There’s evidence that tattoos might be good for your health (seriously)

If your arms are covered in tattoos, you look like someone not to be messed with. Even if the tattoos are of little birdies, or love hearts, or the initials of your loved ones, it’s still permanent graffiti art on your body (not that there’s anything wrong with that—I have tattoos!). This is pretty interesting though: A new study by the American Journal of Human Biology claims there’s a connection between having multiple tattoos and the way your immune system reacts to stress.

The study brought in 24 women and 5 men who were about to get their very first tattoo, and researchers from the University of Alabama tested their saliva, levels of immuneglobulin (that’s an antibody that helps us fight off nasty bacteria and viruses) and cortisol (a steroid hormone that can suppress your immune system). They found that going under the needle for the first time did suppress their immune response, because of the serious physical stress (which is also incredibly unnatural) that the body has to endure when it gets inked.

But if you’ve gone under the needle more than once, your body doesn’t go into the same “freak out” mode. This could be because your immune system is literally stronger than it was before! Of course the pain is still there—your body is just more equipped to deal with the experience.

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