Purposes: This study investigated the impact of permanently tattooed skin on local sweat rate, sweat sodium concentration and skin temperature and determined whether tattoos alter the relationship between local and whole-body sweat sodium concentration.
Methods: Thirteen tattooed men (27 ± 6 years) completed a 1 h (66 ± 4% of [Formula: see text]) cycling trial at 32 °C, 35% relative humidity. Sweat rate and sweat sodium concentration were measured using the whole-body washdown and local absorbent patch techniques. Patches and skin-temperature probes were applied over the right/left thighs and tattooed/non-tattooed (contralateral) regions.
Results: Local sweat rates did not differ (p > 0.05) between the right (1.11 ± 0.38) and left (1.21 ± 0.37) thighs and the permanently tattooed (1.93 ± 0.82) and non-tattooed (1.72 ± 0.81 mg cm-2 min-1) regions. There were no differences in local sweat sodium concentration between the right (58.2 ± 19.4) and left (55.4 ± 20.3) thighs and the permanently tattooed (73.0 ± 22.9) and non-tattooed (70.2 ± 18.9 mmol L-1) regions. Difference in local skin temperature between the right and left thighs (- 0.043) was similar to that between the permanently tattooed and non-tattooed (- 0.023 °C) regions. Prediction of whole-body sweat sodium concentration for the permanently tattooed (41.0 ± 6.7) and the non-tattooed (40.2 ± 5.3 mmol L-1) regions did not differ.
Conclusion: Permanent tattoos do not alter local sweat rate, sweat sodium concentration or local skin temperature during moderate-intensity cycling exercise in a warm environment. Results from a patch placed over a tattooed surface correctly predicts whole-body sweat sodium concentration from an equation developed from a non-tattooed region.
Eur J Appl Physiol (2020) 120:1111-1122.