If you plan getting a tattoo placed over an area where you have a pigmented skin lesion such as a mole or a birth mark, you would be wise to have the area checked by your doctor before you have it covered with tattoo ink. The reason for this is that the ink from a tattoo can obscure the surface appearance of moles or other skin lesions. This can make it more difficult, if not impossible, to see subtle changes of the mole if they were to occur. An example is skin melanoma. A melanoma is a skin cancer that arises from areas of skin that have been damaged by the sun (click here to see our post on sun blocks and how to protect your skin from sun damage). Area of skin that are frequently sun damaged include the face, neck, upper back, chest and the arms.
One of ways your doctor will screen for skin cancers is to look at the ABCDE’s: A is for asymmetric, meaning both half’s of the lesion are not the same; B is for borders, they tend to be irregular; C is for color differences within the lesion; D is for diameter, with melanomas tending to be larger than common skin moles; and E is evolving, meaning the lesion is changing over time. To use these signs, one must be able to see the lesion. Having overlying ink gets in the way of this assessment. The take home message is to have any skin lesion looked at before you get any ink placed over it. Better to have it evaluated and known to be of no concern than to possibly have a lesion that develops into a cancer undetected due to it no longer being visible and available for inspection.
If you have a tattoo and are looking to have it removed, contact Remove A Tattoo today at 414-617-2849. Remove A Tattoo – laser tattoo removal clinic is located in Glendale and serves the greater Milwaukee area.