Tattoo Ink: Friend or Foe?
According to a recent survey, one out of every 4 Americans has a tattoo. This number is only expected to rise as self- expression, in the form of body art, becomes more mainstream. As many tattoo enthusiasts and artists strive to out-do other works of art, the risks of carcinogens in the body increases.
As tattoos continue to become a cultural norm, we are learning more about what is actually in the ink used to tattoo. Many consumers are not aware of the fact that tattoo ink pigments are not regulated or approved by the FDA for injection into the skin. This issue has been under the radar until recently when the FDA began to see an increase in the number of consumer health complaints. Complaints include negative reactions to tattoo ink such as itchy, inflamed, swollen, peeling, cracking and/or blistering skin, fatigue and unexplained illness.
Are Tattoos Dangerous
There are some dangerous colors out there. Red has been reported the most dangerous, Explains Dr. Mundt of Delete Tattoo Removal & Laser Salon, “They [tattoo parlors] want the ink to last longer and look good, so they put things in them like plasticizers, polymers, and heavy metals to make them brighter.”
The FDA is currently conducting research on the chemical composition of inks and their long-term effects. However, this may be a daunting task since most of these inks are not being directly sold to consumers; their active ingredients are not clearly listed. Mundt suggests asking to see the actual tattoo ink bottles to see what ingredients are listed.
To avoid health issues and complications, those looking to be inked should do their research and ask what types of ink tattoo parlors are using. Also, ask for ink that are vegetable or organic based.
For those who are already tattooed and are looking to remove the danger of toxic inks, laser tattoo removal is the optimal solution. Laser tattoo removal directly targets the tattoo pigment with short bursts of high-intensity light but spares surrounding tissue. Depending on the size of your tattoo, treatments are about 10-30 minutes every 4-6 weeks. On average, it takes about 10 treatments to fully remove a tattoo.
For more information about the dangers of tattoo inks watch the interview with Dr. Mundt on AZ Family.