Sickle Cell and Tattoos


Tattoos have been a form of self-expression for decades now. For those with sickle cell, many warriors have wondered if getting a tattoo could lead to some kind of negative complication or crisis. A question was asked by a fearless warrior contemplating a tattoo, and it led to one of our most vibrant discussions on the Sickle Cell Warriors Facebook Page.

The post had over 100 responses. Most of the people that responded had tattoos, and had no issues either before or after getting the tattoo. Only one person stated that she had a crisis post-tattoo. Make sure you go to a legit tattoo artist and use all proper precautions for safety. To debunk the myths…no, the ink does not seep into your body causing more crisis or ink poisoning  There is no big reason to pre-medicate unless you are afraid of a little pain (which I find hard to believe because sickle cell pain is 1000 times worse)! If you do get a tattoo on your chest or upper body, make sure that you cover the area with a bandage or cloth before getting an X-ray.

So if you want to get a tattoo, don’t let sickle cell be the reason holding you back! This is one thing that sickle cell cannot stop you from doing. Go for it.


  1. Being a 19 year old with sickle cell anemia ive had a crisis 9 times this year and its only october. i need to know more information about this disease.

  2. I’ve always said I wanted a tattoo but my grandma said that I would have to talk to my Dr. About it and she clames that if I get one it may cause probs. So now I have proof that i can get one. Without any crisis.

    • @Jay, there is a risk of infection if you go to a crappy place. But if you go to a legitimate operation, which has hygiene standards, they use a new needle for you, and you follow all the instructions, and keep the wound clean, you should be fine. I think your mom doesn’t want you to get a tattoo. But you are a grown woman:)

  3. Just want to warn you guys. My cousin has sickle cell and had a crisis while getting her tattoo. The dr’s have her on life support now, and they say her lungs are shot. The family will remove her from the ventilator by the end of the week. She leaves behind a lil girl. I don’t mean to scare anyone. It seems this is very rare, but it can happen. A tattoo is not worth risking your life.

  4. Hi my name is Aaliyah an I’m so scared to get a tattoo because I have the sickle trait and I don’t want to risk my life just for a tattoo that I always wanted. Sickle is a really, really hard thing to live with but once you have it, there is no turning back with the sickle trait or disease. I’m really scared to get one and I’m 20 years old with 3 kids.

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