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Un tatouage est-il compatible en cas de psoriasis ?

Tattooing and Psoriasis: Are They Compatible?

Given that psoriasis is a condition that directly affects the epidermis and the aesthetic appearance of the skin, it is entirely legitimate to question the possibility of getting a tattoo when suffering from this disease. Learn more in this article.

Summary
Published February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

Psoriasis, in brief.

The psoriasis is characterized by the presence of red, scaly patches that form on specific areas of the body. These patches can cause itching and irritation, with the intensity varying among individuals. They emerge in response to a skin inflammation caused by a malfunction of the immune system. T lymphocytes are responsible for the production of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines Il-17, Il-22, TNF-alpha, and others. These substances stimulate the multiplication of keratinocytes, cells present in the skin. As a result, the normal rhythm of cell renewal, which would typically take three weeks, is accelerated to just three days. This process leads to an accumulation of immature keratinocytes on the skin's surface, which increases the thickness of the superficial layer, thus forming a hyperkeratosis.

The skin symptoms of psoriasis can affect any area of the body, from the ears to the tongue, including the genital areas which can lead to various clinical forms. However, the scaly plaques are generally located on the scalp, elbows, and knees. They are sometimes accompanied by a rheumatism.

What are the risks of tattooing in patients with psoriasis?

Naturally, some patients with psoriasis may be hesitant to get tattoos due to fear of flare-ups. Is there a connection between psoriasis flare-ups and the act of getting a tattoo?

Regarding patients with psoriasis, data on the risks associated with getting a tattoo remain unclear, especially for those who are receiving systemic or biological treatment. A few cases of Koebner's phenomenon have been reported, but no serious complications, particularly of an infectious nature, have been reported in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. This phenomenon refers to the appearance of pre-existing dermatitis on a previously healthy skin area following mechanical trauma. Another study showed that few complications were associated with tattooing in psoriatic patients.

Generally, it is not prohibited for patients affected by psoriasis to get tattoos outside of the areas impacted by lesions. However, it is said that patients who have previously experienced the Koebner phenomenon are more likely to develop an early onset of psoriasis on their tattoos. Therefore, it is important for patients with psoriasis who are considering a tattoo to be informed about potential risks and complications and seek prior advice from their dermatologist. Dermatologists also play a key role by being aware of the available data to advise their patients in an informed manner and prevent potential complications.

Sources

KLUGER N. & al. Tattooing and psoriasis: a case series and review of the literature. International Journal of Dermatology (2017).

GRODNER C. & al. Complications des tatouages chez les patients psoriasiques avec ou sans traitements. Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie (2019).

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