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What is Tattoo Ink Made of?

Almost everyone who gets a tattoo wonder at some point what tattoo ink is composed of that it can leave a very permanent mark on the skin. More importantly, especially for first-time tattoo-getters, is tattoo ink made of safe non-toxic ingredients?

Tattoo Ink Ingredients

What goes into your tattoo ink depends on the pigment of your chosen tattoo design. But as a basic rule of thumb, a tattoo is made of a colorant and a carrier. There are over 200 colorants and additives that are used to produce tattoo ink colors. The most commonly used ones are derived from carbon, iron oxide, cadmium, titanium dioxide, and heavy metals like antimony, beryllium, lead, cobalt-nickel, chromium, and arsenic.

Meanwhile, the carrier component commonly used in tattoo inks are glycerin, water, isopropyl alcohol, and witch hazel. These fluids transport the colorants to the injection site to ink the skin.

Tattoo Ink Safety

Generally, the ingredients used in tattoo ink are completely safe for cosmetic use. However, some people may be allergic to certain ingredients present in the tattoo ink. To avoid experiencing an allergic reaction with your tattoo, here’s what you can do:

1. Ask your tattoo artist. Tattoo shops are not required to disclose the ingredients of their tattoo ink but for your peace of mind, you may ask your tattoo artist about it.

2. Request for a skin test. Ask your artist to perform a skin test on you for each of the pigments that will be used in your tattoo. This way, you can make sure it won’t cause you allergies.

3. Do a background check on your tattoo provider. The reviews people have on a tattoo shop are crucial to proving their credibility in tattoo service. Go for tattoo artists recommended by your friends or are reputable.

Your safety in getting a tattoo is not only dependent on the type of tattoo ink that will be used. The expertise and hygiene practice of your tattoo artist all contribute to your safety too. Make sure to get a tattoo only from credible tattoo shops that can guarantee you a safe and quality experience.


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