How To Tell If Tattoo Ink Is Bad?

How To Tell If Tattoo Ink Is Bad

Signs That the Tattoo Ink Has Expired – Credit: Instagram To be really technical, the components in tattoo ink do not expire by themselves, whether you use pre-dispersed ink (the kind that’s wet and ready to go) or powdered ink (the kind you need to mix up at the studio). The color pigments (these can be plastic, metals, and other compounds) are mixed with a liquid (usually an alcohol or water) to create an ink. Both materials won’t “go off” over time, but they can split which makes the ink unusable. The liquid tends to evaporate over time too. To summarize the signs that the ink has expired:

  • It is past the expiration date set by the manufacturer,
  • The liquid has split, leaving liquid and solids separate,
  • The liquid has evaporated so it’s thicker or solid,
  • It wasn’t stored correctly,
  • There was a potential moment when it could have been contaminated.

If there is even a chance that the ink could have been contaminated, the tattoo artist should throw it away.

What can bad tattoo ink do?

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.

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

Does tattoo ink actually expire?

How To Tell If Tattoo Ink Is Bad Credit: Instagram @thesolidink Whether it’s curdled milk that’s been kicking it in the fridge a couple of days too long or years-old NyQuil which just doesn’t knock out that cold, expired stuff rarely ends well. But, does tattoo ink expire and, if so, how do you ensure that you’re getting body art produced with fresh ink? We’ve got the answers. First off, you can check the bottle. Any reputable artist will be diligent about the expiration dates listed by the manufacturers on their arsenal of inks, which “typically last around two years, depending on the company,” explains Inshaan Ali, a senior artist at Toronto-based studio Ink & Water.

However, if an artist is working with clients regularly, it rarely comes to that. “Most artists don’t have inks for that long anyway,” Ali says, and in terms of how much to stock of certain shades, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy.

“The amount of ink to have on hand really depends on the artist and their style. If an artist does color , they will have more colored inks,” while someone who specializes in graphic black and gray work probably won’t be constantly replenishing a wide rainbow of shades.

But if an artist does end up with ink past its prime, it’s got to go, no ifs, ands, or buts. “Artists just throw away an ink if it’s past expiration. When ink expires, it separates and isn’t good to use,” Ali continues.

“There isn’t a specific way of disposal, you can simply throw it in the garbage. ” If you’re worried that your tattoo has been applied with expired ink, there are a couple of signs to look out for. “For expired tattoo ink, the main concern lies not in how it will look, but rather whether it has been contaminated,” explains Dr.

Neil Tanna, MD, associate program director of plastic surgery and professor of surgery at Northwell Health. “Tattoo ink that is used beyond its expiration date may harbor bacteria that can lead to an infection and potential scarring or distortion at the tattoo site.

” Infections and scarring are scary enough, but ink that’s past its prime could also have aesthetic repercussions by creating unexpected, unwanted hues you’re stuck with for the long haul. “Depending on the pigments used, expired inks could have altered colors due to potential separation of the component pigments,” Dr.

Tanna says. Even with still-fresh, non-contaminated ink, some hues used for tattooing are prone to changing or disappearing more than others, he explains. “Lighter pigments, such as reds, whites, and yellows, will fade far more quickly than dark pigments.

” Separate from exploring the question “does tattoo ink expire?”, there are of course factors that impact a tattoo’s lifespan and vibrancy overall. One example being, where it is on the body. “Areas with thicker skin that regenerate quickly, such as the palms of the hand and soles of the feet, will result in tattoos that fade faster,” Dr.

Tanna continues. How much and how quickly ink fades has to do with a couple of other considerations, especially sun exposure. “Ultraviolet light from the sun will bleach the pigments found in tattoo ink,” Dr.

Tanna says. Body parts that get the most sun exposure, like the hands and face, are likely to fade faster. “Additionally, mechanical forces, such as frequent rubbing or washing, can also accelerate the fading process, especially for hand and finger tattoos,” he says.

While tattoos and the ink used to create them are obviously intended to last forever, there are a few ways this can be interrupted, and not just by the aforementioned external fading factors but internally, by the body.

“Generally, tattoo ink is permanently incorporated into the skin but over the course of several years, the ink may migrate deeper into the skin, or get eaten by immune cells such as macrophage,” Dr. Tanna explains. “This will cause the tattoo to appear faded, though the rate of this process is highly variable.

  1. ” So, does tattoo ink expire? In short, yes;
  2. While the longevity of your ink depends on a number of factors in your control, the importance of fresh ink might be the most vital thing to ensure you have body art that’s free of infection or scarring, and is as long-lasting and vibrant as possible;

If you’re concerned about the quality of your ink, always ask your artist before they start working. If you liked our post, “Does Tattoo Ink Expire?”, check out The Best Questions to Ask Your Tattoo Artist Before Your Appointment.

How do you know if ink is tattoo safe?

If I get a tattoo and develop an infection or other reaction, what should I do? – First, contact your health care professional. Second, notify the tattoo artist so he or she can identify the ink and avoid using it again. Ask for the brand, color, and any lot or batch number of the ink or diluent to help determine the source of the problem and how to treat it.

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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).

How long does tattoo flu last?

Although it can sometimes take around 8 weeks for the wound to fully heal, these symptoms should not last more than 2 weeks. Infection may be present if a person experiences: swelling that does not go down after 48 hours.

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 if I use expired tattoo needle?

Why you shouldn’t use an expired tattoo needle – Once the expiry date on a tattoo needle has passed, the needle is no longer able to protect against viruses or bacteria. If you use an expired needle when tattooing your client you could risk them contracting a virus or bacteria, and becoming ill as a result.

The expiry date on a tattoo needle is the date when the sterilisation for that individual needle is no longer valid. This means your needle needs to be re-sterilised before you use it, but your safest bet is to throw away the needle and use an in-date sterilised one.

Not only should the health and safety of your clients be your first priority, but a client contracting a virus or bacteria as a result of expired needles could result in severe consequences for your business. It’s also important to note that tattoo needles should only be used once, especially when tattooing different people.

When you’re done with your tattoo needle, make sure you dispose of it in a sharps container that is marked ‘hazardous material’. Sharps bins enable the safe storage and disposal of sharps waste. The bins are puncture resistant and leak proof with a colour coded system to ensure that the waste is separated correctly for disposal.

Companies providing sharps bins can work with you to identify the correct bin type, and also the frequency of sharps collection depending on your studio’s size and frequency. How To Tell If Tattoo Ink Is Bad.

Can I reuse tattoo ink?

Needles should be sterilized in an autoclave before inking begins. Needle reuse in tattooing is illegal. Getting a tattoo can be dangerous, but it’s fairly easy to make sure you stay healthy with this safety check list. Is the tattoo artist licensed? In the state of Texas, tattoo artists must be licensed by the Drugs and Medical Devices Group, which is part of the Texas Department of Health Services.

To be licensed, tattooists must comply with all safety and health codes and have a tattoo parlor separate from their homes. Separate licenses are required to perform piercings. Tattoo artists must use antibacterial and germicidal hand soap and single-use disposable gloves.

Needles and ink must be sterilized. If there’s no autoclave — a heat sterilization chamber for equipment — walk away. Is the tattooist vaccinated for hepatitis B? Although not required, vaccinations against hepatitis for both you and the tattoo artists are the only way to protect against what can be a fatal disease.

  • Any time a needle punctures your skin, you run the risk of contracting a blood-born pathogen such as hepatitis B or C or HIV;
  • The hepatitis vaccine involves a series of three shots given over four months;

If you can’t handle that, can you handle the thousands of shots it takes to get a tattoo? Don’t be a wimp! Protect yourself before the inking begins. Where and how does the artist store and use supplies? Most of the supplies used — ink, water, needles — in a reputable shop are only used once and thrown away.

Make sure your artist is not taking leftover ink and returning it to a universal container. It should be thrown out. Reused ink can be contaminated with disease. Water and ointments should follow the same rules, especially if your tattoo artist uses deodorant to darken the initial outline.

Do not let a deodorant stick directly touch your skin. Deodorant must be transferred from the stick to your skin with a sterile pad or tissue. Can you see and guarantee the needles used are new and sterile? The only way to ensure a needle is sterile is if you see it being removed from a sealed or sterile bag right before your eyes.

New needles are usually bright silver with no stains or discolorations. If you don’t like how a needle looks, ask for different needles or go to a different shop. How is equipment disposed of? All needles should be disposed of after use in a sharps container, which is usually marked with a red top and a biohazard symbol.

Be sure your shop of choice has one and uses it. Find more articles like this in Tattoo Guide.

Do tattoos go into your bloodstream?

How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay In Your Blood? – The tattoo ink is never and will never be injected directly into the bloodstream. However, the ink is injected into the dermis when tattooing, which is the second layer of skin. This layer of skin contains tiny blood vessels that could carry some of the ink particles through the body.

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Do tattoos cause early death?

Abstract – Objectives: At autopsy, tattoos are recorded as part of the external examination. An investigation was undertaken to determine whether negative messages that are tattooed on a decedent may indicate a predisposition to certain fatal outcomes.

  • Methods: Tattooed and nontattooed persons were classified by demography and forensics;
  • Tattoos with negative or ominous messages were reviewed;
  • Statistical comparisons were made;
  • Results: The mean age of death for tattooed persons was 39 years, compared with 53 years for nontattooed persons (P =;

0001). There was a significant contribution of negative messages in tattoos associated with nonnatural death (P =. 0088) but not with natural death. However, the presence of any tattoo was more significant than the content of the tattoo. Conclusions: Persons with tattoos appear to die earlier than those without.

  • There may be an epiphenomenon between having tattoos and risk-taking behavior such as drug or alcohol use;
  • A negative tattoo may suggest a predisposition to violent death but is eclipsed by the presence of any tattoo;

Keywords: Autopsy; Drug overdose; Forensic sciences; Suicide; Tattooing; Violence. Copyright© by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Can I get an MRI with 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 108881 Hits How To Tell If Tattoo Ink Is Bad 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.

Who should not get tattoos?

Are tattoos addictive?

– Tattoos have increased in popularity in recent years, and they’ve become a fairly accepted form of personal expression. If you know someone with several tattoos , you may have heard them mention their “tattoo addiction” or talk about how they can’t wait to get another tattoo.

  • Maybe you feel the same way about your ink;
  • It’s not uncommon to hear a love of tattoos referred to as an addiction;
  • Many people believe tattoos can be addictive;
  • (There’s even a television series called “My Tattoo Addiction;

“) But tattoos aren’t addictive, according to the clinical definition of addiction. The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as a pattern of substance use or behavior that’s not easily controlled and can become compulsive over time. You might pursue this substance or activity regardless of the problems it might cause and have trouble thinking about or doing anything else.

This description generally doesn’t apply to tattoos. Having a lot of tattoos, planning multiple tattoos, or knowing you want more tattoos doesn’t mean you have an addiction. Many different reasons, some of them psychological, could drive your desire for multiple tattoos, but addiction probably isn’t one of them.

Let’s look more closely at the factors that could be contributing to your desire for more ink.

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.

Can you get ink poisoning from a tattoo?

– The ink from pens and markers is considered minimally toxic and it’s difficult to be exposed to large quantities of it. Thus, the likelihood that you’ll get ink poisoning by ingesting ink from a pen or getting some on your skin or in your eye is slight.

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 cause brain damage?

Tattoo Inks Carry Carcinogenic Nanoparticles – A 2011 study discovered nanoparticles in tattoo inks and found that these harmful particles are in most inks. These microscopic particles are able to penetrate the skin and travel into the bloodstream, where they could potentially enter organs and tissue.

Does tattoo ink get in your bloodstream?

How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay In Your Blood? – The tattoo ink is never and will never be injected directly into the bloodstream. However, the ink is injected into the dermis when tattooing, which is the second layer of skin. This layer of skin contains tiny blood vessels that could carry some of the ink particles through the body.