You can have your ink/piercing and give blood, too

September 14, 2020

Tattoos, piercings can’t keep you from saving a life with a blood donation 

One of the biggest misconceptions about giving blood with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is that a tattoo or piercing disqualifies you from donating. 

Guidelines 

With just a few exceptions, that isn’t the case. You can have recent ink or piercing and be a blood donor right away if done under this guidance: 

  • Your tattoo has to be done in a state-regulated facility 
  • The artist must use sterile needles 
  • The ink must be one-time-use only 
  • The tattoo must be completely healed. This means no signs of peeling, no scabbing or itching and the tattoo no longer needs to be treated with ointment. 

If you have a tattoo in the area where the needle for a blood donation goes (in the inside of your elbow), you will need to give your tech permission to insert it. 

Unregulated shops 

Tattoo shops are regulated in all but 10 states and the District of Columbia. But under new FDA changes this year, you only have to wait three months instead of twelve to give blood after getting inked in: 

  • Georgia 
  • Idaho 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Nevada 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New York 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Utah 
  • Wyoming 
  • District of Columbia 

State-regulated tattoo facilities are required to pass certain safety and health standards to avoid contaminating blood with bloodborne conditions, mainly hepatitis. 

Piercings 

Similar guidelines apply for piercings. You can donate blood right away if they are completely healed and done in a state-regulated facility with single-use equipment. You’ll have to wait three months if they were not. 


More from our blog:

About the artist: Jesse Amado

What medications can I take if I want to give blood?

'Old' science leads fight against COVID-19