Although recent years have seen tattoos dragged into the mainstream – having previously been the exclusive rights of pirates, bikers, and rock-stars – we know they’re still not that good for corporate environments. That is, if you walk into a job interview with angel wings creeping out of the collar of your Armani shirt, you might not be taken as seriously as you might have hoped. But even if tattoos aren’t good for social stature, they may be good for your health.
Recent research into the topic was conducted by the University of Alabama, and it turned out some very interesting results. The research involved monitoring the health of several people going for their first tattoos and several people returning for tattoos, who already had at least one tattoo.
How Health Benefits May Supersede the Stigma of Tattoos
Before your grandmother decided that she might like a tattoo of her cat on her ankle, tattoos were an underground fetish. This, however, was largely thanks to the seedy, back-room tattoo parlours that spread disease and infection through improper hygiene.
Social stigmas aside, the lack of sanitation meant that people saw tattoos as decidedly unhealthy. Many thought that tattoos were a first-class ticket to sickness that they wanted absolutely nothing to do with.
However, with tattoo shops opening in various suburbs in recent years, displaying cleanliness that rivals (and in some cases surpasses) that of hospitals, people’s perceptions began to change. And now, through the help of science, tattoos are likely to be seen as a healthy lifestyle choice in the future.
The Science of Health-Boosting Tattoos
Researchers at the University of Alabama used volunteers to conduct a series of tests which monitored people’s immune responses to tattoos. This was achieved by monitoring an antibody called immunoglobulin A.
The results showed that rising levels of cortisol in first-time tattoo recipients meant a decrease in immunoglobulin A. This is likely due to the stress response in the body. However, multiple-tattoo recipients’ bodies are accustomed to repeat stressors, and thus their cortisol levels don’t rise as much when receiving subsequent tattoos, according to the research.
The less significant drops in immunoglobulin A in multiple-tattoo recipients is, according to researchers, a result of a higher immune response. This creates a direct correlation between multiple tattoos and a better ability to fight off the common cold.
Though the study was only conducted on a small amount of participants, and thus can’t be seen as conclusive, it certainly presents an interesting topic for further study.