Toxicity of Ink

Understand the Toxicity of Ink

Skin Health Hub Skin Art Toxicity Of InkHere’s why it is important to not be afraid to ask your tattoo artist questions.

Tattoo ink is made up of pigments suspended in carrier solution. Pigments used in tattoo ink may be vegetable dyes, metal salts or plastics and may even be blended further with lightening agents like lead and titanium. The carrier solution used to disinfect the suspension of the pigment may be: ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, glycerin, or glycerol, Listerine brand mouthwash, propylene glycol, purified water or witch hazel. Additional substances may also be used such as: antifreeze, detergents and highly toxic aldehydes like gluteraldehyde and formaldehyde.

The primary purpose of the carrier solution is to ensure that the pigment is distributed evenly, to inhibit pathogen growth, prevent pigment clumping as well as aid in application.

Even with high quality pigments and the right carriers, there are additional risks involved when tattooing. If alcohol is used in the tattoo ink, or as a disinfectant on the surface of the skin, it will allow more chemicals to seep into your bloodstream. If there happens to be any hazardous material in the ink, the alcohol will increase the risk of disease or mutation, not just where the ink work is done, but throughout your entire body.

Anyone getting a tattoo is at risk of contracting an infection of some kind, including: MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) a bacterium that leads to infections in different areas of the body.

Other risks include an allergic reaction to having come in contact with latex (commonly the protective gloves warn by the artist) or developing keloids, an abnormal growth (scar tissue) on or near a new tattoo. Keloids are the result of the body over defending itself after trauma or a surgical incision.

Remember, your skin is your body’s largest organ, and anything you apply to it is absorbed straight into your bloodstream, including tattoo ink. Now that you have a better understanding of tattoo ink don’t forget to ask your tattoo artist just what is in their ink before you get inked.

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