Frequently I get emails asking me if those of us with dermatographia can get tattooed. Yes, we can. I have tattoos, and no, I’ve never had any problems getting them.
What seems to happen is my system gets worn out from releasing all that histamine in response to the needle, then it just gives up and stops releasing it. So at first the skin gets a little raised, but then it will just stop and accepts the ink quite well.
It’s very common for most people to be pretty tired after getting a tattoo (from the release of endorphins), but I think us dermatographics get even more tired with the release of histamine in addition to the endorphins. In order to help combat this exhaustion, I suggest you eat a healthy meal before and after the tattooing appointment, drink lots of water, and get lots of rest. Your immune system will be overworked, but it’s nothing you can’t recover from.
With dermatographia, we can have temporary tattoos anytime, anywhere with a mere scratch. It’s pretty cool! But I decided I wanted a more permanent tattoo years ago (I got my first one when I was 18). As I debate whether or not to permanently adorn my skin I realize that tattoos, freckles, moles and wrinkles are all forms of adornment. Some are ‘natural’ because they happen as we age without help from us, but some things we choose to do alter our skin–like spending too much time in the sun adding more freckles and moles. Due to this, I figured why not add more to this palette of skin I’ve been given?
Recently I read Skin, a book by Nina Jablonksi. It’s excellent, I highly recommend it. In it, she speaks of skin as a “palette of adaptation,” and says, “Adornment of the skin is one of the last frontiers of individuality and personal adventure.” I see aging, tattoos, freckles, moles, and wrinkles as adding to the palette of adaptation, and as an extension of our personal adornment, like fashion.
If you have dermatographia and want to get a tattoo, I say go for it. Just make sure you’re positive that you want it forever. These don’t go away! Also, just warn your tattooist so he or she isn’t surprised if your skin flares up a bit. And get some rest after drinking plenty of water! ;’)