How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Donate Blood?

How long after getting a tattoo can you donate blood? Donating blood is a safe and simple process that can save lives. However, if you have had a recent tattoo, you may not be able to do so. In this article, I’ll describe how long you need to wait to donate blood (in the U.S.), after getting a tattoo.

How long do you have to wait to donate blood after getting a tattoo? If you get a tattoo at a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused, you can donate blood just 12 hours after. If you don’t get a tattoo at a state-regulated tattoo parlor, you will have to wait for a specific time from 3 to 12 months before you can donate blood.

Before 2013, the rule was everyone had to wait a year to donate blood after getting a tattoo. But with more people getting tattoos, and the greater demand for blood, the laws changed. If a state-regulated entity has applied the tattoo using disposable sterile needles and fresh ink, you can donate nearly immediately after. But you have to fulfill the physical and hematological requirements.

This precaution is due to the risk of acquiring blood-borne infections. Legitimate bleeding centers are extra careful nowadays due to disease transmission. The precautions are taken to avoid contracting diseases like hepatitis B and C, MRSA, and HIV through contaminated needles and inks. 

Read on and learn more about how long after getting a tattoo you can donate blood, and other blood donor requirements.

How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Donate Blood?

How long you wait to donate blood after getting inked depends on the credibility of the facility that has performed your tattoo. This rule is because you can acquire diseases from tattoos, cosmetic tattoos (micro-blading of eyebrows), and piercings.  

If you get a tattoo at a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused, you can donate blood 12 hours after. If you don’t get a tattoo at a state-regulated tattoo parlor, you will have to wait for a specific time from 3 to 12 months before you can donate blood.

Some states do not have state-regulated tattoo parlors. They include. These states that do not regulate their tattoo procedures are District of Columbia, Utah, Maryland, Georgia, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Idaho, and New York.

So if you get a tattoo in any of these states, the parlors aren’t state-regulated, so you will likely have to wait about 3 to 12 months depending on the blood donation center.

If you get your tattoo in some other state than those mentioned, and you get it done in a state-regulated place, then you should be able to donate soon after. Usually, they will require you to wait about 12 hours before donating.

Tattoo centers must follow state-established regulations to avoid infections and diseases. Although rare, the following diseases can be contracted by going to illegitamte tattoo parlors that don’t follow safety guidelines.

Blood Transmissible Diseases/Infections Acquired After Tattoos

Various side effects of tattoos include allergic reactions, skin conditions, and complications. Diseases after tattoos include those that you can transmit through blood donation.  

1. Hepatitis B/Hepatitis C

You could transmit Hepatitis B and C to a blood recipient if either the needle or ink used in your tattoo procedure were infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or Hepatitis C virus (HCV). These viral infections affect the liver and may be acute or chronic.

2. Tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacterium affects your lungs primarily and causes tuberculosis. The bacterium could also affect other parts of your body, such as your bones. 

3. MRSA

You can transmit Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) through your blood. Researchers found out that unlicensed tattooists were the primary sources of MRSA infection in donors.

4. HIV

HIV can contaminate a person through HIV contaminated needles. However, studies have shown that no persons in the U.S. have acquired HIV through tattoos. Experts explained that it might be because the tattoo needles are not hollow, unlike needle stick injuries. 

But until scientists conduct an intensive study, tattoos remain as a possible source of HIV infections. So, experts still consider HIV as a transmissible tattoo infection.

The waiting period to donate blood is intended to observe if any of these infections occur in the tattooed person. But as mentioned earlier, the rules have loosened. If you get your tattoo at a state-regulated entity, in a state that regulates tattoo parlors, you should be able to donate about 12 hours after.

how long do you have to wait to donate blood after getting a tattoo

How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo Heal?

Your tattoo should heal within two to three weeks, on the outside, if there are no complications. Take note, though, that the inner skin layer will heal only after five weeks, or even more, and would still be recovering even when the outer skin appears fine. So be gentle when touching it. Please don’t rub it unnecessarily.

You may experience inflammation, pain, swelling, and redness during the first few days after the tattoo. You should expect this as the procedure is invasive. Nonetheless, pending complications, your tattoo should heal completely within a month or two.

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes for a Tattoo to Heal

1. Tattoo Method 

The method used in the tattoo procedure affects how fast your wounds could heal. If the tattooist used an aseptic technique with all his instruments sterilized and new (no re-used needles or ink), you would heal in no time at all. 

Re-used needles and ink can introduce diseases and allergies that would lengthen the healing process. Hence, ascertain that he uses new, disposable needles and ink. If he doesn’t, you have to refuse the procedure.  

2. The Expertise of the Tattooist

If the tattooist is an expert, there would be no tear or injury to your skin. Tattooing is an invasive procedure because of the use of needles. Persons with less experience can easily injure your skin, making healing longer.

3. Your Health

If you’re a diabetic person, your wound will not heal quickly. Thus, you have to maintain your blood sugar concentration at normal levels before going for a tattoo. Additionally, have a tattoo only when you are healthy, as the procedure could exacerbate your sick condition. 

4. Post-tattoo Care

Aftercare is crucial to the rapid healing of your tattoo. Avoid using sunblock or skin creams on your tattoo, unless prescribed by a doctor. Don’t pick or scratch the tattoo even when it gets itchy. You can pat it gently to relieve the itchiness. Don’t immerse your tattoo in water by swimming or staying long in the bathtub, but you can take a quick shower.

Knowing the prescribed time for you to donate blood in your state is smart. Nevertheless, even after the required period after your tattoo, you will still have to fulfill all the requirements needed for blood donors before you can donate.

We’ve answered the question: “How long after getting a tattoo can you donate blood?” and “How long after getting a tattoo can you give blood in a state that doesn’t regulate”? Let’s now proceed to the requirements needed for blood donors.

Blood Donation Requirements

1. Age 

In the states, prospective donors from age 17 to 65 can donate blood, while 16-year olds can donate blood when they have parental consent. This rule would depend on the blood donor rules established in your state and the fulfillment of the other blood donors’ requirements. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) requires blood donors to be between 18 to 65 years old. Donors aged 16 to 17 can donate if they have parental/guardian’s consent and have fulfilled all the other requirements.

In rare cases, a person under 16 can donate blood if his blood type is rare, and he has a scheduled surgery or when there is a family emergency that he alone can donate.

In some countries, the maximum age is 60. There are exceptional cases when persons more than 65 years old are accepted as blood donors if they have been regular donors, and when the physician has approved the blood donation.

2. Weight

Your weight should be at least 45 to 50 kilograms. If you’re lighter or heavier, you will not qualify.

3. Health

The doctor should certify that you have a clean bill of health with no existing conditions or diseases or a history of infectious diseases.

He will not recommend prospective donors with a sore throat, fever, colds, flu, cold sores, or any other infections until you get well. Furthermore, the root cause of the symptoms must not be transmissible by blood. 

If you had a minor dental procedure, you could donate after 24 hours. If it’s a significant procedure, you will have to wait for one month.

Prospective donors who have the following conditions/diseases cannot donate blood unless approved by a physician. However, bleeding centers permanently disqualify persons with a history of hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, bleeding conditions, chronic illnesses, and STDs.

For other diseases not mentioned in this list, you will have to consult your doctor first. Anyway, the blood bank will screen you properly before they collect your blood. Be honest in your answers as your truthful answers can save people’s lives.

  • Diabetes 
  • Hypertension – you can donate if you have blood pressure (BP) not lower than 90/50 mm Hg or higher than 180/100 mm Hg 
  • Heart disease
  • Bleeding conditions
  • Ebola virus
  • Hepatitis – you’re permanently disqualified from donating blood.
  • HIV/AIDS – like hepatitis, you should never donate blood if you have had this virus infection. 
  • Chronic infections
  • Zika virus infection
  • Syphilis/gonorrhea
  • Other sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
how long do you have to wait to give blood after getting a tattoo

4. Hematological Requirements

  • Hemoglobin levels-for females must not be lower than 12.0 g/dL (grams per deciliter) and not higher than 20 g/dL. For males, it must not be lower than 13.0 g/dL and not higher than 20 g/dL.  
  • Blood morphology and differential count must be within normal specified limits.

5. Behavior

  • You must not have used recreational drugs of any kind.
  • You must not have a history of HIV infection or other blood-borne diseases.
  • You must not have had promiscuous relationships or engaged in ‘at risk’ sexual relationships, such as man-to-man (MSM) and HIV partners. Studies have revealed that men with sensual contact with other men (MSM) are significant sources of HIV infections.

6. Frequency of Blood Donation

You must have an adequate time interval from three to four months before you can donate blood again. At the time of donation, your hemoglobin must be 12.0 g/dL and above.

Your body can naturally reproduce the blood you have donated, and this process can happen faster when you observe a healthy diet and acceptable health practices.

7. Alcohol Intake

If you plan to donate blood, don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before the donation. You wouldn’t want the recipient to wake up ‘drunk,’ would you?

8. Pregnant and Nursing Women

You cannot donate if you’re pregnant or nursing a baby. You will have to wait six months after giving birth before you can donate blood. This rule is to ascertain that you have sufficient blood in the store if you bleed during the birthing process.

How to Make the Tattoo Heal Faster?

How long do you have to wait to give blood after getting a tattoo at a parlor that isn’t state-regulated? If you got your tattoo by a parlor that isn’t state-regulated, then you likely have to wait about 3 to 12 months to donate blood. To help make your tattoo heal faster, follow the below tips:

  1. Don’t immerse the tattoo in water for long periods.
  2. Protect the tattoo from the sun and external forces.
  3. Prevent contamination or infection when going out. Wear protective clothing.
  4. Don’t rub, scratch, or press the tattoo unnecessarily to prevent irritation.
  5. Avoid stretching the skin and applying undue pressure to the tattoo.
  6. Avoid sun exposure as this could cause itchiness and sweating. Don’t go sunbathing. As much as possible, stay in comfortable places to prevent sweating and discomfort.   

How Long After a New Tattoo Can You Workout?

Another common question many have after getting a tattoo, is how long do you have to wait until you can workout or sweat.

You can work out or exercise about 48 hours after getting a fresh tattoo. Working out will make you sweat, and the tattoo can get drenched with sweat and get infected. Undue exertion and stretching of the skin could also increase the risk of bleeding and infection. 

An example of this is weight lifting. This activity could stretch the skin and could damage the skin more to prevent quick healing. 

It would be best to wait for the tattoo piercings to heal completely. This healing would take more than 48 hours. Tattoos heal within one to two months, depending on your post-care routine.

Conclusion – How Long Do You Have to Wait to Donate Blood After Getting a Tattoo?

So to recap, how long after a new tattoo can you donate blood? If a state-regulated entity has applied your tattoo using aseptic methods, such as disposable sterile needles and fresh ink, you can donate blood after 12 hours. But you have to fulfill the physical and hematological requirements as well.

If you get your tattoo at a place that isn’t state-regulated, you will have to wait about 3 to 12 months, depending on the donation center requirements. The blood donation center will ask how you acquired the tattoo and assess your physical and hematological examination results.

Donating blood saves lives. If you have to get that tattoo, by all means, don’t let your tattoo get in the way of doing something good for humanity. Just remember to wait the necessary amount of time to donate safely.