Researchers at New York University have urged the public to think twice before getting inked. According to a study, tattoos may leave people with long-term chronic health complications, some of which might require surgical intervention later in life.

Researchers found that nearly 6 percent of adults in New York who get tattooed experience some form of skin itching or rash because of the ink. Sometimes the allergy is so severe that swelling can last between four months and several years. "We were rather alarmed at the high rate of reported chronic complications tied to getting a tattoo,” said lead researcher and dermatologist Marie Leger, in a statement.

The data analyzed by the researchers showed that the two most common ink colors that have caused serious and long-lasting complications were red and black.

Keeping in mind the growing popularity of the tattoos, the researchers have emphasized the need to raise awareness about the health complications associated with getting inked. Leger believes that not only consumers but public health officials and physicians should be fully aware of the potential complications.

Leger further revealed that sometimes severe skin reactions get treated with the help of anti-inflammatory steroid drugs, but added that surgical intervention or laser surgery is required in some cases. Sometimes the tattooed area of the person is removed completely, along with granular skin lesions, to cure the condition.

"It is not yet known if the reactions being observed are due to chemicals in the ink itself or to other chemicals, such as preservatives or brighteners, added to them or to the chemicals' breakdown over time," said Leger.

The study has been published in the journal Contact Dermatitis.