What Is In Tattoo Ink?

What Is In Tattoo Ink
The answer is you can’t be 100% certain! Did you know that there are no regulations or controls in Australia on Tattoo ink and what can or can’t be used! Whilst authorities regulate substances that you can ingest and there is regulation on cosmetics that are applied to the skin, there is no regulation on inks that are tattooed into the skin and designed to be permanent.

  • How many people who get a Tattoo actually ask what is in the ink? Even if you asked, would the Tattooist really be able to honestly tell you;
  • Tattoo inks essentially consist of 2 components, the pigment and the carrier;

The pigment provides the colour of the tattoo, whilst the carrier keeps the pigment evenly mixed and makes for easier application of the tattoo pigment into the skin. Tattoo inks historically were made from ground up minerals and carbon found in the natural environment, but most modern tattoos often contain modern industrial metallic salts (eg oxides, selenides, sulphides), vegetable based pigments and plastic based pigments.

  • However, allergic reactions have been reported with many of the metals now commonly used in tattoo pigments, such as mercury in red ink, copper and cobalt in blue ink and cadmium in yellow ink;
  • Plastic based inks have also become popular as they can produce very intense colours;

However plastic tattoo inks are commonly derived from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) a type of heat resistant plastic used in appliances, pipe fittings and luggage and injecting this into your skin can not surprisingly cause significant skin allergic reactions.

  1. Another recent trend is to use Tattoo ink pigments that glow in the dark, or in response to ultraviolet light;
  2. These inks are potentially very risky and possibly radioactive with unknown long term health effects;

In cosmetic tattooing of eyebrows and lips inorganic materials such as Titanium Dioxide are now commonly used, but these inks can be particularly difficult to remove, even with the latest lasers. Brown eyebrow or lip liner tattoos often darken and turn black and look worse with laser treatment and can be very difficult to remove.

In the European Commission’s 2003 report on the health risks of tattooing, they found that many of the chemicals used in tattoos were originally intended for writing and printer inks or automobile paints, and that around 20% of coloured tattoos contained compounds considered carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Common solutions used as the carrier for tattoo pigment include ethanol, Listerine, propylene glycol and glycerine. However many other solutions have been used and continue to be used such as methanol, isopropyl alcohol, ethylene glycol (Antifreeze), formaldehyde and various detergents.

  • Many of these solutions are regarded as toxic, and by toxic it includes effects such as mutagenic, carcinogenic, teratogenic as well as being involved in other reactions in the body that may not show up for many years;

When alcohol is used as part of the carrier base, (or to disinfect the skin before tattooing), it can alter the skin permeability and allow even more toxic chemicals into the bloodstream as well as potentiate the effects to make these chemicals even more harmful.

Whilst it might seem logical to check if someone is allergic to a particular tattoo ink by a skin test before having a tattoo, this is rarely if ever done. People getting tattoos are generally impulsive by nature and having a skin test to check if it is safe is not a consideration, just as it is not to consider if one might regret getting a particular tattoo in the future.

Even with tattoo ink ingredients that are plant based or considered safe and not toxic, it needs to be recognised that no long term studies have been conducted to confirm they are actually safe to inject permanently into the skin. From the perspective of laser tattoo removal, not knowing which substances are actually in the tattoo ink (both tattoo pigment and the tattoo carrier), as well as how much tattoo ink has been used and how deep the tattoo ink has been inserted into the skin, makes it impossible to accurately predict how many treatments might be necessary to breakdown and remove the tattoo ink.

The bottom line is that there is no regulation in Australia on what can be used in Tattoo inks and there is a recognised risk of possible allergic reactions and unknown long term side effects from many of the components now commonly used in tattoo inks.

Few people getting a tattoo stop to think they are possibly being injected with a combination of photocopier ink and Listerine or Anti Freeze!.

What is tattoo ink made of?

Professional inks may be made from iron oxides (rust), metal salts, or plastics. Homemade or traditional tattoo inks may be made from pen ink, soot, dirt, ash, blood, or other ingredients.

Is the ink in tattoos toxic?

Tattoo inks contain a wide range of chemicals and heavy metals, including some that are potentially toxic.

What is black tattoo ink made of?

Tattoos have quickly gained mainstream popularity in the last few years. In fact, 45 million Americans, including 36 percent in their late twenties, have at least one tattoo. It’s becoming more and more rare to not tattoos. Although tattoo inks are not something we are doing every day, like toothpaste or deodorant , it is still important to be aware of what carcinogens may be lurking in them.

  1. Do those chemicals have long-term effects? How toxic are they? What we can do to get safer tattoos? Just like personal care products and other cosmetics, the FDA does not regulate or approve any tattoo pigments  for injection into the skin;

This includes UV and glow-in-the-dark tattoos. Even Henna isn’t approved for skin injection, just for hair dye. State and local authorities are charged with regulating tattoos in their area, but the FDA does have the authority to investigate safety concerns if needed.

Only recently, with the growing number of tattoos, have the FDA shown some interest in the safety of ink. Unfortunately,  like fragrance , tattoo ink recipes may be proprietary, and therefore are not required to list their ingredients.

So consumers are left to do their own investigations. Some recent studies  have been done to see the possible long-term effects of tattoo inks. These studies are few and far between, but are the beginning of really getting to know the possible skin and health reactions to tattoos.

Some fairly common reactions to tattoo ink include allergic rashes, infection, inflammation from sun exposure, & chronic skin reactions. These reactions could be linked to the presence of harmful chemicals in most mainstream tattoo inks.

Phthalates  and benzo(a)pyrene  are two of the most harmful chemicals present, both having been linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. They can also be found on the EPA’s carcinogen list. Black ink is often made of soot, containing products of combustion, called hydrocarbons.

Black ink can also contain animal bones burned down into charcoal. That’s right,  not all inks are vegan. Some ink also contains animal fat as the carrier, as well as gelatin and beetles. Heavy metals are often present in colored inks.

Colored inks can contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and titanium. These metals can trigger allergic reactions and potentially lead to disease. Scientists are unsure of the exact effects. Scientists have seen possible connections with tattoos to skin cancer , but the overwhelming conclusion is that they are unclear of the role of tattoos and cancer.

  1. There have been rare cases of skin cancer malignant tumors found in tattoos, but scientists say these could just be a coincidence;
  2. There are even theories that phthalates clear the body within hours  and could be the case with tattoos since they are not continuous, like some phthalate exposures;

One question the FDA has tried to answer is,  where does the pigment go when it is faded  by sunlight or removed by laser light? Are they flushed out by the body? Or disbursed throughout our body somehow? Some of the ink could be absorbed into the bloodstream.

  1. Making it possible that getting a tattoo removed can be even more dangerous than the original;
  2. These are questions that will hopefully start being answered and lead to more studies conducted about the toxicity of tattoo ink;

The good news is that as the demand for tattoo has spread, so has the variety of inks offered. There are many tattoo ink brands that are willing and able to tell you what is in their products. And they are made with safer ingredients. Another way to stay safer is to choose your artists wisely.

Do your research and see what artists are conscious about their inks and willing to talk to you about it. The best non toxic carriers to look for in ink ingredients are vegetable glycerin ,  witch hazel, water, or ethanol.

You can also avoid certain ingredients  in ink pigments that are seen to be “riskier” than others. Red pigment often causes the most skin reactions and is considered the most dangerous  because it contains cadmium, mercury or iron oxide. Choose a red ink with naphthol instead.

  1. Choose Carbazole or Dioxazine for this pigment, try to avoid manganese violet;
  2. Choose Arylide or Tumeric based pigments;
  3. Copper pthalocyanine pigments are the safest choice for both of these;
  4. Specifically Monoazo for green and sodium based for blue;
You might be interested:  Why Is My Tattoo Shiny?

Just watch out for iron oxide. Avoid animal based inks that are often referred to as “India Inks. ” It is better to use black ink derived from logwood and magnetite crystals. Just like many things we put on our bodies, the effects of tattoo ink are unknown.

What is in tattoo color ink?

What Chemicals are in Tattoo Ink?

Color Materials
Black Iron Oxide (Fe3O4) Iron Oxide (FeO) Carbon Logwood
Brown Ochre
Red Cinnabar (HgS) Cadmium Red (CdSe) Iron Oxide (Fe2O3) Napthol-AS pigment
Orange disazodiarylide and/or disazopyrazolone cadmium seleno-sulfide

.

Is tattoo ink cancerous?

When it comes to cancer, black ink can be especially dangerous because it contains a very high level of benzo(a)pyrene. Benzo(a)pyrene is currently listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Can tattoos affect your immune system?

Immune defenders rush to tattoo’s tiny wounds – More than 30% of Americans are tattooed today. Yet, few studies have focused on the biological impact beyond risks of cancer or infection.

    Tattooing creates a permanent image by inserting ink into tiny punctures under the topmost layer of skin. Your body interprets a new tattoo as a wound and responds accordingly, in two general ways. Innate immune responses involve general reactions to foreign material. So getting a new tattoo triggers your immune system to send white blood cells called macrophages to eat invaders and sacrifice themselves to protect against infection.

    Your body also launches what immunologists call adaptive responses. Proteins in the blood will try to fight and disable specific invaders that they recognize as problems. There are several classes of these proteins — called antibodies or immunoglobulins — and they continue to circulate in the bloodstream , on the lookout lest that same invader is encountered again.

    They’re at the ready to quickly launch an immune response the next time around. This adaptive capacity of the immune system means that we could measure immunoglobulins in saliva as approximations of previous stress caused by tattooing. In American Samoa, Howells and I worked at the Historic Preservation Office to recruit study participants with help from tattoo artists Joe Ioane of Off Da Rock Tattoos , Duffy Hudson of Tatau Manaia and traditional hand-tap tattooist Su’a Tupuola Uilisone Fitiao. We collected saliva at the start and end of each tattoo session, controlling for the tattoo duration. We also measured recipients’ weight, height and fat density to account for health. From the saliva samples, we extracted the antibody immunoglobulin A, as well as the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. Immunoglobulin A is considered a frontline immune defense and provides important protections against frequent pathogens like those of the common cold.

    Our sample of 25 tattoo recipients included both Samoans and tourists to the island. By comparing the levels of these biological markers, we determined that immunoglobulin A remains higher in the bloodstream even after tattoos heal.

    Furthermore, people with more time under the tattoo needle produced more salivary immunoglobulin A, suggesting an enhanced immune response to receiving a new tattoo compared to those with less or no tattoo experience. This effect appears to be dependent on receiving multiple tattoos, not just time passed since receiving one.

    1. This immune boost may be beneficial in the case of other skin injuries and for health in general;
    2. Tattooing seems to exert a priming effect: That’s what biologists call it when naive immune cells are exposed to their specific antigen and differentiate into antibodies that remain in the bloodstream for many years;

    Each tattoo prepares the body to respond to the next. Other studies find that short-term stress benefits the immune system. Stress’s bad rap comes from chronic forms that really do undermine immune response and health. But a little bit is actually good for you and prepares your body to fight off germs.

    1. Regular exercise provides immune function benefits through repetition , not necessarily single visits to the gym;
    2. We think this is similar to how each tattoo seems to prepare the body for vigilance;
    3. Our Samoan findings supported the results of my first study in Alabama;

    But of course correlation does not imply causation. Enhanced immune response is correlated with more tattoo experience, but maybe healthier people heal easily from tattooing and like to get them more. How could we find out if getting tattoos could actually make a person healthier?.

    Do tattoos shorten your life?

    the MPR take: – Having a tattoo may mean an earlier death, says a new report in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Investigators compared the deaths of people with and without tattoos and found that people with tattoos appeared to die earlier than people without (mean age of death: tattooed: 39yrs; nontattooed: 53yrs).

    Why do I feel sick after a tattoo?

    The Composition of the Tattoo Ink – To understand why people feel sick after laser tattoo removal, you first have to understand that tattoo ink is composed of metals, metal oxides, and chemicals. What Is In Tattoo Ink These metals, metal oxides, and chemicals could be poisonous/toxic to the body when they enter the blood. They may not be poisonous in the dermis, but once they enter the blood they become threats. During laser-assisted tattoo removal treatment, the tattoo ink pigments are shattered into fragments so they can be flushed out of the body. These ink fragments (which are potentially toxic, remember) linger in the blood for days or even weeks as they make their way to the kidney and liver where they are identified as toxic foreign bodies and flushed out of the system through urine or sweat.

    Why are tattoos unhealthy?

    Know the risks – Tattoos breach the skin, which means that skin infections and other complications are possible, including:

    • Allergic reactions. Tattoo dyes — especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. This can occur even years after you get the tattoo.
    • Skin infections. A skin infection is possible after tattooing.
    • Other skin problems. Sometimes an area of inflammation called a granuloma can form around tattoo ink. Tattooing also can lead to keloids — raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.
    • Bloodborne diseases. If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, you can contract various bloodborne diseases — including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
    • MRI complications. Rarely, tattoos or permanent makeup might cause swelling or burning in the affected areas during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. In some cases, tattoo pigments can interfere with the quality of the image.

    Medication or other treatment might be needed if you experience an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink or you develop an infection or other skin problem near a tattoo.

    Can I have an MRI if I have tattoos?

    The health and well-being of patients is our primary concern. Click here for our full COVID-19 response. Update for RAI/CHAI Hamilton: The office will be closed on Saturday, 8/6 due to building maintenance. RAI Lawrenceville will be open with normal hours of operation for walk-in X-Ray services. Tuesday, 26 February 2019 108830 Hits What Is In Tattoo Ink Tattoos are gaining in popularity these days, with four in ten Americans sporting at least one tattoo, according to Statistica. People are more likely to get ink nowadays because tattoos do not carry the taboo they once held. Many people avoided tattoos because they worry that such body art might prevent them from getting a job. Today, some people worry about getting a tattoo out of fear they might suffer side effects when they undergo certain medical procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    We apologize for any inconvenience. Websites, such as Healthline , warn that there is a slight risk that MRIs could interact with tattoos to cause swelling and itchiness. The site suggests the risk is higher with the use of lower-quality tattoo pigments and older tattoos.

    In a new study, researchers from the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, part of Queen Square Institute of Neurology at University College in London explored whether people with tattoos are at a higher risk of side effects. The scientists considered if doctors and other medical professionals could conduct imaging studies on people with tattoos without hesitation.

    They also wondered if any restrictions for imaging might apply to tattooed patients. What they found might surprise you. The researchers found that the risk of experiencing tattoo-related side effects from MRI is very small.

    This means people with tattoos can safely undergo MRI without worry.

    Does tattoo ink affect kidneys?

    1. Home
    2. News

    To reduce the risk of spreading blood-borne pathogens and bacteria, tattoo artists must always use sterilized equipment, new needles, disposable gloves and masks and should open unused containers of ink for every tattoo. (Image credit: Tatiana Morozova | Dreamstime) Getting a tattoo carries major risks. In a recent University of British Columbia study, researchers determined that the risk of hepatitis C is directly linked with the number of tattoos a person gets, according to an analysis of 124 studies from 30 countries.

    Infectious diseases, skin conditions and allergies are just a few of the concerns that must be addressed in order to provide the safest tattoo experience possible. Bacteria and toxins People with several tattoos and tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies are at a higher risk of contracting hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens, according to the University of British Columbia study released earlier this month and published in the current issue of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

    You might be interested:  111 Artistic and Striking Flower Tattoos Designs

    Other major risks of tattooing include contracting HIV, hepatitis B and fungal or bacterial infections , according to the study. The known risks of tattoos are why the American Red Cross and most blood banks require people to wait 12 months after getting a tattoo before allowing them to donate blood.

    Cases of Staphylococcus aureus are on the rise among people who get tattoos, according to the National Institutes of Health. This is particularly troubling because strains of these bacteria are highly resistant to penicillin and many antibiotics.

    The chemicals in tattoo ink are another cause of concern, as some people may have allergic reactions such as dermatitis (severe skin irritation) to tattoo ink. The pigments used in tattoo dyes are industrial-grade and are suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint, according to the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research.

    1. The FDA has not approved any tattoo inks, including those used for the increasingly trendy ultraviolet (UV), glow-in-the-dark tattoos the risks of which are not yet known;
    2. Toxins in some tattoo inks may enter the kidneys, lungs or lymph nodes through the circulatory system, according to Michele Van Vranken, a physician at Teenage Medical Service in Minneapolis, Minn;

    Van Vranken advises people with skin conditions such as eczema or who are prone to getting keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of the wound) to reconsider getting a tattoo, as they may experience flare-ups or skin deformities as a result.

    Adverse reactions and allergies to tattoo inks may even surface several years after the procedure is performed, according to the FDA. Think before you ink To reduce the risk of spreading blood-borne pathogens and bacteria, tattoo artists must always use sterilized equipment, new needles, disposable gloves and masks and should open unused containers of ink for every tattoo none of this equipment can ever be re-used or shared.

    But because tattoo parlors are regulated by state and local authorities, the cleanliness and safety standards of tattoo shops vary. It is up to customers to check out shops and pay them a visit or two before setting an appointment to get inked, experts say.

    “Ask the tattoo artist some informal questions about their sterilization techniques and policies, and what their procedure is regarding the use of fresh needles and ink,” said Michael Atkinson of the University of Toronto and author of “Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art” (University of Toronto Press, 2003).

    Atkinson warned against going by certificates of safety or health inspections posted on the walls of tattoo parlors, as these can easily be faked. Word of mouth plays an important role in a parlor’s reputation, so getting recommendations from several people who can vouch for a shop’s cleanness and quality is a good idea, as well as requesting references from any tattoo artist, he added.

    • Van Vranken recommends calling state, county or local health departments to find out about the laws in your community, as well as to ask for recommendations on licensed tattoo shops and to check for any complaints about a particular studio;

    Just as important as selecting a pristine parlor is how well customers care for their newly minted artwork. “For the first couple of days, the tattoo is an open wound that needs to be properly taken care of,” Atkinson told Life’s Little Mysteries. “Most shops hand out an after-care sheet with directions about how to clean and treat a new tattoo it’s very important for people to carefully read that.

    • Tattoos and Other Crimes Against Nature
    • Regret-Free Tattoos Developed
    • Could Humans Live Without Bacteria?

    Got a question? Email it to Life’s Little Mysteries and we’ll try to answer it. Due to the volume of questions, we unfortunately can’t reply individually, but we will publish answers to the most intriguing questions, so check back soon. Remy Melina was a staff writer for Live Science from 2010 to 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Hofstra University where she graduated with honors..

    Do tattoos hurt during MRI?

    Do Tattoos Cause Irritation During an MRI? – In rare situations, tattoos may make an MRI less comfortable. The  Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  warns that tattoos can cause irritation and burning during an MRI. A scientific review also reported a tattooed athlete  experiencing a burn-like injury  during an MRI.

    Why are Colour tattoos being banned?

    In the 1980s there were, at most, twelve basic colours for tattoo artists to combine and dilute. Black was the dominant pigment with colours added sparingly So. are we reliving the 80’s? Are colour tattoos a thing of the past? You may have seen online that coloured inks are being banned in the EU. What Is In Tattoo InkWhy are coloured tattoo inks being banned? The reason for the ban comes down to the chemicals found in the coloured ink used for tattoos. REACH had 4,000 chemicals typically used in colourful tattoo ink prohibited in January 2020 in the EU. S ome of which are already banned in products applied on top of the skin – can cause ‘cancer or genetic mutations’. However there is no concrete evidence between tattoos and cancer or genetic mutations.

    • This is not new news REACH (EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) began their findings in 2016 and have carefully evaluated their analysis;
    • Get ready to dive into the behind the scenes of your colour tattoos;

    REACH have made an effort to clarify that ‘the aim is not to ban tattooing but to make the colours used in tattoos and permanent make-up safer’. Which we can all agree it is always better to be safer. Ink suppliers have been given until 4th January 2023 to find different, REACH-approved chemicals to create the same colours. What is in tattoo inks?

    • alcohols
    • barium
    • cadmium
    • copper
    • lead
    • mercury
    • minerals
    • nickel
    • plastics
    • vegetable dyes

    Overall, tattoo ink is safer than in previous decades. Yet it’s still important to ask your tattoo artist what types of inks they use, what the ingredients are, and where they come from. All reputable studios will have this information. Will coloured inks be banned in the UK? The UK is not immediately following the EU’s lead on the ban.

    1. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is encouraging tattoo manufacturers and artists to submit information about tattooing safety, and the ingredients found in tattoo ink;
    2. UK lawmakers want to know more about the subject before deciding on whether they, too, will outlaw certain chemicals found in inks;

    Signs of ink poisoning? With tattoo ink, the symptoms are sometimes harder to identify. Poisoning from tattoo ink is often mistaken for an infection, with symptoms like pain, swelling or a rash. What to do if your tattoo is making you ill If you suspect that tattoo ink has poisoned your body, you should immediately call your doctor.

    Also inform your tattoo artist and studio, who can identify the ink they used and avoid using it again. Taking note of the brand name, colour, and any lot number can help determine the source of the problem.

    In most cases, poisoning will present itself as a minor inflammation and can be treated with rest, ice and elevation. Over the counter anti-inflammatories will help in the first 24 hours after getting a new tattoo. If you have suffered an allergic reaction, antihistamines will help reduce those small red bumps or rash around the tattoo. What are we at Cold Iron Tattoo Company currently doing? In the studio we use Eternal inks brand for our coloured ink

    • Eternal Ink is organic
    • Eternal Ink is free of animal by-products and is vegan.
    • Eternal Ink is not tested on animals.
    • Eternal Ink is supplied in a medical grade sealed bottle, ensuring its longevity before and after opening.
    • Eternal Ink pigments are certified sterile.
    • Eternal Ink cooperates with all regulations.
    • Eternal Ink is made in the U.

    We are keeping up to date with what HSE are finding and making sure we take all steps necessary to keep our customers and artists safe. Got a question?  Get in touch: [email protected] com.

    Why do color tattoos hurt more?

    So, Do Color Tattoos Hurt More? – Generally speaking, ink color doesn’t determine the amount of pain you’ll feel. The color simply doesn’t have to do anything with the pain of the tattoo. As we mentioned, tattoo placement, your pain tolerance, and your tattooist’s technique are the main factors determining how painful the process will be.

    Sure, there was a time when colored ink used to have a thicker consistency than black ink. This was an issue since it took the tattooist longer to pack the colored ink, which in itself hurts. The longer you’re getting tattooed, the higher the skin damage and the more painful the process becomes.

    Nowadays, all inks are of similar consistency, so there isn’t an issue there. Now, if your tattoo artist takes a long time to complete the tattoo, you’ll experience more pain as the process goes on. Also, if the tattoo artist uses a dull needle, chances are the process will hurt more.

    • Sharp, new needles tend to hurt less;
    • Now, as the needle gets worn out, it remains sharp, but it dulls out a little bit;
    • This small difference in needle sharpness can promote faster skin damage and of course, cause more pain;

    If your tattooist uses white ink highlight , you can expect more pain. This is again not because of the needle or the ink color, but rather the pain is caused by the repetition of needle penetration in one place. In order for the white ink to fully show and become saturated, the tattooist needs to go over the same area several times.

    That is what causes skin damage and pain. Now, after all of the information, we do have to point out that there are people who swear that the coloring/shading of the tattoo hurts more than the linework or tattoo outline.

    Pain is a subjective thing, so it can be hard to be exact with the answer to whether color tattoos hurt more than regular ones.

    You might be interested:  What Does A Feather Tattoo Mean?

    What is the safest tattoo color?

    There are a bunch of new colours and tattoo techniques on offer — neons, brighter shades, memorial tats where you mix in a bit of a loved one’s ashes (don’t judge; everyone grieves differently). But how far is too far? Take a look What are the safest colours? * Neon skin inks are loaded chemicals and mercury.

    • The reds are perhaps the worst, because they also contain the highly toxic iron oxide and cadmium;
    • * If you really want to get a permanent tattoo, stick with the basics;
    • Black remains safest;
    • Blue and green inks with copper phthalocyanine pigments are safe too;

    Some parlous mix their own inks; it’s generally safest to use branded inks that list their ingredients, says Dr Amit Karkhanis, laser and cosmetic physician. Are there any natural alternatives? * Some tattoo studios have yellows and blues that are turmeric- and indigo-based. Stick with the basics. Black remains safest. Blue and green inks with copper phthalocyanine pigments are safe too. (Shutterstock) Be cautious and plan well * Skin tone is important when planning a tattoo. Because melanin acts as a filter, bright colours such as reds, sky blues and yellows won’t look as you expect them to, says Ritopriyo Saha, founder of the Trippink tattoo studio in Bengaluru.

    There are other colours that are naturally derived, but also many that make false claim, so always check the contents. * A good tag to look for is EU certification. Inks that say they are compliant with EU quality standards will have the lowest levels of toxicity possible.

    * For dark skin tones, black and most shades of green work well. * Even if it’s not your first tattoo, do a patch test. Tattoo inks change; skin tones change. Take nothing for granted. * If there even a tiny chance that you will want the tattoo removed later on, avoid reds, yellows and oranges.

    They are the most resistant to laser removal treatments. Even for the other colours, removal takes an average of 15 visits over 8 weeks. Best and worst spots * Muscular parts of the body — upper arms, calves, back — are good places if you plan to get a tattoo, says Dr Karkhanis.

    * Avoid areas where the skin stretches such as the crease lines on the wrist, elbows or near the knees. “It will likely take longer to heal as there is constant pulling of the skin here,” he adds. * Avoid hands and feet. Sustained and direct exposure to sun, soap and water would make healing difficult and could cause the tattoo to fade.

    What animal products are in tattoo ink?

    How do you make homemade tattoo ink?

    Do tattoo inks contain heavy metals?

    Dear EarthTalk : I’m interested in getting a new tattoo, but recently found out that red tattoo ink contains mercury. Is this true of other tattoo inks as well? Are there any ecofriendly alternatives? —John P. , Racine, Wash. It is true that some red inks used for permanent tattoos contain mercury, while other reds may contain different heavy metals like cadmium or iron oxide.

    1. These metals—which give the tattoo its “permanence” in skin—have been known to cause allergic reactions, eczema and scarring and can also cause sensitivity to mercury from other sources like dental fillings or consuming some fish;

    While red causes the most problems, most other colors of standard tattoo ink are also derived from heavy metals (including lead, antimony, beryllium, chromium, cobalt nickel and arsenic) and can cause skin reactions in some people. Helen Suh MacIntosh, a professor in environmental health at Harvard University and a columnist for the website, Treehugger, reports that as a result of a 2007 lawsuit brought by the American Environmental Safety Institute (AESI), two of the leading tattoo ink manufacturers must now place warning labels on their product containers, catalogs and websites explaining that “inks contain many heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and others” and that the ingredients have been linked to cancer and birth defects.

    • Of course, exposure to mercury and other heavy metals is hardly the only risk involved with getting a tattoo;
    • The term tattoo itself means to puncture the skin;
    • Tattoo ink is placed via needles into the dermis layer of the skin, where it remains permanently (although some colors will fade over time);

    Some people have reported sensitivity springing up even years after they first got their tattoo; also, medical MRIs can cause tattoos to burn or sting as the heavy metals in the ink are affected by the test’s magnetism. Beyond the long term risks of walking around with heavy metals injected into your body’s largest organ (the skin), getting a tattoo in and of itself can be risky business.

    1. If the tattoo parlor’s needles and equipment aren’t properly sterilized in an autoclave between customers, you could be exposing yourself to hepatitis B or C, tuberculosis, mycobacterium, syphilis, malaria, HIV or even leprosy;

    “The potential risk of infectious spread from tattooing (particularly due to Hepatitis B) is high enough that it is a practice that should be avoided by pregnant women to safeguard the health of the baby [and that of the pregnant woman herself] whose immune system is down regulated and is much more vulnerable to these types of infection,” reports dermatologist Audrey Kunin, who runs the popular Dermadoctor website.

    Dr. Kunin advises to be careful about choosing a tattoo parlor: “Make sure the place is reputable, perhaps check with the health department to see if there have been past claims against the parlor in question if you still have doubts.

    ” She adds that since tattoos are essentially open wounds, they must be cared for properly, especially in the first few weeks, to stave off infection. Those who want go ahead with getting a tattoo anyway despite the risks should consider steering clear of colors derived from heavy metals.

    Dr. Kunin reports that black might be the safest permanent tattoo ink; it is often derived from a substance called carbon black and rarely causes any kind of sensitivity issues. If your heart is set on red in your tattoo, ask around to see if any tattoo parlors in your area are willing to work with non-metallic organic pigments that lend a red color such as carmine, scarlet lake, sandalwood or brazilwood.

    There are non-metallic alternatives available for many other popular tattoo ink shades, too. CONTACTS : Treehugger, www. treehugger. com ; Dermadoctor, www. dermadoctor. com. EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( www.

    Which tattoo ink is safest?

    There are a bunch of new colours and tattoo techniques on offer — neons, brighter shades, memorial tats where you mix in a bit of a loved one’s ashes (don’t judge; everyone grieves differently). But how far is too far? Take a look What are the safest colours? * Neon skin inks are loaded chemicals and mercury.

    The reds are perhaps the worst, because they also contain the highly toxic iron oxide and cadmium. * If you really want to get a permanent tattoo, stick with the basics. Black remains safest. Blue and green inks with copper phthalocyanine pigments are safe too.

    Some parlous mix their own inks; it’s generally safest to use branded inks that list their ingredients, says Dr Amit Karkhanis, laser and cosmetic physician. Are there any natural alternatives? * Some tattoo studios have yellows and blues that are turmeric- and indigo-based. Stick with the basics. Black remains safest. Blue and green inks with copper phthalocyanine pigments are safe too. (Shutterstock) Be cautious and plan well * Skin tone is important when planning a tattoo. Because melanin acts as a filter, bright colours such as reds, sky blues and yellows won’t look as you expect them to, says Ritopriyo Saha, founder of the Trippink tattoo studio in Bengaluru.

    There are other colours that are naturally derived, but also many that make false claim, so always check the contents. * A good tag to look for is EU certification. Inks that say they are compliant with EU quality standards will have the lowest levels of toxicity possible.

    * For dark skin tones, black and most shades of green work well. * Even if it’s not your first tattoo, do a patch test. Tattoo inks change; skin tones change. Take nothing for granted. * If there even a tiny chance that you will want the tattoo removed later on, avoid reds, yellows and oranges.

    They are the most resistant to laser removal treatments. Even for the other colours, removal takes an average of 15 visits over 8 weeks. Best and worst spots * Muscular parts of the body — upper arms, calves, back — are good places if you plan to get a tattoo, says Dr Karkhanis.

    * Avoid areas where the skin stretches such as the crease lines on the wrist, elbows or near the knees. “It will likely take longer to heal as there is constant pulling of the skin here,” he adds. * Avoid hands and feet. Sustained and direct exposure to sun, soap and water would make healing difficult and could cause the tattoo to fade.