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Diabetes And Tattoos: Here's The Lowdown

Tips from a pro!

Written on
December 2, 2016
Diabetes

Life Is More Fun With Needles: Diabetes And Tattoos 

Hello world – I’m Ramona, a German blogger on flugzucker.de. Cazzy asked me to write a guest post on getting a tattoo with Type 1 Diabetes – so here we go!
tattoo needle

Can a Diabetic get a tattoo?

Sure! As we always say, Diabetics can do everything a healthy person can do – we just need a little bit of preparation, and it’s the same with getting a tattoo. That said, you should already look after your numbers a few weeks before your tattoo appointment – this may be not the time to start that new diet or try out a new basal rate. Just make sure that your blood sugar is more or less steady and that you know how it will react to physical stress. 

On the day of the appointment I always start with a big breakfast – as any person should do! Your body will need a lot of energy, so eat something that will keep your blood sugar steady for a long time and will not cause it to spike, like whole grain products. You should also drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated.

Good steady blood sugar levels

Getting started

As Diabetics we should be used to needles pricking our skin, right? Yeah, right – but tattooing brings this to a whole new level. You should never underestimate how much stress it is for your body to get wounds inflicted over several hours – and a tattoo is basically nothing else than a wound. I never start the tattoo with a blood sugar under 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l), because it will drop anyway. 

Starting with the same numbers as when you would do sports is a good reference point. Bring enough food and sweets for hypos that may occur, but it’s better to make sure it won’t even happen. So check your blood sugar regularly, at least every 30 minutes, and make enough breaks to eat and drink. I always told my tattoo artists before that I am diabetic and it might take some more time, and they were all very kind and understanding. I never got rejected at a tattoo place for having Diabetes, and if they do reject you, this is not the right place anyway. Just tell them that you know your disease and your body very well and that you know what to do.

Aftercare

So you survived the process of tattooing and feel great with the new piece of art under your skin – congratulations! :D But now the most important part just starts: The aftercare. In the first few days and weeks you really have to look after your new tattoo so it will still look good in a few years. Your tattoo artist will give you instructions about the aftercare, but basically it is no sun, no swimming, no sauna and not pulling off the loose skin for at least 6 weeks. 

Panthenol cream for tattoos

I use pathenol cream 2-3 times a day in the first two weeks to keep the tattoo moisturized, then I just go on with normal body lotion and in summer, of course, sun screen. After about 2 months you should visit your tattoo artist again to check if it has healed properly and to maybe get a touchup.

I hope these tips helped you with getting a tattoo as a Diabetic. Enjoy your skin – wear art 

Ramona

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