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tattoos and iv therapy

Table of Contents

  1. IV Insertion and Tattoos
  2. Is it Hard to Locate a Vein Covered with Tattoos?
  3. Is It Safe to Get an IV With Tattoos?
  4. Possible IV Risk of Tattoos
  5. Learn More About Tattoos and IV Treatment

You’ve probably heard about the many benefits that come with IV therapy. You’ve heard that it helps take your health to the next level. You’ve heard about the increased energy, the hangovers and headaches that practically disappear, and the healthier skin that leaves you looking and feeling your best. 

But sadly, you think that IV therapy is just not for you. Why? Because your arms are covered in tattoos.

We see it all the time — people who want to try IV therapy but hesitate because they heard a myth that you can not start an IV through a tattoo. Well, the team at Mobile IV Nurses would like to be the first to tell you: IV treatments with tattoos are safe! 

Having tattoos has no effect on being able to administer IV drip therapy. No matter where your tattoos are located, we can give you therapy with all our different IV packages, including IV solutions with vitamins, minerals, and even pain medications such as Toradol.

You can experience the health benefits of rapid hydration and vitamin IV therapy even if you have tattoos, and Mobile IV Nurses is happy to provide you with top-quality infusions to help enhance your health.

IV Insertion & Tattoos

Tattoos are a popular way to express yourself, and they’re becoming increasingly common these days. In fact, polls show that about 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo! This means that many people getting IV treatments (both in the hospital and through providers like Mobile IV Nurses) have a tattoo — possibly right where we need to place the IV. 

Many of our patients have questions about the dangers a tattoo can cause for their infusion. We often get questions like “will an IV mess up a tattoo?” and “can you get an IV placed with a tattoo?”They are worried that putting an IV in will result in some sort of infection, and that an IV drip with a tattoo will cause the area to scar or become disfigured in some way.

To reassure you of the safety of getting IV therapy with tattoos, here are a few of the questions we often receive from our customers, which we will answer below:

Is it Hard to Locate a Vein Covered with Tattoos?

We’ll be the first to admit it. It can be more difficult to see a person’s veins when they have tattoos. The dark color of the tattoo tends to hide the veins, which can make them tougher to spot. However, this “problem” is not limited to people with tattoos. Nurses often have a harder time seeing the veins of people with darker skin tones, older individuals, or even dehydrated people!

So, how can we put in an IV when we can’t see the vein? Simple: we use our sense of touch. Our nurses will palpate the skin (also known as prodding your arm) until they feel a vein. Then, they will use something small like a pen cap to create an indentation in the skin. This “landmark” will help ensure the IV goes into the vein without a hitch!

Is It Safe to Get an IV With Tattoos?

Yes! IV infusions with tattoos are safe, and individuals with tattoos can get IVs without worry. In fact, some IV therapy can help you maintain the beauty of your tattoos! For example, IVs that contain vitamin C or glutathione offer anti-aging benefits that can give you beautiful skin AND clean, vibrant tattoos. 

Of course, there are a few instances in which a nurse might hesitate to put an IV through a tattoo. The first instance is when the ink is fairly new. This is because skin infections and allergic reactions are a greater risk of new tattoos, and we’d like to keep you as safe as possible. If your tattoo is less than a month old, we’ll try to find a different vein for your IV treatment.

When else might we avoid putting an IV through a tattoo? When the patient asked us not to. Mobile IV Nurses is dedicated to our patient’s needs, and we will always do our best to find a tattoo-free area for your IV if you’d rather we avoid your ink.

As you can see, tattoos are safe for IV therapy, and with Mobile IV Nurses, you can be certain that we’ll take extra care of you and your tattoos.

Possible IV Risk of Tattoos

There are probably a few skeptics out there still wondering how safe it is to get IV therapy with a tattoo. We get it. You don’t want to risk hurting yourself OR your body art — and odds are you’ve heard some widespread myths about the risks of tattoos and IVs. 

At Mobile IV Nurses, we want all our patients to feel comfortable with their treatment. This is why we have medical professionals monitoring your condition throughout the infusion, and it’s why we’d like to take some time to address a few rumored “dangers” of tattoos and IV treatments right now.

Myth #1: The IV Will Scar the Tattoo

Tattoo ink stains the cells at the dermis level of the skin. This means the ink is not sitting on the surface (once the tattoo is fully healed) and won’t be affected by an IV. There is a very slight risk of visible track marks on a tattoo, but that is usually the result of poor needle placements — something the experts at Mobile IV Nurses are careful to avoid.

All the staff at Mobile IV Nurses are experienced medical professionals with years of practice administering IV treatment to patients, including those who have intricate tattoos. If you have concerns along the way, we’d love to tell you more about the safety and effectiveness of our IV therapy, just give us a call or ask your provider when they arrive. 

Myth #2: Ink Will Bleed into Your Bloodstream

This is a common myth about the risks of tattoos and IVs. However, it’s simply untrue! The IV will not disturb the ink in your tattoo. Even if it did, there is no danger of tattoo ink in your bloodstream; your lymph nodes and kidneys would process the ink just as they would any other particle (fun fact: tattoo removal uses a laser to break up pigments, so they can be absorbed into the body and is processed in exactly this manner).

Learn More About Tattoos and IV Treatment

At Mobile IV Nurses, we want you to have more energy, greater mental clarity, and all the other benefits of vitamins you can get through IV therapy. However, we also want you to feel comfortable and confident throughout your IV experience. This is why our team is always happy to answer your questions!

Worried about the dangers of a tattoo and IV treatments? Give us a call! Not sure which infusion will help you reach your health goals? Ask us! Our staff of experienced registered nurses will be happy to help you find the best infusion for your unique needs.

Once you’re ready to give IV therapy a try, simply visit our online scheduler and make an appointment. You can also make an appointment by giving us a call at your convenience. Mobile IV Nurses has teams of nurses on call across Arizona and Florida, so we can always get someone to your door ASAP. Our typical hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but we can often do IV therapy after hours if we have nurse availability during that time. Just let us know your needs, and we’ll do what we can to make it as convenient as possible for you. If you require an IV to nurse your hangover, support your immune system, or simply make you feel your best, Mobile IV Nurses is here for you!

If you have any questions along the way, we’d be happy to talk to you about our various IV packages and service offerings. We can also tell you more about our process of administering the IV and the precautions we take to ensure your medical IV with a tattoo is easy and stress-free.


Can you draw blood over a tattoo?

When it comes to IV treatment topics surrounding veins and tattoos, there’s some misinformation out there. Yes, a nurse or paramedic can safely draw blood from a vein under a tattoo. A tattoo makes little difference when it comes to inserting a needle for an IV infusion. The presence of a tattoo may make finding a vein a little more challenging in some cases, but it does not make a significant difference. 

Why? Tattoos have no effect on the blood in the body. 

What happens when you hit a vein when tattooing?

During the tattoo process, it is possible that a needle could rupture the vein. This results in bleeding into the surrounding tissue with the potential for infection. Ruptures seldom occur when tattooing over regular veins. If anything, such a complication is more common when spider veins are involved. Fortunately, IV insertions never involve spider veins. 

Keep in mind there is always a risk of infection with any tattoo. When the tattoo is created over a vein, the risk of infection is somewhat higher. 

Overall, tattoos over veins are not more painful than other tattoo types. There is a small risk of ink getting into the vein during a tattoo but much depends on the experience and skill level of the tattoo artist. In fact, for most people (and larger tattoos), a tattoo hurts more than getting an IV! 

How do nurses find veins under tattoos?

Providers feel for the veins under tattoos in a process known as palpation. People with tattoos are not the only ones whose veins are sometimes difficult to see, so palpation is standard practice. 

Once a suitable vein is found, the nurse uses an alcohol swab to disinfect the injection site. This also serves the purpose of creating a contrast between the tattooed area and the rest of the skin. In some cases, a pen cap is used to differentiate the area for needle insertion. It serves as a visual landmark during IV insertions. 

Once the needle is inserted, a plastic catheter is inserted, the needle is removed and the IV fusion starts, the procedure is the same as for any other patient. 

Do tattoos make it harder to find veins?

Although not always the case, tattoos can make it harder to see veins due to the ink pigment. This can make it harder for the nurse or paramedic to find one visually, but as noted, they can also feel for veins obscured by the tattoo. Any professional should be able to find a vein without an issue, even on patients with sleeve tattoos. 

The only drawback to having an IV put in over a tattoo is that it could be more difficult to detect changes in skin color indicating infection. However, pain and swelling are other indications of infection, which rarely occur with properly inserted IVs. The nurse or paramedic providing the services will know what to look for throughout the entire infusion process.