Yesterday, 60 Minutes aired a feature on the Yakuza
, Japan's own mafia, which you can watch in various video clips of online
, including this one above.
And like most talk on the Yakuza, the program talked a good deal about their Irezumi
, the full body tattoos that are a standard mark of Yakuza (other than "the smell of the wolf" that let's the criminal underground know when they are in the presence of one of their own).
It's an interesting article overall and some great video footage online. Worth checking out.
The one part of that tattoo discussion that got many viewers talking was this statement by Jake Adelstein, a Yakuza expert (but not a doctor):
"The tattoos are so dense that it's very hard to sweat, which means when
you can't get rid of the toxins in your body, that's also very hard on
the liver."So I got a few emails and Facebook messages asking whether tattoos make us sweat less?
Like Jake, I'm no doctor, but I did some quick searching and found that Dr. Dawn Richardson has answered this question on Velo News
. After giving a great explanation about the skin and how tattooing works, she then discussion tattoos and how they could affect sweat glands:
"I searched the medical and tattoo literature for a definitive answer
on just how much sweat-gland damage occurs, and came up empty. I spoke
with Tanya McKeehan from the American Academy of Micropigmentation. She
insists that the dearth of medical information and research on such
damage in tattooing is because there isn't any. There are about 100
sweat glands per square centimeter of skin, so it would be hard to
imagine that all are damaged. I suspect that many of them survive
intact. Those that are damaged may not function at 100 percent when
recommend having major work done in the off-season to allow the skin
ample time to heal and train back up to maximum sweat-gland function
before [bike] race season. Even with a full suit, there are many bare areas
that have no ink at all and are completely undamaged."
Just watching the beautiful heavily tattooed people running the NYC marathon yesterday past my apartment, I witnessed many a misty sleeve, so yeah, I'm gonna say it: Don't sweat it; your tattoos will not lead to liver damage.
What leads to liver damage more is a hard partying -- no stranger to the Yakuza lifestyle nor my Halloween Bash this weekend
-- and so to stay healthy, I'll be laying off the booze more but not the tattoos.Thanks, Lara, for the links!