Can I Still Donate Blood and Plasma If I Have Tattoos?

Can I Still Donate Blood and Plasma If I Have Tattoos

It can be incredibly rewarding to donate blood or plasma. You can rest easy in the knowledge that you have made a huge difference to someone else’s life – perhaps even saving it.

Of course, this comes with a lot of responsibility since someone else’s life is involved. You will need to consider a few different things before you donate your plasma or blood, and most places will make you go through an eligibility check to ensure that it’s safe for you to donate blood.

This generally tends to begin by doing an assessment of yourself and your wellbeing. Are you the right person to donate blood based on your health and fitness levels? There are also some situations where it’s crucial that you abstain from donating blood for a while – in specific, recently having a tattoo.

Some of the reasons why you can’t donate blood or plasma after giving a tattoo are obvious, though you may not currently be aware of them.

We’ve got all of the details that you need to know in this article! Armed with the information, you can save lives while also simultaneously getting some sweet tats throughout your life.

The Problem With Lying About When You Got a Tattoo

Some people will actually lie about when they got their tattoo when they go to donate blood at a donation center. This is a pretty common occurrence, but it’s a dangerous thing to do.

In fact, you can actually risk another person’s life by donating blood just after getting a tattoo. Most of the time a blood and plasma center won’t actually take the chance that you are lying and will simply do tests on you before you donate, so if you lie you will get caught out.

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It’ll just be embarrassing for you and won’t benefit you at all. Any tests that they do before you donate blood are designed to figure out if you have any infections or diseases that could make the donation dangerous for the recipient.

Tattoos can sometimes cause blood infections. Of course, if you get a tattoo there’s no guarantee that you will get a blood infection, though it is made a little more likely if you get a tattoo that’s poor quality and things haven’t been sanitized properly by the tattoo artist.

Since a needle is being put into your skin, your body needs time to recover from the process, putting your immune system into overdrive.

The same can be said when you get a piercing. During this time period, you are more likely to contract things like infections and viruses. Conditions like hepatitis can even occur.

It’s not morally sound to tell lies about your tattoos. It’s not a good idea to give blood around a week after you have just had a tattoo. Not only that, but you can usually tell when a person’s tattoo is new because of the way the tattoo looks, so it’s pretty easy to get caught in the lie.

The people that work at blood donation centers are trained to be able to recognize a good blood donor, so they are almost certain to recognize your brand new tattoo when making that assessment.

It’s better not to lie about it and instead come back when your tattoo has healed a little more. If you lie to them and they catch you in the lie then there’s a chance that you could be banned from giving blood in the future, which is something you will want to avoid.

It’s especially crucial if you have friends or family members that need your blood, but you can’t donate because of a pointless lie.

Will A Plasma Center Be Able To Tell I’ve Got a Tattoo?

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Technically, a center can’t tell precisely when you got your tattoo or even if you have one if it’s well hidden. If the tattoo is in a place that you can see easily through like your neck, hand, or your arm and it appears to be fresh, then they are likely to know that it was applied recently.

In the event that they don’t notice, the center is still going to run tests on you in order to check that you are safe to donate blood, such as tests for viruses like hepatitis.

People who have tattoos and piercings can often get these sorts of illnesses, though it’s much more likely if the person has had a tattoo that hasn’t been sanitized or done correctly. Hepatitis is incredibly dangerous, causing bad illnesses.

The recipient of the blood can end up getting the virus and that can be dangerous for them, sometimes lethal.

In some situations it may be possible for you to get a tattoo and donate the blood without anyone even being aware of it, but this is a risk that you should be avoiding since it can put another person’s life at risk.

You can still donate blood if you have a tattoo – you just need to wait a while after getting a tattoo in order to do so. It’s the right and responsible thing to do, after all.

There are a couple of requirements for donating blood if you have tattoos that you need to be aware of. We’ve listed many of them below.

The Waiting Period

The Waiting Period

So, how long will you need to wait after having your tattoo before you can donate blood? It’s possible to donate right after you have your tattoo, though this is only the case in circumstances where you have gotten your tattoo from a state-regulated establishment.

If you go to a state-regulated tattoo parlor in the USA then you can donate blood without any issue. The reason for this is because these places follow strict health and safety protocols, using fresh and clean ink and sterilizing needles well.

In most cases you should still be able to donate blood if your tattoo wasn’t from a state-regulated parlor, though you will need to wait for quite some time before you get your blood taken afterward.

After you have a tattoo done you will need to wait a year before you can donate your blood again. This is because your body will have enough time to get rid of any potential infections that you may have developed from a tattoo that may not have been done properly.

There are certain states that actually don’t regulate facilities for tattoos either, such as:

  • New Hampshire
  • Wyoming
  • New York
  • Utah
  • Massachusetts
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania

Are There Other Things That Make You Ineligible for Blood Donation?

Before you go to donate blood, you need to make sure that you are aware of any factors that may make you ineligible for donating blood. There are a couple of conditions that may mean you cannot donate any blood.

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Tattoos are usually one reason why people may get turned away from giving blood, but you may also get turned away if you have a tattoo that you got within one year of trying to give blood.

This is because foreign materials can get into your blood and contaminate it when you get a piercing. In some cases, this may even mean that you get blood infections, for instance, HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

In some cases, it may actually be possible to donate blood if you have recently had a piercing though. Namely, if you went to a professional establishment that operates using single-use nail guns.

If this is the case then you should have no problem giving blood. If the gun is reusable then you will need to wait for 12 months before you try to donate blood or plasma again.

There are also other conditions that make it so you can’t donate blood. Some examples include sickle cell disease hemophilia, jaundice, ebola, babesiosis, Chagas disease, and a number of others.

These conditions aren’t necessarily ones that you will get from having a tattoo, though it is slightly more likely that you will get these diseases and viruses after you have gotten a tattoo.

You also can’t donate blood if you are pregnant, have had blood transfusions, have blood pressure issues, have cancer, have covid-19, tuberculosis, STIs, or Malaria.

There are some locations in the US that don’t actually have regulated tattoo facilities. In this case, you won’t be able to donate blood if your tattoo is less than 12 months old.

Some blood centers won’t have any restrictions on donating blood after having a tattoo, but it’s best to be responsible for the sake of others and avoid donating if your tattoo is still fairly new.

If you are interested in donating but you still want to get great tattoos, then it’s very important that you choose the right tattoo parlor.

Choose a place with strict health and safety procedures that has good reviews. It’s also a good idea to look for someone with plenty of experience and skill to ensure that you are protected.

Do some research and background checks to ensure that the tattoo artist is good quality and follows the right sanitization procedures.

Credits: mghardeman

Preparation For Donating Blood When You Have a Tattoo

If you are safe to donate blood with your tattoo, great! There are a couple of things that you will need to do before you donate the blood first in order to ensure that the whole process goes well. It’s really important that you adhere correctly to the procedure when you have a tattoo.

If it’s still okay for you to donate blood, then it’s a good idea to leave around 6-8 weeks between getting the tattoo and donating blood just to be safe. This will give your skin enough time to heal from the tattoo. There’s also a much lower risk of transmitting diseases.

It’s important to remember that when you get a tattoo and in the weeks following it, your immune system function isn’t as good. For that reason, it’s a good idea to ensure that you do things to increase the efficiency of your immune system before you donate blood.

This includes having a diet that’s full of iron and is clean, having things such as spinach, beans, and red meat that are high in iron.

It’s also a good idea to stay physically active as this will help to reduce your stress levels, which is important since stress can have a huge effect on the way that your body operates.

Have lots of juice and water in your diet too in order to flush out any toxins from your system so you’re ready and raring to go for your tattoo.

Procedure After Donating Blood

Your responsibilities as a donor don’t automatically end after your blood has been taken.

When the job is done, you are then going to have to make sure that you do all you can in order to avoid getting diseases and viruses, since your immune system will be down after you’ve donated blood and when you’ve had a tattoo.

Do everything you can to look after yourself after you’ve had a tattoo in order to avoid any nasty side effects.

Do things to keep your blood pressure in check and to avoid getting fatigued. The best thing to do is to have lots of water. Hydration can help you to avoid any unwanted side effects from giving blood.

You should aim to have a minimum of 32 ounces of water after you have given blood, and don’t drink anything containing alcohol around one to two days after you have given blood.

You need to be taking the opportunity to rest and relax after you have given blood, so don’t overexert yourself physically either since it can add to feelings of weakness.

Look after your skin in the area of the tattoo as well – there are products designed specifically for this purpose.


You may be eager to donate blood or plasma, but you have a responsibility as a donor to do the right thing. It’s crucial that you take the time to check that you’re eligible for donation.

If you have a tattoo then you may not be able to donate for a year after getting it. Blood transfusion cases don’t happen often but you need to be careful.

You can still get tattoos and donate blood, but it’s important to stay informed both for your safety and the safety of the person who will be receiving your blood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Tattoos Mess Up Your Blood?

If the equipment has been properly sterilized and your tattoo artist is following the correct procedure, then no – tattoos shouldn’t mess up your blood.

If the right procedure isn’t followed though your blood can be contaminated, meaning that you are at risk of contracting blood-borne illnesses.

Can I Donate Organs If I Have Tattoos?

If you have tattoos and want to donate organs when you die, you can indeed donate so long as you don’t have any illnesses.

I’m Going To The UK – Can I Donate Blood There If I Have A Tattoo?

If you want to donate blood in the UK then you can indeed donate blood. You will need to wait 4 months after getting the tattoo in order to donate blood in the UK, however. Make sure that you meet all of the other eligibility requirements too.

Megan Ivy