Cosmetic tattoos use dyes with carcinogenic potential. Skin cancers arising in tattoos have been reported.
We investigated whether risk of early onset basal cell carcinoma was related to the site and colors of cosmetic tattoos as part of a population-based case–control study of cases (ages 25–50 years), identified from a state-wide surveillance system, and age- and gender-matched controls, selected from driver’s license records, randomly assigned an anatomic site of the cases.
One hundred fifty-six cases (17%) with early onset basal cell carcinoma and 213 controls (26%) reported cosmetic tattoos. Among those with tattoos, the adjusted odds ratio of basal cell carcinoma at the tattoo site compared to another site was 1.8 (95% confidence interval = 1.0, 3.2). We observed the strongest associations for yellow and green tattoo colors.
Our preliminary findings support the possibility of an enhanced risk of early onset basal cell carcinomas at the site of cosmetic tattoos.