December 27


Can We Get a Tattoo or Piercing if We Have Diabetes?

By Gabriela

December 27, 2021

A person wants to get a tattoo or piercing, but they don’t know if it’s safe for them as they have diabetes.

Well, AADE Media Spokespersons say people with this metabolic disease can do all these things just like any other person, provided that they take a few extra steps to be safe about it.

They should first consult a doctor to review their numbers, draw their A1C, and see if their condition is controlled. In cases of poor blood glucose control and high blood pressure levels, they should get these measures under control before getting a tattoo.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo or Pierce

Besides ensuring their A1C is not higher than 7% and blood glucose levels are in range, they should also think about the location of their tattoo.

Areas with poor blood flow and those away from the heart are harder to heal, which can be a problem for these people with existing compromised blood flow in those areas.

When it comes to piercing, they might want to ask about the tool and its length used in the procedure.

Also, they should be especially careful if they have certain complications like diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, diabetes skin conditions, or problems with circulation such as Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Here are a few things to consider before getting a pierce or tattoo:

  • They should control their blood sugar levels before getting a tattoo or piercing –consult a healthcare provider until blood sugar levels are within a normal range.
  • They should make sure the place and person they’re going to see is licensed and accredited – always choose a licensed and accredited establishment with an “A” rating. They are professionals who are familiar with the risk of infection and signs of hypoglycemia and know how to deal with any occurring problem.

Risks and Safety Warnings

Getting a tattoo or pierce with this chronic condition involves the following factors:

Risk of Low Blood Sugar during the Procedure

Talk with the person performing the procedure before it begins to educate them about the signs of hypoglycemia and what could happen in such a case. Also, these people should keep their supplies, medication, and glucometer close to them, and a 15-gram carbohydrate product as well.

Risk of Elevated Blood Sugar during the Procedure

The stress during the procedure can raise their blood glucose. Therefore, they should inform the person doing their tattoo or piercings about the symptoms of hyperglycemia. Also, they need to have a bottle of water, medication, insulin, and glucometer nearby.

Ensure the Person Uses a Fresh Ink in Disposable Containers and New Needle

A licensed establishment with an “A” rating should use fresh ink in a disposable container and a new inking needle for each individual. In this way, it guarantees sterility and a lower risk of infections and other problems which can occur after the procedure.

Check the Facility Has an Autoclave Machine

An autoclave machine is a place where they sterilize the instruments after each client. Also, they should look around the facility, and if they notice it’s dirty, they are probably risking getting an infection.

Longer Healing

If their A1C is higher than 7%, and their blood glucose is higher than normal, they’ll probably need a longer time to heal the affected area. There’s the risk of possible infection that in severe cases can lead to gangrene and amputation.

But, they can prevent this from happening if they control their diabetes and consult a healthcare provider before the procedure.

Usually, a tattoo needs around 2 weeks to heal completely. However, those with diabetes might need even a month to heal after a body piercing or tattoo. Piercing can take even longer if the procedure involves large piercing bars.

Skin Conditions Which Are Reasons Not to Get a Tattoo or Pierce

Having diabetes makes people prone to many skin conditions, some of which can be quite serious. But, if they have any of the following skin problems, they should not get a tattoo or body piercing:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Diabetic dermopathy
  • Acanthosis Nigricans – dark spots on certain areas like hands, neck, armpits, knees, groins
  • Eruptive Xanthomatosis – yellow, itchy enlargements
  • Digital Sclerosis – in those with type 1 diabetes characterized by thickening of the skin on toes, fingers, and hands
  • Bullosis Diabeticorum – blisters on extremities
  • Disseminated Granuloma Annulare – reddish-brown raised skin areas on toes, fingers, ears
  • Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum – deep changes in blood vessels.

Few More Things to Have in Mind

  • Avoid choosing areas with poor blood flow, like ankles, lower legs, and feet, as well as areas where insulin is injected
  • Have good aftercare to prevent infections.
  • These people have a higher risk of excessive bleeding, and scarring along the ink lines.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}