Sarcoidosis and Tattoos

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

When deciding to get a tattoo the main things that you think about is where it should go on your body, how it will look, and of course, the pain of getting the tattoo.

Never do you think that your tattoo may give you any health issues or be the cause of an illness that you’ve probably never heard of. This is another reason why you should consider everything before going ahead with a tattoo. 

It’s not just about the tattoo itself, it’s about the tattoo artist, the studio where it’s getting done, and the hygiene standards. It’s also about your own health and looking after your wellbeing. 
Sarcoidosis is just one of these diseases that you may not have heard of but can be triggered by getting a tattoo. We’ll let you know exactly what sarcoidosis is and also the causes, symptoms and treatments for this disease.

What Is Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect many of the body’s organs. It’s mostly found in the lungs, skin and lymph glands. It’s thought to be a type of autoimmune disease where your immune system is in overdrive and starts to attack your body. 

The symptoms can vary depending on the organ that’s affected. However, more common symptoms are; a persistent cough, tender, red bumps on the skin, and shortness of breath.

It’s reported that sarcoidosis can be triggered or the symptoms be made worse by tattoos. 

Sarcoidosis and Tattoos: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Getting a tattoo is a personal choice and is very often an expression of people’s beliefs and values. People also use them to express their personality and as some kind of therapy by wearing their heart on their sleeve as such.

If you’re getting a tattoo you should make sure that you choose a reputable and experienced tattoo artist. They will be able to advise you on the procedure and any issues that might appear.

If you have any health issues, especially if you’re susceptible to autoimmune diseases you should be very careful when having a tattoo. Many healthcare providers would recommend that you don’t get a tattoo if suffering from any illnesses. You should speak to them beforehand to get their advice.

Sarcoidosis is a worrying disease as it generally affects your lungs as well as your skin. The disease can improve with treatment, however, it can also worsen and become dangerous. This is known as chronic sarcoidosis. 

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


The exact cause of sarcoidosis is not known but it is thought to be a type of autoimmune disease. Your body’s immune system would normally fight off infections by releasing white blood cells to destroy any germs. This causes redness and inflammation that will go away once the infection has cleared.

Sometimes it’s the case where your immune system goes into overdrive and starts to attack your own tissues and organs. This inflammation then causes granulomas from sarcoidosis.


It’s almost impossible to know how each individual will react to sarcoidosis as the condition can affect almost every organ in a different way. Many people develop symptoms suddenly that will go away almost as quickly as they appeared. 

Others will develop gradual symptoms over a long period of time and may be severely affected. With chronic sarcoidosis, it may form in an organ and then stop the organ from working. Some people don’t develop any symptoms at all and the disease is picked up at an x-ray or scan. 

Some of the symptoms that will appear when you have sarcoidosis are: 

  • Tender, swollen glands in the face, neck, armpits or groin
  • Tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell and fatigue
  • Painful joints and pain in the bones
  • Red or sore eyes
  • Kidney stones
  • Headache
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Blocked or stuffy nose
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty to breathe


Sarcoidosis can affect people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, however, it’s rare in children. It generally affects people between the ages of 20 and 40 and is more common in women than men.

Many people don’t require treatment as the symptoms will go away by themselves. However,Simple lifestyle changes and the use of over-the-counter painkillers will also help with any flare-ups. 

If the symptoms are worse, your doctor will look to treat this with steroid tablets. These are strong and should be used for short periods when directed by your doctor.


There are lots of issues and medical reasons to be careful when deciding to get a tattoo. However, if you have the best tattoo artist and the best aftercare, you should be fine.

At the first sign of any issues, you should contact your tattoo artist straight away, closely followed by your doctor. They will be able to advise further.

If you look after yourself and your tattoo all should be good.

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