Are you a one-of-a-kind person that values self-expression and selflessness? Do you want to donate blood but don’t know if your tattoos or piercings disqualify you? You may be surprised to learn that, in most cases, you are still eligible to donate. Keep reading below for all the important details!
Tattoos and Blood Donation
In most states, a tattoo is acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused. The same goes for cosmetic tattoos (including microblading of eyebrows only): if they were applied in a licensed establishment in a regulated state using sterile needles and ink that is not reused, then they are acceptable.
If you received a tattoo in a state that does not regulate tattoo facilities, then you must wait three months after it was applied. Currently, the only states that DO NOT regulate tattoo facilities are District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming.
Body Piercings and Blood Donation
Similarly, piercings are acceptable if the instruments used were single-use equipment and disposable (meaning both the gun and the earring cassette were disposable). You must wait three months if a piercing was performed using a reusable gun or any reusable instrument. It’s also required that you wait three months if there is any question whether the instruments used were single-use equipment.
Three-Month Waiting Period
These wait-time requirements for both tattoos and piercings are related to concerns about hepatitis which can easily be transmitted from donors to patients through transfusion. All blood donations are tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C with several different tests. But because these tests are not perfect, it is still important for people who may be infected with hepatitis viruses to not donate blood. You can learn more about hepatitis and blood donation here.
American Red Cross donors wear their hearts on their sleeves and know just how important donating is. Now you know you can still donate blood even if that sleeve is covered in tattoos!