The Safety of Black Tattoo Inks

black tattooIt has been said that black tattoo inks are absolutely safe. But new research has shown that although coloured inks are often the cause of allergies or skin reactions, black tattoo ink can also pose problems. Coloured tattoo inks contain various components such as nickel, lead, cadmium, chromium, titanium, and other heavy metals. Black tattoo ink may contain carbon, magnetite crystals, bone black, logwood, and powdered jet. Carriers used may be purified water, ethyl alcohol, and propylene glycol.

Since tattoo inks are not really regulated, they can contain any of these substances. This can pose dangers because during the tattoo process, the permanent ink is injected deep under the epidermis. The pigment is identified as alien by the body and is then encapsulated in dense fibrous tissue. Research has identified low levels of carcinogens in black tattoo ink.

It is estimated that around half of people with tats would want to have their tattoos removed years later. Although modern tattoo removal methods now make use of lasers, this can add to potential problems. Laser tattoo removal methods use heat during the process. Chemical reactions in the body occur which can possibly generate carcinogenic breakdown products which are then absorbed by the body. Therefore, the bigger the tattoo, the greater is the release of toxins in the body.

The ink may also cause allergic reactions, chronic skin problems, inflammation from sun exposure, and in rare instances, infection. It is said that benzopyrene, one of the chemicals found in black tattoo inks, causes skin cancer in animal tests. Small bumps or granulomas can also develop. This is a sign that the body is rejecting the ink, as it views it as a foreign substance.

Carbon black, one of the popular pigments in black tattoo ink, is also a component of printer toners and automobile tires. One German study revealed that around two out of three tattoo inks tested contained unsafe materials and not meant to be injected into the skin.

Before getting a tattoo, do a bit of research. Inquire about the inks used by the shop, get referrals from your friends, and choose an experienced artist. The tattoo artist should also be able to vouch for the ink brand and be knowledgeable about the sterile procedures. He should be comfortable using the particular black tattoo ink and is confident that no clients had adverse reactions with it.