What Is Tattoo Ink?
Tattoo ink is an ink used for tattooing. It commonly consists of pigment and carrier. Tattoo ink is manufactured in a wide range of colors which can be further mixed to produce any shade. As we tattoo ourselves for thousands of years we make tattoo ink just as long.
- Earliest inks were made of charcoal, ash and other materials that could be found in nature;
- As the time passed more complex recipes for ink were invented;
- Roman physician Aetius had a recipe for tattoo ink that consisted of pine bark, corroded bronze mixed with vinegar, insect eggs and vitriol;
Modern inks don’t differ too much from these ancient ones in terms of dangerous materials that they have. In United States tattoo inks should be subject to regulation by the U. Food and Drug Administration but FDA says on their website that “FDA has not approved any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin” and that “many pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint”.
- Some tattoo inks can have heavy metals in them like mercury lead, cadmium, nickel, zinc, chromium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, copper, iron and barium;
- Others can have metal oxides like ferrocyanide and ferricyanide and other elements like antimony, arsenic, beryllium, calcium, lithium, selenium, and sulfur;
Carrier used to the turn the powdered pigment into liquid is usually ethyl alcohol or water but some inks are made with denatured alcohols, methanol, rubbing alcohol, propylene glycol, and glycerine. Glow in the dark ink and blacklight ink and their safety for humans are widely debated in the tattoo community and it is still not know how safe they are. The first one works on phosphorescence – it absorbs and retains light, and then glows in dark; while the other glows under the UV light. Even the widespread temporary ink black henna is not safe. Health Canada has advised against it because it contains para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which can cause an allergic reaction in form of rashes, contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, open sores, and scarring.
- The worst of these are homemade tattoo inks which people make of pen ink, soot, dirt, blood, or other ingredients;
- Laws don’t require of manufacturers to reveal their ingredients or conduct trials and because of that no one knows for sure what is in them and how it reacts with a human body;
We know that there are rare case of those who have black tattoos (made with iron oxide) to have problems with MRI scanners (tattoos start heating up). Some other tattoos can trigger an allergic reaction. In Europe, 40% of organic tattoo colorants are not approved for cosmetic use and under 20% of colorants tested had in them carcinogenic aromatic amine.
- Some tattoo inks trigger allergic reaction only when exposed to sunlight;
- Mercury and Azo-chemicals are more often to cause allergic reactions than other pigments and are used in red dyes so allergies are more often in red tattoos;
That, of course, doesn’t mean that black, purple, and green pigments don’t cause allergic reactions..
- 1 Are tattoo inks Safe?
- 2 What happens to tattoo ink in the skin?
- 3 What does tattoo ink do to your blood?
- 4 Do tattoos poison your blood?
- 5 Can I use any ink for a tattoo?
- 6 What tattoo ink is best?
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.
What kind of ink is tattoo ink?
Do different coloured inks have different components in them? – There are about 9 colours that are most frequently used in tattooing – they contain different ingredients. Black is the most commonly used tattoo ink. Natural black pigment is made from magnetite crystals, powdered jet, wustite, bone char, and amorphous carbon from combustion (soot).
- The ingredients of black ink are iron oxide, carbon and logwood;
- Brown ink is made of ochre (iron oxides mixed with clay), blue contains sodium aluminium silicate (lapis lazuli) and copper silicate (Egyptian blue);
Red ink carries an increased risk of allergy and contains cinnabar (a toxic mineral) and naphthol pigments. The other commonly used inks are white, violet, yellow, green and orange. All of them contain a different combination of chemicals. It’s best to do your research before you head to the tattoo studio.
Are tattoo inks Safe?
Could other problems occur later on? – Although research is ongoing at FDA and elsewhere, there are still a lot of questions about the long-term effects of the pigments, other ingredients, and possible contaminants in tattoo inks. FDA has received reports of bad reactions to tattoo inks right after tattooing and even years later.
- You also might become allergic to other products, such as hair dyes, if your tattoo contains p-phenylenediamene (PPD);
- Then there’s tattoo removal;
- We don’t know the short- or long-term consequences of how pigments break down after laser treatment;
However, we do know some tattoo removal procedures may leave permanent scarring.
What’s the difference between tattoo ink and regular ink?
07/01/2019 One of the most common questions that clients ask (apart from “does it hurt?”) is this: “is it ‘proper’ tattoo ink?” It’s an important question that every PMU Artist should be able to educate their client about in order to put their mind at ease. Whilst tattoo inks and cosmetic tattoo pigments are very similar in the respect that they are implanted into the skin to create a tattoo, their composition is very different. Cosmetic Tattoo Pigments Cosmetic tattoo pigments are made up of smaller pigment particles that are suspended in a diluter – this allows for a more natural, softer colour in the skin that can be layered to create a much more realistic finish. Traditional tattoo ink is made up of larger molecules. They are deeper & richer in colour Tattoo method Another major difference is how the pigment is applied to the skin – a regular tattoo machine has needles that pierce the skin whilst creating a vacuum that pulls the pigment into it. Cosmetic tattoo machines work on a rotary mechanism that turn and slice the skin to apply the pigment.
Traditional Tattoo Inks Traditional tattoo inks are much more concentrated which means that they are much stronger in colour. Traditional tattoos are often very bold and can also be very bright too. If you were to compare a traditional tattoo alongside a brow tattoo for example, you’d notice that the traditional tattoo is much deeper and richer and often has an abundance of bright, eye-catching colours.
They don’t go as deep into the skin as regular tattoo machines nor do they create the same vacuum. As permanent makeup artists we always want to create the most beautifully natural, realistic effect that we can. It’s important to re-assure our clients that the work that we provide is intended to blend into their skin seamlessly rather than take on the appearance of being placed on top.
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).
What happens to tattoo ink in the skin?
– The tattoo needle punctures your skin around 100 times per second, with the aim of depositing the ink in a region of 1. 5 to 2 millimeters below the surface of the skin. The reason for this depth of penetration is to bypass the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis.
This part of the skin constantly renews itself. Every day, thousands of epidermal cells are shed from your skin and replaced with new cells. Ink injected into the superficial skin layer would simply come off within 3 weeks.
In order to give the ink a permanent home in your body, the tattoo needle must travel through the epidermis into the deeper layer, or the dermis. Nerves and blood vessels are located here, which is why getting a tattoo hurts and your skin tends to bleed.
- The bleeding is part of the skin’s natural defense against injury;
- The result is an influx of immune cells to the site of injury;
- Macrophages are specialized immune cells, whose job it is to engulf foreign particles and clear them from the tissue;
But this process is only partially successful when it comes to tattoo ink. Some macrophages loaded with ink particles remain in the dermis, while other pigment particles are taken up by the main dermal residents, which are called fibroblasts. Clumps of pigment particles have also been found to stick between the dense collagen fibers of the dermis.
Although every new tattoo will display some pigment loss, the majority of the ink will stay in the skin. A study in mice reported that 42 days after tattooing, 68 percent of the dye was still located at the injection site.
But where is the rest of the ink?.
What does tattoo ink do to your blood?
Do Tattoos Affect Blood Tests? – No, tattoos do not affect blood tests. Not all ink particles from a tattoo enter your bloodstream, so it shouldn’t interfere with any blood tests you might have to take in the future. If your tattoo is fresh and is still healing, your blood test may result in elevated levels of white blood cells due to the open wound caused by the needle.
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.
How do I make tattoo ink?
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).
Do tattoos poison your blood?
– Ink poisoning doesn’t occur from drawing on your skin. Ink may temporarily stain your skin, but it will not poison you.
Do tattoos cause liver damage?
– 1. Which doctor should I consult if I have problems with Tattoos? Consult a dermatologist. Can you get an MRI done if you have a tattoo? Tattoos may cause some hindrance to the MRI process but it should be done if necessary even in a tattooed patient.
- The main issues arise with black ink tattoos, as they contain iron oxide which is a ferromagnetic substance and may alter the results;
- Some cases of swelling in the tattoos and burns on the tattoos have also been seen because the iron oxide gets heated up as electric current passes through the tattooed area;
In any case, it is advisable to inform the technician about tattoos before an MRI. What diseases can you get from a tattoo? Most tattoo associated diseases are blood-borne (i. transmitted via blood stream) through infected needles or unattended tattoo wounds.
These include tetanus, hepatitis B and C, and various others. Some cases of psoriatic lesions have also been seen. Psoriasis is a skin condition in which a scaly rash appears over several parts of the body.
Can tattoos cause skin cancer? There is no strong evidence of tattoos increasing the risk of skin cancers. On the other hand it is not advisable to have a tattoo too close to skin lesions or cancerous areas. Some rare cases have been reported where black ink tattoos have been seen as the cause for cancer due to presence of a compound called Benzo(a)pyrene and(or) arsenic.
Can a tattoo cause nerve damage? The tattooing process may cause trauma to superficial nerves and also certain compounds in the ink such as mercury are harmful to the nervous system and brain. Are tattoos bad for your liver? Tattoo ink may get accumulated in the liver and kidneys over a prolonged period of time but as such does not directly affect the liver.
Indirectly, tattoos may cause severe liver damage due to hepatitis infection. Are tattoos bad for your blood? As in the case of liver, tattoos directly do not have any adverse effects on the blood, but may cause blood infections. Published on Nov 12, 2016 Last Updated on Oct 09, 2020.
Can I use any ink for a tattoo?
Posted on September 07 2020 Here’s a quick fire guide for those looking to become part of the stick and poke world! Enjoy. What is a Stick and Poke? A stick and poke is a DIY way to create tattoos. it’s a modern version of what people have been doing for years, having a go at creating their very own designs! What do you need for a Stick and Poke? You will need a needle, thread, skin, ink, and all the precautions to make it safe and sterile.
(things like boiling the needle, wearing protective gloves, using alcohol on the skin etc. ) What needle should I use? You can use a normal sewing needle but a tattoo needle works the best. We recommend not using a hollow piercing needle or a safety pin.
Try to be sensible! What ink should I use? Tattoo ink is the best, but non toxic india ink (such as Higgins, Speedball or Winsor and Newton) works well also. These are all easily available on the internet. Stay away from pen ink and inks that may be toxic.
Other inks may work, but if you want to get the most from your design and it be safe, tattoo ink is definitely the way to go. How long will these tattoos last? Depending on how deep you poked and the type of skin it was applied on, they should for a really long.
Although this is contradicts popular opinion, you should not think of these as temporary tattoos. How deep should I poke? Our opinion is that you should never exceed 1/8 of an inch. You should feel a pop of the skin while you’re doing it, when you do, don’t go much past that point.
- You’ll quickly see the results if you’ve gone deep enough so don’t rush it;
- Don’t overdo it! You don’t want to damage the skin or bleed too much during the process;
- What should I do for after care? Keep it clean with anti bacterial soap;
If possible, also try to stay out of direct sunlight too. Generally, the aftercare is very similar to a professional tattoo..
Do tattoos burn in 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.
What tattoo ink is best?
What animal products are in tattoo ink?
How do you make homemade tattoo ink?
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.
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.
- There have been rare cases of skin cancer malignant tumors found in tattoos, but scientists say these could just be a coincidence;
- 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.
Making it possible that getting a tattoo removed can be even more dangerous than the original. 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.
Choose Carbazole or Dioxazine for this pigment, try to avoid manganese violet. Choose Arylide or Tumeric based pigments. Copper pthalocyanine pigments are the safest choice for both of these. Specifically Monoazo for green and sodium based for blue.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.