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Bumps and Lumps in the Sun—Mercury Sensitivity in Tattoos—A Photo-Allergic Reaction in Red Pigment.

Norman Goldstein
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Capt., MC, USA, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ann Intern Med. 1967;66(5):1069. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-66-5-1069_2
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

Allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are infrequently seen. Previous investigators reporting reactions to red tattoo pigment (mercuric sulfide) claim mercury-containing ointments or immunization agents containing mercury preservatives as inciting factors.

A 2-year study of 15 servicemen is presented. The subjects had either nodular or verrucose reactions sharply limited to red tattoos. Immunizations and occupational factors as well as topical mercury preparations were not related to the development of the somewhat bizarre tattoo patterns.

Each subject noted pruritus and subsequent nodular or wart-like formations after sun exposure. The duration of the tattoo before the symptoms ranged from 2 weeks to 17


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