Hanoi youth sport UV tattoos despite cancer risk

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Glowing tattoos that are popular among Hanoi youth use imported ultraviolet ink that can cause cancer, say doctors.

Lan Anh, waiting at a tattoo shop on Nguyen Trai Street in Thanh Xuan District, was quoted by local newswire Vnexpress on Saturday as saying “only a few shops in Hanoi dare to offer UV tattoos. Many people like to have tattoos, but few dare to have an ultraviolet one.”

Anh said the tattooist had just returned from a course in France and people had to book and pay a deposit for the service.

Hoa, also waiting at the shop, already wears a tattoo 10 centimeters long on her arm that cost VND900,000 (US$49), that she said was “so cheap.”

Another customer named Linh also desired to add a UV tattoo to five normal ones from her neck downwards because “I want something unique and different.”

People with UV tattoos enjoy going to nightclubs or similar places that have ultraviolet rays so that their tattoos glow in the light, according to the newswire.

Linh said UV tattoos at first cause pain and burns, and he had to use anti-allergy medicines to ease them.

Dung, a hair designer, said he was attracted by the new tattoo “like anyone else.

“I got a dragon on my belly, but then it hurt like bee stings, and spread to my chest. I couldn’t bear it and I had to go to hospital to have it cleared.

“Doctors said I was allergic to some chemical.”

Another fan of the fad was Tu, a college student who had vesicles (cysts with fluid) a week after he had a UV tattoo done.

Tran Chi Hieu, head of the Tattoo Club in Hanoi, said many young members of the club have asked to get UV tattoos but he is discouraging them although the club has all the equipment for it.

“I have brought the UV ink to the Central Dermatology Hospital for testing and the results showed that the ink contained substances that can cause cancer,” Hieu was quoted by Vnexpress as saying.

Dr. Nguyen Thanh of the hospital said UV tattoos can damage the skin, causing burns, ulcers or swellings, and could also thicken the skin. “But the most serious consequence is the risk of cancer,” he said.

Source: Thanh Nien

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