What to Know Before Getting a Tattoo: Tattoo Ink Ban & Unsafe Practices

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years, with changes in ink composition and application techniques occurring gradually over the years. As tattoos have become more popular over the last few decades (with more than 29% of all people having a tattoo in the U.S.!), research has shown an increase in infections from contaminated ink.

In an effort to make tattoo ink safer, the European Union introduced an ink ban, which prevents over 4000 dangerous chemicals from being used in inks used for tattooing and permanent makeup.

Inks Banned in EU Not Yet Banned in the United States

While none of the inks that have been banned in the EU have been banned in the United States so far, the FDA does caution people interested in getting a new tattoo to check with your artist to see what kinds of ink will be going into your tattoo.

Microorganisms have been found in certain inks in the U.S. which can be harmful to the person getting tattooed. That being said, the FDA does not regulate any tattoo ink itself.

Related Post: Tattoo Ink Ban and What It Means for Tattoo Removal

What is Found in Tattoo Ink

Many people who get tattoos tend to not think about the impacts that the ink may have in your body. Some research suggests that certain inks used in Europe might have lasting effects on a tattooed person’s body, even years later.

This is because of heavy metals used in inks in the EU, including inks used for permanent makeup.

Harmful Materials in Tattoo Ink and the Negative Effects

Harmful materials found in certain inks have included: arsenic, nickel, lead, preservatives, bacteria and other potentially harmful substances.

Most research done has indicated that negative effects appear as allergic reactions, bumps on the skin, and potential harm done to the person’s lymphatic system when the ink is pushed further into the body.

Because of these effects, several inks over the last few years have been recalled.

Possibilities of Infection

When you go in to get a tattoo it might seem obvious that a needle will be placing ink into your skin. But what does that mean for your skin while being tattooed? It means that your skin is open to the outside world, which leaves risk for infection if you or the tattoo artist isn’t careful.

Infection and other health risks can occur during the tattooing process if the environment, artist, or equipment isn’t clean.

To avoid hidden dangers of getting tattooed, make sure the artist is using sanitary equipment, you’re in a clean environment, and the artist is using appropriate tattoo-specific ink.

1. Bacterial Infections

  • While being tattooed, your body is susceptible to certain bacterias, which can cause infection. The most common bacterias you could contract while being tattooed are staphylococcus and streptococcus (staph and strep infections from tattoo ink).
  • The symptoms of staph and strep are inflammation, redness, and pus at the site of the tattoo, which could lead to worse conditions, such as sepsis, if not treated quickly. Make sure to always check the inks your tattoo artists are using, and to only get tattooed in sanitary conditions.

2. Viral Infections 

  • While viral infections from tattooing are typically rare, there have been strong links between tattooing and Hepatitis C, especially when being tattooed by an unlicensed tattoo artist or a tattoo artist with no knowledge of blood product disposal procedures.
  • Connections to other viruses such as tuberculosis, HIV, and warts have also been found with tattooing.

3. Allergic Reactions to Ink

  • Some people can develop allergies to tattoos as a result of the pigment in the inks. Certain color inks can cause allergic reactions in some people, which can lead to further issues if not treated. The allergic reactions can appear in the form of bumps, rashes, and photosensitivity.

Negative Reactions to the Ink

Some tattooed people experience negative reactions to ink. Some reactions can include rashes, fevers, chills, redness or inflammation of the tattoo, or bumps.

Since tattoos breach the skin, some people can develop allergic reactions, skin infections or problems, bloodborne diseases, or MRI complications.

MRIs and Tattoos 

Tattoo inks typically contain small amounts of metal, and while some tattoos might not contain enough to interfere with MRI technology, it is still a possibility to consider before getting a new tattoo.

The skin in the area of a tattoo can potentially swell or burn due to the metals in tattoo ink.

Regret Your Existing Tattoo? Let Us Remove It!

Do you regret getting your tattoo or worry about the lasting effects the ink could have on your body? Rest assured that there are natural ways to remove ink from your body.

At Tatt2Away, we use the body’s natural healing process to extract the ink in your tattoo from your body, rather than pushing the ink further into your lymphatic system (like laser tattoo removal does). Book now, get a free quote, and start your tattoo removal journey today.

Tattoo Removal by Tatt2Away®

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