Watch CBS News

Having a tattoo might help your immune system

Having a tattoo might help your immune system
Having a tattoo might help your immune system 01:25

Chances are you know someone who has a tattoo if you yourself don't already have one. 

The skin is our largest organ and doctors who conducted this study said when someone gets a tattoo, the skin reacts as if it's being attacked. 

That perceived invasion of the skin results in a reaction that could boost our immune system. 

Dr. Christopher Lynn from the University of Alabama told Parade Online, "Our skin is where the immune response starts." 

Call it the main defense, he added that "anything that stimulates stress or injury anywhere on the skin turns on or stimulates a global immune response."

Much like an effective vaccine, it's a challenge to our immune system, with the goal of making it stronger. 

People with more tattoos appear to have higher levels of immune molecules, including antibodies. However, researchers point out that more antibodies don't always translate into better immunity and no one knows how long the effects really last. 

While getting a tattoo won't cure the common cold, this theory has some researchers rethinking how deep vaccine shots should go into our bodies. 

Some doctors are testing to see if a more shallow shot, much like a tattoo, would work better instead of deep into the muscle.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.