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Persons with infected wounds, open sores, boils, abrasions, or weeping dermatological lesions should avoid working where there is a likelihood they could contaminate healthcare supplies, body art equipment, or working surfaces.    A worker’s skin should be free of rash or infection. Healthcare workers, tattoo artists and caregivers should cover any sores with bandages to avoid the potential spread of disease.

Skin is the largest organ of the body. Skin contains blood vessels, sensory receptors, nerves, and sweat glands. It is made up of the Epidermis and the dermis and varies in thickness from 1.5 to 4 mm or more. Our skin is our first line of defence against infection and there are three layers:

  • The Epidermis- is the thick outer layer of tissue
  • The Dermis is the strong, flexible second layer of connective tissue
  • The dermis is filled with blood vessels. 

Unclean tattooing or body art is a high risk activity for bloodborne pathogens because it involves multiple punctures of the skin to instill pigment into the dermis.The Hypodermis– is just below the skin, it is the fatty layer and is also called the subcutaneous layer.

There are many commonly spread skin diseases:

  • Bacterial problems like MRSA infection can look like an ordinary skin wound, boil, or infected sore.
  • Virus like Herpes Simplex. This is generally found on the face, scalp, arms, neck and upper chest. Small round blisters when broken can secrete a clear or yellowish fluid. People contract herpes by touching infected saliva, mucous membranes, or skin.
  • Fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot, Jock Itch, and Ringworm. These causes red, patchy, flaky, itchy areas. It is contagious and is easily spread from one person to another. Fungal infections can be spread when an infected area on another person or contaminated surfaces like in showers are touched. Affected areas need to be kept clean and dry.

Some people with the following conditions are more prone to skin disorders. Healing may be adversely affected by receiving tattoos or body art:

  • History of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • History of Hemophilia or any other blood disorder or disease
  • History of skin diseases or skin lesions
  • History of allergies or adverse reactions to pigments, dyes, latex, etc.
  • Immune disorders