although we don’t think that anyone is willing to give blood immediately after getting their body inked.
There are some facilities, that will make you wait for a little, for a given time from 3 to 7 days after getting tattooed. That’s to ensure that your wound is healing and that you didn’t catch any transmittable infections during the tattooing times, even if the process was safe, your tattoo artist adhering to the hygienic standards and you caring for the tattoo properly.
Even if there are no regulations that will restrict you from giving blood after some given time, we suggest that it’s best to wait for 7 days, so that you can rest properly and have your tattoo wound heal even a little.
Some States Don’t Regulate The Tattoo Facilities
Depending on where you’ve got your tattoo done, there are different times that you’ll have to wait before you can donate blood. In The United States, most of the states do have regulatory bodies that can regulate and control the tattoo studios and other tattoo facilities that provide inking services.
For that purpose, these regulators will check if those facilities use new ink and replace needles before applying it to their clients. However, that doesn’t mean that the tattoos done in all facilities are regulated, and chances are that you will have to wait before you can donate blood.
At the moment, 10 states don’t regulate their tattoo facilities. They include:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New York
What does that mean?
If you’ve gotten inked in one of the aforementioned states, you’ll have to wait a minimum of 3 months before you can donate blood. The waiting time can be extended up to 12 months if there was a side effect or potential infection that emerged after getting some part of your body inked.
Currently, the waiting time of 3 months as stated by the Red Cross.
Donating Blood in Europe
In Europe, there are no certain regulations of the tattoo facilities that provide the inking services. However, according to the Directive 2001/95/EC, the General Product Safety requires that all products that are related to the tattoo services are safe before they are placed on the market.
What If You Get Tattoos In Prison?
People who get their tattoos in prison travel to a local who provides legitimized services of tattooing, or apply the tattoos themselves will still have to wait a minimum of three months before they can donate blood at some of the Red Cross facilities.
You May Still Not Be Able To Donate Blood
Even if the tattoo process was conducted at a regulated facility with the tattoo process going well, you may still be stopped from donating blood, or forced to wait if you have some of the following conditions that affect you.
- Anemia (blood deficiency means you’re unable to donate blood regardless of tattoos)
- You’ve gone through surgery recently. Even dental surgery may prevent you from donating blood before a certain time, usually 3 to 6 months pass.
- You’ve caught a cold or are feeling sick.
- You have Hepatitis B or C which is highly contagious and you can get it from the tattooing process.
- You have a bleeding disorder
- Men who engage in sexual activity with other males.
- You traveled to a country that has the high activity of certain disease and has gotten your tattoo there.
- You have a sexually-transmitting disease
Giving blood with tattoos is generally safe. However, if you’ve just gotten a new tattoo, you might have to wait for a given time in case your tattoo was made in an unregulated facility or you have a contagious disease that transmits in blood. Nevertheless, we answered some additional questions regarding the tattooing process and giving blood after getting a tattoo.
Q: Can I give blood years after I’ve got my last tattoo?
A: Simply put, you can. However, just like everyone else, you’ll have to go to a blood donor screening to ensure that your blood is not contaminated with a transmittable disease.
Q: Can I donate blood right after getting a tattoo?
A: Getting a tattoo is often an exhausting and tiring process, so getting a good rest and letting your tattoo heal should be a necessity. Contact the blood donating bus or facility before going to donate blood to ensure that it’s safe before going.
Q: What to do if I learned that the facility where I got my tattoo isn’t regulated by my state?
A: The only thing you can do is wait from 3 months to 1 year. Before donating blood, you should do a blood test to ensure everything is in good order, although this is often conducted during the screening process for the donors. If you want to stay up to date with blood donating facilities, make sure to follow up here.