The Blood Matters Blog ·

Can You Donate Blood If You Have a Tattoo?

These days, tattoos are more popular than ever. Millions of Americans have gotten them, and chances are, many people you know personally have a tattoo — or more than one!


Tattooing has gone especially mainstream in recent years: 32 percent of the U.S. population has at least one tattoo, and there are no major differences in likelihood to have a tattoo between political affiliations, or whether someone lives in an urban, suburban or rural community.

A common question we hear from potential blood donors is “Can I donate blood if I have a tattoo?’ The short answer is yes! And for most, you can donate blood immediately after getting a tattoo.

More Facts About Blood Donation Eligibility

Many factors could influence someone's ability to donate blood. Our comprehensive eligibility guide is a great resource for those who have questions about blood donation.


    Rules About Tattoos, Piercings and Giving Blood

    Many people don’t know that the latest official health guidance highlights the safety of blood donations from those who received their tattoo from a state-regulated agency. If you were inked in a licensed facility in Oklahoma, Texas or Arkansas, you can donate blood immediately. However, if you received a tattoo from anywhere else besides a licensed facility, you need to wait three months before you can donate blood.

    A note to those who have piercings: the same rules apply to you. You can donate immediately if the piercing was done in a licensed facility. Otherwise, there is a three-month waiting period.

    Fun Facts About Tattoos

    Now that we’ve busted the myth that getting or having a tattoo or piercing prevents a potential donor from giving blood, here are five fun facts about tattoos that you might not know.

    1. You can tattoo your eyeballs (the tattoo artist sprays ink under the surface of the eye with a needle, tattooing the white part).
    2. Tattooing dates back more than 5,000 years (this mummy had 61 tattoos)!
    3. The word tattoo comes from the Samoan word “Tatau.” The word mimics the sound of tools used during the process of tattooing.
    4. There’s a tattooed Barbie.
    5. A tattoo needle can vibrate up to 3,000 times a minute.

    Find A Blood Drive Near You

    OK, tattooed and pierced potential donors! Now that you’re looped in, are you ready to donate? We need you! There is no substitute for human blood, and it can only be supplied from generous humans like you. Please consider rolling up your sleeve to help keep our local blood supply steady — and maybe we can check out your cool tattoos, too! Find a blood drive near you today.