Many gym visitors have one or several tattoos on their skin. Every tattoo is made by thousands of injections with a special needle. The ink is injected into the dermal layer of the skin. There is also a lot of sweat glands in this area and they might be affected by these injections.
These injections are abnormal for our bodies. That’s why there’s always an inflammation on the inked skin during a few weeks after a tattoo session. Of course, it also affects the immune system, that’s why sometimes you may feel weakness after a tattoo session – your body does everything possible to finish the inflammatory process.
Until recently, no one ever studied how ink that remains in our skin affects sweat production. The main function of sweat is cooling our body when its temperature is getting high. It’s very important for athletes because their bodies perform a lot of efforts while training. Without proper thermoregulation their athletic performance will decrease.
Sweat contains a lot of sodium and other electrolytes. Our bodies need electrolytes for proper functioning of muscular and cardiovascular systems, for short-term memory and transmission of neuroimpulses.
So recently, American scientist Dr. Luetkemeier from Michigan decided to explore how tattoos affect sweat production. He recruited 10 young men with tattoos for participation. Some of them made their tattoos just recently, others – a few years ago. The subject matter of the study was to compare the sweat production on the inked and bare skin. For example, if a participant had a tattoo on the right arm (forearm, chest, shoulder etc.), scientists had to investigate the same amount of bare skin on the opposite arm. They smeared pilocarpine nitrate on the tattoo and the same area on the bare skin so the skin had abundantly sweated. Above it they put special discs to absorb the produced sweat.
Scientists discovered that different areas sweated unevenly. Every man’s tattooed part of the skin produced only a half as much sweat as their bare skin. The chemical composition of these two absorptions was different too: absorption from the inked skin contained twice more sodium than the absorption from the untattooed skin. These results were equal for both recent and old tattoos.
Scientists came to a conclusion that the ink in the dermal layer results in permanent changes in the chemical environment of the skin. Some of the sweat glands are being blocked by it.
This study isn’t bound with training in the gym, the conditions were absolutely different. The temperature of the participants’ bodies didn’t increase as while training. Also, no women took part in this study. Anyway, doctor says that even during exercise uneven sweat production may cause overheating or any other problems. The fact of the uneven sweat production isn’t significant for it. Even if sweat glands in the inked part of the skin were lost, the body will compensate this disbalance by increasing sweat production from the untattooed part of the skin.