Diabetes Tattoos: 11 Cool Ways to Wear Your Diagnosis and Raise Awareness, Too

The number is staggering: more than 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the CDC. And these figures are growing. One way to combat the problem is to educate people about it. Art, or in this case, ink can be a powerful vehicle for harnessing awareness. Tattoos can also be way an artistic way to express a personal journey, show support for a diabetes-related cause, or symbolize solidarity to a loved one who lives with diabetes. Check out these designs shared with OnTrack Diabetes and from around the Web.

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Reality TV Star, Tattoo Artist and Type 1

Darren Brass is not just a talented tattoo artist, featured on TLC's Miami Ink reality TV series, he's also defying stereotypes of what it means to have diabetes. Diagnosed with Type 1 as a toddler, he's lived with the condition practically his entire life.

One misconception that he works hard to dispel is that diabetics diabetics should not get tattoos. Darren himself is covered in ink but doesn't have any art related to diabetes on his body. Some with the condition heal more slowly than those who do not have diabetes—but almost all, with good control of their disease, can get tattoos.

Considering ink? Turn to a licensed, reputable tattoo studio to do the work. Be sure your tattoo artist uses single-use disposable needles, fresh ink in disposable containers, and equipment that is disinfected with an autoclave, a machine that sterilizes with steam.

Consult with your healthcare provider before getting inked, and try to get a referral from someone you trust to a tattoo artist who has worked with customers who have diabetes.

(Photo: courtesy Darren Brass)
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