In recent years, tattoos have returned to fashion. Many people choose to decorate their body with a small, discreet design or even dare something more elaborate, such as a "sleeve" or a tattoo that covers the entire back.
Tattoos today have moved away from the social stigma associated with the past, and are now an extremely common practice. Thus reasonably it is the subject of study for scientists and researchers. A new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests that tattoos have health benefits!
According to the findings of researchers from the University of Alabama, tattoos strengthen the immune system, so it can more effectively kill viruses, bacteria and other germs, protecting us from common infections.
Although a new tattoo triggers the immune response, temporarily lowering our body's defenses, there are long-term benefits, the researchers note. As Dr. Christopher Lynn of the University of Alabama puts it, getting a new tattoo is like exercising while not in shape - it hurts the first time, but if you keep going you get stronger and the discomfort subsides.
In fact, the more tattoos, the better - at least in terms of immunity. "After the first reaction, the body regains its balance," Lynn explains, "but if you keep putting your body in this process over and over again, you do not return to the same point, the bar goes up."
The researchers came up with the above results after analyzing cases of people who had one or more tattoos. They were asked how many tattoos they had done in total and recorded how long it took to get each one done. The researchers also took saliva samples from the volunteers before and after getting a new tattoo. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that has been shown to suppress the immune response, and levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, were measured. Lynn describes immunoglobulin A as the body's first line of defense against pathogenic microorganisms, such as the viruses that cause the common cold.
Analyzes indicated that immunoglobulin A levels dropped significantly in people getting a tattoo for the first time, most likely due to cortisol being released in response to the process. However, the drop in immunoglobulin A was milder for those who did second, third, fourth time tattoo.
According to Dr. Lynn, immune agents rush to the site of the new tattoo in case they need to deal with an infection. But when the body goes through the tattoo process over and over again, it gets used to it in some way and so the immune response is not triggered just as easily.
What the experts emphasize is that one should not get a new tattoo if one is already ill, as in this case the effect of cortisol negatively affects the healing process.
The bottom line is that getting more tattoos at regular intervals strengthens the immune system, making it stronger each time.