Patients with tattoo reactions have reduced quality of life and suffer from itch: Dermatology Life Quality Index and Itch Severity Score measurements

Skin Res Technol. 2015 Feb;21(1):101-7. doi: 10.1111/srt.12164. Epub 2014 Jul 26.


Background: Tattoos are a trend with increasing side-effects. The burden of local reaction with swelling, itching and discomfort may impel sufferers to consult medical assistance.

Objectives: To assess tattoo reactions and their influence on quality of life and itching by utilizing the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) scoring system and Itch Severity Scale (ISS).

Methods: Patients attending the 'Tattoo Clinic' at Bispebjerg University Hospital, Denmark with tattoo problems spanning more than 3 months were invited. Forty patients participated during September-November 2012. Patients attending their routine consultations completed the ISS and DLQI questionnaires.

Results: Patients with tattoo reactions experienced reduced quality of life, DLQI score 7.4 and were burdened by itch, ISS score 7.2. Both DLQI and ISS results attained the level of discomfort of known skin diseases such as psoriasis, pruritus and eczema albeit the typical tattooed affected areas are smaller.

Conclusion/discussion: Sufferers of tattoo reactions have reduced quality of life and are often burdened by itching attaining the level of other cumbersome afflictions recognized as dermatological diseases associated with itch. Tattoo reactions warrant diagnosis and treatment with same professional intent shared with other skin diseases.

Keywords: DLQI; ISS; affective; itch; sensory; tattoos.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Coloring Agents / poisoning
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Drug Eruptions / epidemiology
  • Drug Eruptions / etiology
  • Drug Eruptions / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Pruritus / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*
  • Tattooing / psychology*
  • Tattooing / statistics & numerical data


  • Coloring Agents