Can You Get a Tattoo on Blood Thinners?

Whether you’ve been planning every detail of your tattoo for years…or just want to get a tattoo on a whim…there are important factors to consider. One of the most important things to think about is your medications, especially if you are on blood thinners!

In this quick guide to tattoos and blood thinners, we’ll explain whether you can even get a tattoo while taking blood thinners and other important things you need to know.

As always, we highly recommend checking out temporary tattoos before getting inked for the first time. They’ll let you enjoy some body art even if you’re on a cocktail of blood thinners!

Can I Get A Tattoo On Blood Thinners – The Short Answer

Can I Get A Tattoo On Blood Thinners – The Short Answer
Credit: Instagram

Getting a tattoo while taking blood thinners (also called blood thinners) is possible, but many tattoo artists don’t allow it. There are also side effects and risks ranging from a higher possibility of getting an infected tattoo to losing a lot of blood during the session.

Blood thinners prevent your blood from clotting which makes the tattoo session very bloody and messy. It also prevents your tattoo from healing quickly and safely afterwards.

At the end of the line: Most tattoo artists won’t ink you if you’ve been on blood thinners, and if they do, only very small tattoos are safe for you.

Why blood thinners are bad for tattoos

Why blood thinners are bad for tattoos
Credit: Instagram

To find out exactly how blood thinners affect your tattoo (and why it’s so bad), here’s what happens during the tattoo process.

What happens when you’re inked

To mark your body with permanent ink, the tattoo artist uses a tattoo pen (also called a gun or a tattoo machine) that pokes your skin with a needle repeatedly.

By needling your skin, the tattoo artist can deposit ink into the middle dermis layer of your skin. This layer is deep enough for your skin to heal over it, but not so deep that the immune system will instantly peel it off or be invisible from the outside.

Each time the needle punctures your skin, a small amount of blood also comes out. This is completely normal and if you are not on blood thinners the bleeding will quickly stop and healing will begin.

The effects of blood thinners

The technical term for an anticoagulant is an anticoagulant. This is because blood thinners doesn’t really thin the blood. Instead, they prevent your blood from clotting (clotting). Therefore, with each small wound created by the tattoo needle, you will expel more blood than usual. You will also continue to bleed much longer.

Usually the tattoo artist simply wipes away the blood that emerges from a fresh tattoo and then continues inking. But if you take blood thinners, the blood just won’t stop. As a result, the tattoo artist will continue to wipe off the blood and this can dull the final tattoo design.

So can you get ANY tattoo on blood thinners?

So can you get any tattoo on blood thinners
Credit: Instagram

The answer is yes. If you get a very small tattoo, like in the photo above, you won’t lose much blood during the session, even if you take blood thinners. And while you still have that higher risk of infection, many tattoo artists will be happy to ink you if you have a note from your doctor saying you’re fine.

The key is to talk to your tattoo artist about it. If they know you’re on blood thinners before the session, they can make preparations or refer you to someone who is more comfortable inking you.

List of known anticoagulants

If you take any of these medications, you may thin your blood too much to get a tattoo:

Plus, there are other substances that will thin your blood! You might be tempted to try them out before your tattoo session, but that would be a bad idea. Talk to your tattoo artist for advice on how to prepare for your tattoo session!

  • Aspirin
  • fish oil
  • Alcohol
  • Vitamin E supplements (in high doses)
  • High-caffeinated coffee/tea/energy drinks

5 disastrous side effects of getting a tattoo on blood thinners

5 disastrous side effects of getting a tattoo on blood thinners
Credit: Instagram

Even though you can technically getting a tattoo on blood thinners, we strongly advise you to don’t. Here are 5 very good reasons why.

Dangerous blood loss

If you have a very large tattoo planned, the excess blood leaking from your body could lead to dangerous levels of blood loss. If you lose too much blood, you feel weak and dizzy. If you lose a lot, you might go into shock or have trouble breathing.

You are unlikely to die from it, mainly because the tattoo artist will call an ambulance if you start squirting blood left, right, and center! In fact, most decent tattoo artists will stop tattooing you if they see excessive blood loss.

Do not expect a refund if this happens.

Tattoo Mistakes

With embarrassing blood there is a higher chance that your tattoo artist will make a mistake. This is especially likely if you are getting a tattoo from a new or in-training artist, or if you have chosen a very intricate design to tattoo onto your skin.

Usually, the artist will regularly wipe the area during the tattoo to remove excess blood and ink that collects on your skin. If you take blood thinners, the tattoo artist will have to do them much more regularly, which will interrupt their flow.

Also read: What happens if a tattoo artist makes a mistake?

Loooong tattoo sessions

Loooong tattoo sessions
Credit: Instagram

Following this last point, the more you bleed and the more your tattoo artist has to wipe and readjust, the longer the tattoo session will last. This means more time sitting in the chair and very long hours. Your body will start to hurt, just like your tattoo artists hands.

This means either rescheduling your sessions to include more (which will cost you more) or hoping that your tired tattoo artist won’t mess up or make a mistake. Either way, your tattoo artist isn’t going to be happy.

Expensive or non-existent!

With all the hassle you’ve put on your tattoo artist, whether it’s with longer tattoo sessions or just a lot of wiping and worrying, you can definitely expect them to raise the price. If they have an hourly rate, you may be charged for this.

They may also charge you for the extra ink and cleaning equipment you need due to excessive bleeding…

…but in most cases, if you tell your tattoo artist that you took blood thinners (or a substance that can thin your blood), they will refuse to tattoo you. Rebooking a session when you are off medication can also be more expensive.

tattoo infection

Blood thinners affect your body’s ability to clot blood. Usually your tattoo produces some blood and oozes on the first or second day after being tattooed…but if your blood is too thin and can’t clot as quickly, it will take longer.

Not only does this mean a longer healing process (which also prolongs the painful burning-like sensation), but it also increases your chances of getting an infection. An infected tattoo can be painful and even distort your tattoo design as it heals.

Read more: Tattoo infection: everything you need to know

Quick FAQs

Can you get a tattoo while taking metoprolol
Credit: Instagram

Can you get a tattoo on metoprolol?

Metoprolol is a receptor blocking drug that is used to treat high blood pressure, among other conditions. However, metoprolol does not affect blood clotting or thin the blood, so it may be possible to get a tattoo with this drug. We recommend that you seek advice from your doctor and inform your tattoo artist of the medications you are taking before booking your session!

Do blood thinners affect tattoos?

Blood thinners will not affect an existing, healed tattoo. However, they can have a huge impact on a tattoo if you take blood thinners before your session. They can also slow down the healing process if you take them after the session but before the tattoo has completely healed.

Can I get a tattoo while taking blood thinners?

Technically, it’s possible but it’s not advised and comes with some pretty serious (and potentially expensive) side effects. It’s best to reschedule your tattoo session when you’re off blood thinners, if possible.

Is it okay to get a tattoo while taking blood thinners?

No, that’s not correct – you could be putting your health at risk. It is especially disagree go for a tattoo session without telling your tattoo artist beforehand. Some will consider getting small tattoos if you’re on blood thinners, but many won’t tattoo you at all.

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