Dermatological and Ophthalmological Inflammatory, Infectious, and Tumoral Tattoo-Related Reactions: A Systematic Review

Juliana Muñoz-Ortiz, Mariana Teresa Gómez-López, Paula Echeverry, Mario Federico Ramos, Ligia Alejandra De la Torre Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this work was to review the scientific evidence about dermatological and ophthalmological inflammatory, infectious, and tumoral tattoo-related reactions published in the literature. METHODS: We conducted a literature search from January 1, 2000 to July 15, 2020 in MEDLINE, COCHRANE, EMBASE, and LILACS. Limits regarding the language and period of publication were used. A data collection form was designed in Excel. Four reviewers independently extracted relevant details about the design and the results of each study. RESULTS: One hundred four studies were included, most of them were conducted in Europe and North America. The remaining studies were conducted in Asia, South America, Africa, and Oceania. We included 52 case reports, 21 cross-sectional studies, 20 case series, 10 case-control studies, and 1 cohort study. Eighty-six studies described skin tattoos, of which 7 were publications of eyebrow tattoos and 6 of eyelid tattoos, and 5 articles included cases of subconjunctival tissue tattoos (eyeball). Fifty-seven studies described local reactions related to tattoos and 47 studies reported systemic reactions or reactions in different locations from the tattoo site. The types of reactions described in the studies were: infections in 45 studies, inflammatory reactions in 53 studies, neoplasia in 4 studies, and hypertrichosis in 2 studies. CONCLUSION: This literature review evidenced a close relationship between the application of tattoos on dermatological and ophthalmological tissues, and the possible immunological complications, neoplasms, and infectious complications. Dermatologists and ophthalmologists should be aware of the consequences caused by even small amounts of ink applied on skin and eyes, generating the need for strict regulations for its use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages12
JournalThe Permanente journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 26 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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