Granulomas and Tattoos

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

When you’re thinking about getting a tattoo the main things that you think about is the pain of the tattoo, where it should be placed on your body, and getting the perfect design.

You don’t ever think that your tattoo may be the cause of any health issues or illnesses that you’ve never heard of before. This gives you even more to think about before going ahead with a tattoo. 

Your health and wellbeing are important so you need to make sure that you choose the right tattoo artist and studio. These should be to a high standard and thoroughly hygienic. 

You may never have heard of granulomas but they can be triggered when getting a tattoo. We’ll let you know exactly what granulomas are and also the causes, symptoms and treatments for these.

What Are Granulomas?

A granuloma is a small area of inflammation that is thought to be caused by your immune system going into overdrive. This will fight off any foreign invaders such as bacteria, however, when it reacts overly it causes inflammation. 

A granuloma is a tiny cluster of white blood cells and other tissues that are not cancerous. They are normally found in the head, lungs and skin and are only noticed generally when having an x-ray or other type of scan. 

One of the things reported to cause granulomas is red tattoo ink.

Granulomas and Tattoos: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Getting a tattoo is often an expression of people’s personality and their values and it gives them an opportunity to show these off. If you decide to get a tattoo you should make sure that you choose a reputable and experienced tattoo artist. They will be able to advise you on how you should prepare, what the procedure involves and any issues that might appear.

If you have any health issues, especially if you’re susceptible to autoimmune diseases you should let your tattoo artist know and be very careful when having a tattoo. Many doctors would recommend that you don’t get a tattoo if you suffer from any illnesses. You should speak to them beforehand to get their advice.

Granulomas generally affect your lungs as well as your skin. They can be found as a lump and are normally only picked up when having an x-ray for another issue. They can disappear on their own, however, they can also worsen and require treatment. This is known as chronic granulomatous disease. 

It’s thought that granulomas form around the ink used in tattoos, which is why we would recommend that you get advice if you have previously suffered from any autoimmune diseases.


The exact cause of granulomas is so far unknown, however, most granulomas form when immune cells clump together to create tiny nodules where the inflammation is located. They form to try to contain any bacteria and to prevent it from spreading. They also form to isolate detected foreign bodies.

Granulomas can also form part of other conditions, such as sarcoidosis, Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis. It can appear in people of any age but is mostly detected in women rather than men.


Each individual will react differently to granulomas and it will also depend on the location and type of granuloma that you have. 

Most people will notice a lump under their skin. However, others won’t notice any symptoms at all until they go for an x-ray or scan for another reason. The granulomas may then be picked up via this. 

Some granulomas develop inside the body, affecting the lungs or blood vessels. These types of granulomas are thought to be caused by autoimmune diseases, or health conditions linked to the immune system. Skin granulomas are detected by raised pink or flesh-colored lumps underneath the skin. These are generally harmless and don’t require any treatment.


Most granulomas disappear eventually without any treatment but those with more severe cases may be given antibiotics to reduce the inflammation and prevent further infections. Some people require treatment for cosmetic reasons and may be offered corticosteroids or phototherapy to reduce the lumps that can be seen. 

Doctors will very often look to treat the underlying health condition that may have caused the granuloma lumps to appear in the first place.


If you suffer from any underlying health condition or autoimmune disease you need to be careful when choosing to get a tattoo. You should speak to a medical professional before going ahead. 

If you have the best tattoo artist and the best aftercare this is a good start to a great tattoo. However, at the first sign of any issues, you should contact your doctor straight away and they will be able to advise further about any treatment required..

Look after your body and your health as well as your tattoo and all should be good.

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