The claim: Tattoos can increase the risk of skin cancer.
The facts: As more people tattoo their bodies, some have wondered if there are health risks.
Many inks have metals in them: blue, for example, contains cobalt and aluminium, and red may contain mercury sulphide. That, along with the fact that tattooing can be traumatising to the skin, prompted a suspicion that tattoos may lead to skin cancer.
Studies in recent years have documented a few cases of cancer at a tattoo site. However, Dr Ariel Ostad, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Centre in Manhattan, said that the ink is unlikely to do any harm because it is confined to cells in the skin called macrophanges, whose job is to absorb foreign material.
He said what was more likely to have happened was that the tattoo was placed on an existing mole, making any changes in the mole hard to spot.
The bottom line: There is no evidence that tattoos lead to skin cancer.
-The New York Times