This article was prepared with the support of the editors of

Today, more than 400 million people in the world are diabetic. Fortunately, the current level of medical and pharmacological development allows people with diabetes to live their lives to the fullest and to indulge in a variety of pleasures. A tattoo is one of them.

Can diabetics get a tattoo, and if not, why not? This article tries to answer fully and reasonably, but do not forget: before making a decision, it is necessary to consult with your endocrinologist. Medical safety first!

The first rule: Talk with your doctor about having a tattoo if you have diabetes. Ensure that your current blood sugar levels are well-controlled to avoid potential complications. You should also ask about any precautions related to your treatment plans, such as insulin or other medications.

Confirm your safety with the tattoo staff. Tattoo artists usually ask if you’re diabetic before giving you an estimate since it can affect their ability to give you a quality work of art. They will also want to know about your current blood sugar level and what medication you’re on. Make sure they understand the implications of both!

So, if a person has compensated diabetes, there are no contraindications and it is possible to get a tattoo. But consultation with your doctor-endocrinologist is obligatory. If diabetes is decompensated, it is worth postponing the appointment until your health condition is normalized (compensated). Best to do tattoos, the work on which can be completed in one sitting. If the body reacts badly to the process of tattooing, it will be difficult to finish it.

There are categorical contraindications

  • Diabetes mellitus and tattoos are incompatible if:
  • You have type 1 diabetes with insulin dependence.
  • You are taking insulin or other hormones.
  • The disease is in the stage of decompensation (exacerbation).
  • You have had a bleeding disorder or have been diagnosed with a clotting disorder.
  • You have a viral infection or acute exacerbation of another chronic disease.
  • Uou are pregnant.

How will my tattoo affect my diabetes?

A tattoo isn’t a cakewalk, but it shouldn’t be a cause of major concern for people with diabetes. Good blood glucose control is important when getting inked because low glucose (hypoglycemia) can cause problems such as lightheadedness and fatigue. It can also affect your circulation and make it difficult for the tattoo artist to puncture your skin. This is especially true with some areas of the body, such as feet, ankles, and hands – places people with diabetes are more likely to have neuropathy, which affects nerves in the legs and feet causing pain or numbness.

A tattoo can cause or worsen low glucose (hypoglycemia), which occurs when your blood sugar runs too low. This is most commonly associated with insulin therapy, but can still happen if blood sugar levels drop too low from the tattoo process. It is important to let your health care provider know about any complications right away so that you can be treated accordingly.

Anecdotal reports of getting tattoos while having low blood sugar or on insulin therapy are not uncommon. If you opt to go that route, make sure you follow the proper precautions and carry fast-acting glucose with you at all times in case your blood sugar levels fall.

How will my diabetes affect my tattoo?

Some diabetes medications contain blood thinners that increase bleeding during the tattoo process, so be sure to let your tattoo artist know. This can significantly affect the work of the tattoo artist, and the ink will not be as well inked into the skin.

You should also know that the healing process will take a long time, complete healing of the skin up to 8 weeks. With consistently high sugars or severe fluctuations, there is a high risk of wounds becoming infected after tattooing, as healing will be very poor.

The location of the tattoo should not be on the areas where you are injected.

Diabetes tattoos

Tattoos can carry some benefits if you choose to have a specific diabetic design.

They combine the inscription – the name of the disease and a stylized medical symbol. Such tattoos began to be done by analogy with the army when military men apply a tattoo with their blood group, which in critical situations, can save a life. But diabetes tattoos aren’t for everyone. They are not very common.

The bottom line

Tattoos are not only a way to express yourself, but they have also become much more mainstream in recent years. Whether you choose to or not, there are some precautions that should be considered for everyone with diabetes interested in tattoos. Talk with your doctor about whether it’s right for you and make sure the tattoo parlor understands your condition.