P. 68-70 /

Issues associated to tattooing, piercing and other forms of body art

Associate Professor of Dermatology
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Clinica las Condes, Lo fontecilla 441, edificio 2, 2° Piso
Las Condes, Santiago de Chile


The last three decades have witnessed asignificant increase in body art practices such astattooing, piercing and other sophisticated proceduresthat involve the placement of implants under the skin,scarification and/or branding. All the proceduresdescribed above may lead to complications, particularlythose related to piercing and other highly invasivetechniques. The most frequent complications are localinfection, bleeding, tearing of tissue and transmission ofinfective diseases (e.g. HIV, Hepatitis virus), as well ascontact dermatitis resulting from materials andcompounds used in the procedures (1).A number ofstudies conducted over the years pointed out possiblelinks between body modifications and risk behaviours.However, it must be considered that these practiceshave been prevalent throughout human history and,though they are today commonly associated with anindividual desire of protest, it is not safe to assume thatthey necessarily represent a sign of social conflict (2).