Tattoos: Ornaments that get under your skin

During the summer months, the black or colourful designs on display on arms, calves and backs become particularly noticeable. But anyone who is considering getting a tattoo should be aware of a number of things before.

Tattoos are not entirely harmless and can harbour numerous health risks. The following advice will help you to identify some of them in advance and prevent unpleasant surprises later.

  • Don't make any rash decisions. Think carefully in advance where and what you want to tattoo onto your skin. We also recommend that you ask a medical expert in good time about any increased risk of skin allergies and cancer.
  • Never get a tattoo while at a street fair, festival or event. The pigments and needles could be contaminated and cause skin eczema or damage your health otherwise later on, for example through liver disease, or even Hepatitis C or AIDS.
  • Be very selective about the tattoo parlour and read about it in detail on the internet before. Your friends and the people you know can also help you to narrow down your options and make a good choice.
  • Visit the place before making an appointment in order to get a sense about the extent to which they observe hygiene standards (e.g. disinfecting the skin and equipment) and take due care. In addition, tattoo parlours that meet proper hygiene standards will have the Hygiene Quality Label from the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).
  • Be sure to clarify any uncertainties and questions you may still have during your visit and ask for explanations if you don't understand something.
  • Be aware of the health risks that come with a tattoo. While getting a tattoo, colour pigments are sprayed into the skin with special needles that open up the tissue on the surface, which may lead to inflammation or possibly even an infectious disease.
  • A professional outfit will provide information about the pigments they use and the necessary care afterwards.
  • If you want to have the tattoo removed again, do not experiment with acids or similar substances at home but contact a dermatologist and have it removed professionally. But even a careful removal procedure can make a tattoo only paler – a tattoo can never be made to disappear completely, and the removal process can leave scars because it again involves an injury to the skin
  • For additional information, visit the official website of the FSVO.



In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.