Your Tattoo Could Give You This Cool Health Benefit

Aside from the artistic expression and sentimental value, there’s another benefit to having a tattoo.

It could make you healthier.

I have been seriously been considering a small tattoo after all these years of resisting the urge. Naturally, I did a little research.

As it turns out, a tattoo can actually boost your immune system.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology found that tattoos can strengthen the body’s immunological response. This means that your body could be better at battling infections than it was pre-tattoo.


For the study, researchers collected saliva samples from people before and after they got tattoos. They also noted how many tattoos the participants received and the duration of the tattooing process.

The samples were then analyzed and measured for levels of immunoglobulin A (an antibody that lines some parts of our gastrointestinal and respiratory systems) and cortisol (a stress hormone that can suppress the body’s immune response).

Researchers found that immunoglobulin A levels dropped significantly at first in people who were receiving their first tattoo. This is not surprising because cortisol is raised during the tattoo process, decreasing a person’s immune system.

What was noteworthy was that people who had tattoos before had less of an immediate immunoglobulin A decrease.

Meaning, getting a tattoo makes your body stronger.

Or at the very least, the more tatted up you are, the stronger your immune system.


The cause is simple: according to the study’s authors, the reasoning is similar to how the body reacts to exercise. Intense workouts stress your body, but also make it stronger the more our bodies get used to it.

“When you stress yourself, either via exercise or a tattoo, cortisol suppresses the immune response,” says Lynn. “As with exercise, if you keep it up, your body adjusts its systems or builds up its defenses in ways that accommodate the stress to the skin so that it can also deal with things like the common cold without getting all out of whack every time you get a new one.”

Tell that to your mom the next time she complains about your ink addiction.

If you’re considering a tattoo yourself, you can always test one out on this app before you take the plunge. Taking the tattoo test drive a step further, two Toronto brothers have also invented a two-week tattoo.