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Tattoo ink evolution: why modern pigments are safer


Tattoo enthusiasts have long been concerned about the safety of tattoo inks. Traditionally, some inks were believed to contain harmful ingredients, such as heavy metals and carcinogens, which can cause serious health issues if not properly monitored.

Fortunately, modern ink technology has revolutionised the industry by providing a safer and more satisfying experience for both artists and clients. In this blog post, we'll cover the benefits of modern pigments and discuss how they've made tattooing safer. Shop our range of coloured and black tattoo inks online today!

Understanding tattoo ink ingredients

Tattoo inks are made with a variety of ingredients, which contribute to their colour, consistency, and longevity in the skin. Commonly, inks contain a mixture of pigments, binders, liquid carriers, and additives.

Pigments provide the actual colour, while binders and carriers help keep the pigment suspended in solution and distribute the ink evenly during the tattooing process. Additives may be added to enhance the ink's properties, such as viscosity.


Tattoo ink bottles


Certain tattoo ink pigments and additives can contain harmful substances like heavy metals, toxic chemicals, or potential allergens. These ingredients may increase the risk of adverse reactions, such as allergic reactions, inflammation, or even long-term health implications.

Understanding the composition of tattoo ink ingredients is vital for both tattoo artists and clients to make informed decisions and prioritise safety during the tattooing process.

Tattoo ink brands provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on their websites to inform the public of the safety and suitability of their products.

The emergence of modern tattoo pigments

With advancements in scientific research, tattoo artists, ink manufacturers, and regulatory bodies have recognised the potential risks associated with some traditional tattoo inks. The emergence of new professional tattoo inks has brought about a new era of safety in the tattoo industry.

Most modern pigments and inks are vegan and use a combination of organic compounds and synthetic dyes. Additionally, they provide a more vibrant colour range and allow for an easier laser tattoo removal process, if desired. Some of the most popular vegan tattoo ink brands include Radiant Colors, World Famous, and Eternal Ink.


World Famous tattoo ink bottles


Although modern vegan inks are generally regarded as non-toxic, it is important to note that allergic reactions are still a possibility. Tattoo artists play a key role in ensuring the safety of their clients and should always seek out knowledge on the latest tattoo inks.

Industry standards for tattoo ink manufacturers

As the demand for safer tattoo inks has grown, industry standards for tattoo ink manufacturers have become increasingly stringent. Regulatory bodies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), have played a pivotal role in setting and enforcing these standards.

Tattoo ink manufacturers are now required to adhere to strict guidelines regarding ingredient safety, manufacturing processes, labelling, and packaging. These standards ensure that tattoo inks are formulated without toxic substances and that they undergo rigorous testing for quality and sterility.


Tattoo artist holding tattoo ink bottles


Is modern tattoo ink safe?

Most tattoo inks today are significantly safer than their traditional counterparts. With the emergence of organic pigments, strict industry standards, and improved manufacturing processes, today's tattoo inks are of a much higher quality than ever before.

As with any medical procedure, artists should ensure they are choosing high-quality equipment, while clients should always go to a reputable and certified artist who takes the necessary safety precautions during the tattooing process.


Other helpful articles

Top tattoo ink brands—which tattoo ink should you choose?

Eternal Ink and other non-toxic tattoo inks

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  • Sarah Crookes