The Scary Side Effect Alcohol and Tattoos Have in Common

Hallie Gould
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@victoriadawsonhoff

I think tattoos are beautiful. They can be sexy, edgy, delicate, and just about any other adjective you can think of. In short, I think they look cool and I love them. That being said, the danger of having someone stick ink-laden needles into my body doesn't escape me. Especially now when, as reported by MindBodyGreen, tattoos can lead to an unhealthy liver.

Brooke Scheller, a functional medicine nutritionist at Integrative Wellness Group, works to seek "the root cause of a client's symptoms or chronic conditions through extensive analysis." When she got trained, she decided to get a full-body workup done for herself. What she found, though, wasn't good. "I thought I was living a healthy lifestyle, but my blood work revealed liver enzymes that were that of someone in liver failure. I was terrified," Scheller said. As it turns out, her liver was overburdened as a result of the number of tattoos she had on her body (we've only heard of those side-effects from alcohol, not art).

"Exposure to these metals and toxins can place an extreme burden on the liver and the other detox organs," explains Scheller. "Studies show that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have been found stored in the lymph nodes of tattooed people causing them to actually turn black. Many of the heavy metals, like lead and mercury, are also considered to be neurotoxins that can affect cognitive function and cause brain fog, fatigue, and many other symptoms. While the damage of these toxins individually to our health is well-studied, the research on the long-term effects of tattoos is still in its infancy."

Scary, right? Especially with the popularity of microblading, more than ever people are going under the tattoo needle. So if you choose to get a tattoo, make sure to communicate with the artist to make sure they're using safe, nontoxic products. There are natural inks out there (some tattoo artists use vegetable-based pigment), but not every shop has them on hand. You may have to call ahead and have them order the ink before your appointment. Of course, as always, make sure to speak with a medical professional before committing to anything.

Next up: I paid Kendall Jenner's tattoo artist $450 for a tiny tattoo—was it worth it?

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