background. Tattoos are increasingly popular in today's society, especially with the advent of laser tattoo removal. As a result, observed reactions within tattoos are likely to become more abundant. Three main classes of tattoo-associated dermopathies can be distinguished in the English literature: allergic/granulomatous/lichenoid, inoculation/infection, and coincidental lesions. Injury to the dermis, such as during placement of a tattoo, can also flare a Koebner response in patients with active susceptible disease.
objective. This case report and review of the English literature provides a quick reference to tattoo reactions, techniques available for removal of tattoos, and disorders other than tattoos known to exhibit the Koebner response.
methods. The English literature was reviewed via MEDLINE citations from 1966 to December 2001 to delineate articles involving tattoo reactions and Koebner reactions significant to dermatology.
conclusion. Numerous conditions have been documented in association with tattoos and the process of tattoo application. Awareness and identification of dermatoses associated with tattoos, tattoo removal options, and conditions associated with the Koebner response are important to both the dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon.