Why Is Red Tattoo Ink Bad?
What Is The Issue With the Red Ink? – Red ink is controversial in the tattoo community for many reasons. Let’s first discuss the very ingredients used in red ink. It is fair to say that the majority of tattoo artists don’t know what’s in the inks they use, because tattoo ink is not FDA approved nor standardized. The ingredients a standard red ink contains are as follows;
- Iron oxide
- Naphthol-AS pigment
- Hoof gelatin
- Toxic pigment carriers like denatured alcohols and formaldehyde
Of course, this is not a complete or exact list of red ink ingredients. There are so many other toxic components found in red ink, including ethylene glycol (also known as antifreeze), rubbing alcohol, and a bunch of animal-originating components like animal fat glycerine, cod liver oil, or beeswax. As you can tell, there is a reason red ink is notoriously avoided in the tattoo community.
It is also well known that tattoo inks contain a lot of toxic and harmful compounds, like heavy metals for example. And, red ink might just be representative in terms of toxicity and potentially harmful ingredients.
The ingredients found in red ink can directly cause severe ink allergies and infections , and long-term health issues like skin hypersensitivity, burning, and scarring of the tattoo, skin rashing, and even cancer. Ingredients found in red ink are on the EPA list of the common causes of allergic reactions, infections, and cancer , which is a red flag on its own.
And then, there is the problem of potential, perpetual itching of the red tattoos. Now, all tattoos itch when they’re brand new and healing. Itching is a part of a proper healing process, which can be managed with different lotions and ointments.
It doesn’t last long and it’s pretty easy to deal with. However, red ink tattoos tend to itch, long after the tattoo has healed, completely. Some people experience itchiness years after they’ve gotten a tattoo. That is because the body simply never gets used to the ingredients in the ink and the skin develops particular sensitivity to a red tattoo.
The reason red ink can be potentially dangerous isn’t just the fact that it contains such harmful ingredients. The problem stretches to the ability of the red ink to stay in the skin longer than any other ink.
Red ink is incredibly hard to remove ; for example, if you go to get a laser tattoo removal, you can expect to have double the sessions for a red tattoo than for a, let’s say, black tattoo. That is why red ink is more prone to cause allergic reactions and skin sensitivity long after the tattoo has healed.
- 1 Is red ink more painful?
- 2 Can you get red ink tattoos?
- 3 Is tattoo ink cancerous?
- 4 How long does it take for red tattoo ink to heal?
- 5 Do red ink tattoos fade faster?
- 6 Is red a good tattoo color?
- 7 Are color tattoos toxic?
- 8 Is tattoo ink toxic to the body?
- 9 Do tattoos cause early death?
Is red tattoo ink cancerous?
Abstract – Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) induces skin cancer. The combination of UVR and red tattoos may be associated with increased risk of skin cancer due to potential carcinogens in tattoo inks. This combination has not been studied previously. Immunocompetent C3.
Cg/TifBomTac hairless mice (n=99) were tattooed on their back with a popular red tattoo ink. This often used ink is banned for use on humans because of high content of the potential carcinogen 2-anisidine.
Half of the mice were irradiated with three standard erythema doses UVR thrice weekly. Time to induction of first, second and third squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was measured. All UV-irradiated mice developed SCCs. The time to the onset of the first and second tumor was identical in the red-tattooed group compared with the control group (182 vs 186 days and 196 vs 203 days, P=ns).
- Statistically, the third tumor appeared slightly faster in the red-tattooed group than in the controls (214 vs 224 days, P=;
- For the second and third tumor, the growth rate was faster in the red-tattooed group compared with the control (31 vs 49 days, P=;
009 and 30 vs 38 days, P=. 036). In conclusion, no spontaneous cancers were observed in skin tattooed with a red ink containing 2-anisidine. However, red tattoos exposed to UVR showed faster tumor onset regarding the third tumor, and faster growth rate of the second and third tumor indicating red ink acts as a cocarcinogen with UVR.
Is red ink more painful?
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.
Why do people have reactions to red tattoo ink?
There are several risks to consider before subjecting your skin to a tattoo needle, not the least of which is the possibility of infection from viruses like hepatitis and HIV. But even if you choose a safe tattoo studio and the tattoo artist uses a sterile needle, you’re not out of the woods.
- The tattoo ink can potentially cause an allergic reaction;
- A tattoo allergy can result in swelling, irritation, a rash , or some other skin abnormality at or around the site of the tattoo;
- What Causes a Tattoo Allergy? Tattoo ink contains several ingredients and chemicals, and you may be allergic to any one of them;
Substances like iron oxide, mercury sulfide, ferric hydrate, aluminum, and manganese are only a few of the ingredients that may be included in the ink, depending on the color. An allergy to any of these substances can cause an allergic reaction once the ink gets into your skin. Types of Tattoo Allergic Reaction A tattoo allergy can take a number of different forms:
- Acute inflammatory allergic reaction. Many people who get tattoos experience what’s called an acute inflammatory reaction — the skin becomes red, slightly swollen, and irritated at the site of the tattoo. This occurs because of the irritation caused by the tattoo needle and the tattoo ink. It’s not serious, and generally subsides within about two or three weeks.
- Photosensitivity. Tattoos that are exposed to the sun may result in an allergic reaction, particularly those that contain yellow tattoo ink. Yellow and some red pigments contain cadmium sulfide, which can cause an allergic reaction when exposed to the sun.
- Dermatitis. Some of the most common tattoo allergies include types of dermatitis — photoallergic and allergic contact dermatitis. Most often, these types of allergic reactions are caused by mercury sulfide, which is found in red tattoo ink.
- Lichenoid allergic reaction. This is rare, but is typically related to red tattoo ink, and characterized by small bumps that appear around the red ink areas.
- Pseudolymphomatous allergic reaction. Caused by sensitivity to a substance in the tattoo ink, this is a delayed reaction — it doesn’t occur right after getting the tattoo. Red tattoo ink is usually to blame, but it can result from blue and green as well.
- Granulomas. These are small bumps that can appear as a result of an allergic reaction. Red tattoo ink is most often the culprit, but purple, green, or blue tattoo ink may also cause these bumps to form around the site of the tattoo.
Can you get red ink tattoos?
Red ink isn’t the most common color for tattoos, but it can make a tattoo stand out. This can come with some drawbacks, though. For example, red ink is the most common for infections and allergic reactions. This color tattoo is very common when getting inked if you want floral designs, such as red roses.
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.
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 do red tattoos last?
Self-care – Be sure you know exactly how to care for your new tattoo before you let the artist sling that ink. Few states have any regulations requiring tattoo salons to provide after-care instructions. You don’t want to repeat the tragic mistake of a 31-year-old man in Texas. Five days after getting a tattoo on his leg of a cross and hands in prayer, with the words “Jesus is my life” written in cursive below, he went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Within days he was in the hospital, infected with vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium commonly found in coastal ocean water. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the bacteria causes 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths every year in the United States. Do your own thorough research before you get your tat; and in the meantime, here are a few key tips from dermatologists and tattoo artists:
- A thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage or plastic wrap should be applied by the artist before you leave the salon. Keep that on for 6 to 24 hours — ask your artist for recommendations — then remove carefully.
- With clean hands, gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial soap and water and pat dry with a clean, soft cloth. Apply a very thin layer of antibiotic ointment and leave the tattoo open to breathe. Over the next few weeks you’ll want to wash the tattoo twice a day and apply moisturizer.
- For the first few days your skin may feel warm, appear reddish and even ooze plasma and ink. That’s a normal part of the process. If you see any sort of skin reaction after the first few days, however, visit a dermatologist. Infected skin could be redder, warmer and more painful, and could leak pus.
- Don’t go swimming or otherwise immerse yourself in water for at least two weeks. Quick showers are fine.
- Don’t pick at the scab or try to rub flakes off. Let them come off naturally to keep the ink in the skin and avoid scarring.
- The tattoo is likely to itch as it heals — don’t scratch, and apply moisturizer to help relieve the sensation.
- Wear protective, loose clothing to keep your tat out of the sun, but don’t apply sunblock until after it looks healed, which is around three weeks.
According to dermatologists, your tattoo may appear dull and cloudy as it heals, but should be to its full vibrant colors within four months, about the time that all layers of the tattooed skin have healed. CNN’s Ben Tinker and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report..
Is tattoo ink cancerous?
Cancer – Do tattoos cause skin cancer? This has been a question that researchers have been exploring for years. While there is no direct connection between tattoos and skin cancer, there are some ingredients in tattoo ink that may be linked to cancer.
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).
Health officials and researchers are especially concerned about the effects of black tattoo ink, as it is the most commonly used color for tattooing. “Blackout” tattoos have also raised significant concern among health officials and researchers. This hot new trend may be especially dangerous since it requires individuals to have large portions of their bodies covered in thick, heavy solid black ink.
- In addition to the fear of carcinogens contained in the ink, individuals are also concerned about the way these tattoos cover the body;
- A change in skin pigmentation is one of the earliest signs of skin cancer, particularly melanoma;
When the body is “blacked out” with tattoo ink, individuals may not be able to notice these changes right away. For this reason, tattoos should never be placed over pre-existing moles, birth marks, or other skin discolorations or abnormalities. Another cause for concern is what happens to a tattoo after you’ve had it for a while.
What is the most painful spot to get a tattoo?
How long does it take for red tattoo ink to heal?
After getting a tattoo, the outer layer of skin (the part you can see) will typically heal within 2 to 3 weeks. While it may look and feel healed, and you may be tempted to slow down on the aftercare, it can take as long as 6 months for the skin below a tattoo to truly heal.
Do red ink tattoos fade faster?
– Ink plays an important role in the creation of your tattoo and its style. Depending on the brand and quality, you might also see better results, but also a higher cost. For example, ink used even five years ago isn’t as good as some of the new inks that are available today. Here’s a breakdown of inks:
|Black & Blue||These colors are the most popular for tattooing and are suitable for fair, tan and black skin. These colors are also the easiest to remove with lasers. Black is best for line work and containing color and the most popular black ink is Silverback.|
|Red||Many people are allergic to red ink. If you’re not sure whether you’re allergic or not, have the tattoo artist do a red ink dot on your foot. It will fade away faster and you’ll know pretty quickly whether you’re allergic or not. In general, red ink tends to fade over time quicker than dark colors.|
|Orange, Yellow & Purple||Yellow and orange might fade faster on pale skin, and need rendering more often than darker colors. The same goes for purple. Purple can lose its intensity over time quicker than black or blue.|
|White Ink||White ink tattoos glow in ultraviolet light, and are most suited for pale and freckle-free skin. They tend to fade faster and look more subtle, but may look like scars if done incorrectly.|
|Blacklight & Glow In The Dark||UV tattoos, also known as glow-in-the-dark tattoos, are made with ink that’s fluorescent in ultraviolet light (blacklight). The ink may cause allergic reactions, and the FDA has not officially approved the use of these inks. If you’re not sure whether you’re allergic or not, have the tattoo artist do a small dot on your foot first.|
The choice of your tattoo coloring is as important as the picture itself. The theme, size, and your skin tone all play a role in choosing the appropriate coloring, and is something to discuss at your consultation. The tattoo artist should be able to suggest the most suitable coloring for you based on your skin tone. You can go either with a colored tattoo, or a black-and-grey tattoo done using black ink, possibly with added white ink highlights.
And depending on who makes the ink, there’ll be different ingredients and different levels of metals in the inks. If you’re seeking an explosion of color, your individual skin tone will be the defining factor in choosing the most complimentary shades: the fairer the skin, the more bold and bright the colors will appear.
On the other hand, the darker the skin, the more challenging it will be to highlight varying shades. &lt;span id=”selection-marker-1″ class=”redactor-selection-marker” data-verified=”redactor”&gt;&lt;/span&gt;.
Is red tattoo ink hard to remove?
What Tattoo Ink Colors are Easiest to Remove? – Black and Grey tattoo inks are the easiest to remove. Most clinics will have a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with a1064 nm wavelength. This is especially effective on black and grey ink colors. Red inks are typically the second easiest to remove.
What does red tattoo symbolize?
Red Is The Color Of Passion, Love, Blood, & Fire – David Buchan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Think of all the things the color red represents. It connotes passion, love, blood, anger, and fire. Those are all things that can consume and destroy you.
They also make life thrilling. Perhaps Jenner chose to go with red ink as a contrast to the tattoo’s meaning. The insanity of her passions and her life are tempered by the red-etched “sanity. ” At the end of the day, the color red can symbolize any or all of those things and are run through the filter of Jenner’s life experiences.
Kevin Kane/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Plus, you can apply what Taylor Swift said about naming one of her albums Red to Jenner’s life in much the same way. At the time she revealed the album title, Swift said, “All those emotions — spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion, all of that — in my mind, all those emotions are red.
Is red a good tattoo color?
For those with medium or tanned skin, oranges, greens, and bright blues work well. For darker skin tones, the darkest colors, like royal blue, crimson red, and black, work best. Lighter shades, such as light blue and white, don’t show up as well, whereas darker tattoo pigments bring out the color in the skin.
Does red ink tattoo cost more?
Tattoo Color – The color of your tattoo ink has a very minimal effect on the price you pay. For example, red ink tattoo costs almost the same as black ink. The only real concerns you should have about colors used are how well they stand out with your skin tone and whether you might want to remove your tattoo one day.
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).
Are color tattoos toxic?
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.
Is tattoo ink toxic to the body?
‘Tattoo inks and permanent make up (PMU) may contain hazardous substances — for example, substances that cause cancer, genetic mutations, toxic effects on reproduction, allergies or other adverse effects on health,’ an ECHA statement reads.
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.