21 Harmful Chemicals in Tattoo Ink – Compound – Cautions

This article will talk about the harmful chemicals in tattoo ink and also its bad effects. Tattoo itself is an artistic activity that a person undertakes to express himself in a permanent painting on the surface of his body. Tattoos are also used as a way to show one’s identity. Not everyone can have a tattoo because in some religions there is a banned rules. Tattoo trend began to increase since the early 1990s.

In 2003 it was estimated that 36% of young adults aged 25 to 29 years in the United States had at least one tattoo on his body. This activity is done with a needle and thrust the ink will flow out of the pin. The needle was stabbed repeatedly like a sewing machine to follow the desired pattern. Tattoo ink will be embedded permanently and tanning to produce an image. This act practice of tattooing has become mainstream.

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Thus, here are the harmful chemicals in tattoo ink:

Apparently a lot of harmful content for the body in tattoo ink.One of the most need to be noticed is the long-term effects of the tattoo ink can damage the immune system and other health complications. Not all tattoo inks have the same ingredients contained in it, this is because manufacturers are reluctant to divulge their pigment ink because it is considered a trade secret. Some specific tattoo inks contain toxins.

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Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) in 2012 found that many tattoo inks contain carcinogenic compounds, substances that are harmful to the body and health. Pigment professional tattoo ink can be made from plants, plastic, iron oxide, or metal salts. Homemade home made tattoos can be made from soot, herbs. ink pen, blood or other materials.

In his research, European Society on Tattoo and Pigment Research (ESTPR) find, there is the content of some elements such as barium, copper, mercury and other unsafe components in tattoo ink. Some of the elements that are known to be inside the tattoo ink include:

Organic chemicals

Here are the organic chemicals in tattoo ink:

  1. Azo Chemicals : Azodyes or Azo Dyes is one of the main dye types used by the textile industry
  2. Chemicals derived from Naptha
  3. Polycyclic compounds.
  4. Carbon: (C) Carbon is also found in many compounds including carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and dissolved in the oceans and other major bodies of water.

Heavy metal

Here are the heavy and harmful chemicals in tattoo ink:

  1. Mercury : (Hg) is one type of metal that is widely found in nature and is scattered in rocks, minerals, soil, water and air as inorganic and organic compounds.
  2. Aluminium : (Al) is a silver-white and light-weight metal
  3. Barium: Barium is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ba and atomic number 56
  4. Cadmium: Cadmium is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Cd and atomic number 48.
  5. Chromium: Chromium is a chemical element in the periodic table that has Cr emblem and atomic number 24
  6. Nickel: Nickel is a metallic chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ni and atomic number 28. Nickel has stainless properties.

Metal oxides

Here are the metal oxides in tattoo ink:

  1. Ferrocyanide : One of a series of double iron cyanide iron complex and some other base. Potassium ferrocyanide (Chemical), prussiate yellow potassium; tough, yellow, crystal salts, K4 (CN) 6Fe, a starting point in the manufacture of almost all cyanogen compounds, and iron ferrocyanate base, Prussian blue.
  2. Ferricyanide: It is soluble in water and the solution shows some green-yellow fluorescence. the symbol is [Fe(CN)6]3− .   

Common ingredients contained in colored tattoo inks

Here are the common harmful chemicals in tattoo ink:

  1. Black: nickel, iron, carbon like soot or ash, black henna
  2. Yellow: lead, cadmium, zinc, ferocyanide, ferricyanide, chemicals Azo
  3. Green: lead, chromium, aluminum, copper, ferocyanide, ferricyanide, chemicals Azo
  4. Blue: cobalt, copper, ferocyanide, ferricyanide
  5. Violet: aluminum, azo chemicals
  6. Red: mercury, cadmium, iron, ferocyanide, ferricyanide, chemicals derived from Naptha
  7. Orange: cadmium, Azo chemicals
  8. Brown: iron, azo chemicals
  9. White: lead, zinc, titanium, barium.

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Hazards and risks associated with tattoos

As there are many harmful chemicals in tattoo ink, here are the explanations of risk of tattoes:

1. Health cases due to tattoos

A new study conducted to examine more about the dangers of tattoos. This is encouraged by the emergence of new cases where a person who has a tattoo has blistered or peeling skin. Researchers reveal, if the tattoo changes the way you sweat. This new study shows, the tattooed skin produces less sweat, and secretes higher sodium.

Scientists from Alma College, Michigan, collecting samples from 10 people who sweats, which in the body there is a circular tattoo with the smallest size 5.2 Cm. The sweat on the skin with tattoos also have a higher sodium concentrations. Researcher Maurie Luetkemeier warns that, not producing enough sweat can cause people with overheated tattoos.

Some time ago there was a case in Bali where a foreign tourist claimed to be infected with HIV / AIDS after tattooing himself. The high interest to get a tattoo services via syringe or just piercing make this sort of service are easily found in every corner of Bali.

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2. Infection

The process of making tattoos is done with care and sterile but by case there is also done with no sterile. Also, the process of a sterile tattoo have high risks to HIV infection (human immunodeficiency virus) and hepatitis C. Hepatitis C infection can cause cirrhosis or liver stiffness and continue to be cancer.

Reportedly one result of tattooing occurred in New York in 2012 that is microbial infection Mycobacterium chelonae. The cause of this infection is the use of contaminated gray tattoo ink. These infections are mentioned very rarely. However, if the tattoo has swelling, redness or inflammation immediately contact your nearest doctor.

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3. Allergy

When you first make a tattoo may not arise allergic reactions. But that does not mean the concerned is completely safe, because it could have an allergic reaction appeared in the next tattoo. Allergies because of tattoos mostly happen in the second tattoo, third and so on. Or from the same tattoo but emerged a few months later.

Tattoo ink can cause an allergic skin reaction, such as an itchy rash at a tattoo location. Someone does not know if they are allergic to tattoo ink or not, until the tattoo is done. The most reported tattoo ink causes allergic reactions to be red, yellow and white. Allergies due to tattoos can usually be overcome with steroid injections. But there are also cases where the skin in the area affected by tattoo allergy should be removed surgically.

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4. Pain and soreness

Soreness or pain is the first effect felt when tattooed. The one that appears can vary depending on which body parts are being tattooed, ranging from like scratches or needles like carved with nails. Some feel strong pain, but others feel mild pain.

5. Dirty Tools

The rash and infection of the tattoo is very often caused by the use of unsanitary equipment. It’s important to pay attention to the use of this tool, considering the tattoo process will demand our skin to make direct contact with the tool. Well, when the equipment is not clean, then germs and bacteria have a chance to enter and grow in our skin. This is what then triggered the emergence of infection in the skin area that has a tattoo.

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The symptoms of the disease become obscured

Symptoms of skin disease would be masked because covered with tattoos; it makes it difficult to detect a skin disease. For example, one cannot see the symptoms of melanoma due to obscure or covered by tattoos. This includes the danger of tattoos that must be wary of the rajah fans. As is known, some skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma can often be detected from the changing surface texture of the skin. Well, making tattoos often disguise the texture changes on the surface of the skin.

A report states that in 2013 melanoma cancer in a man is detected when the man removes the tattoo with a laser. Whereas previously no one was aware of the symptoms of cancer was because disguised by a black tattoo.

1. Skin infections

According to experts, infections that often occur due to tattoos are staphylococcus aureus or the emergence of pseudomonas bacteria. These infections can be very dangerous and life threatening. Because tattoos direct contact with the skin, which injure the skin, the skin infection is likely to occur, even with the use of sterile needles. Symptoms of infection that can occur include a red rash, swelling and pain.

A study of 2015 from Tulane University found that 3 percent of tattoo users have been infected. A total of 22 percent of participants in the study admitted to feeling pain for a month after getting tattooed.

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2. Other skin problems

Occasionally there is a lump called granuloma (nodule) around the tattoo ink. Tattoos can also cause keloids due to excessive scar tissue growth as a result of tattooing. This happens because the body’s natural immune system restrained foreign substances (ink) to form lumps or small knots around the tattoo.

3. Sunburn

Some types of tattoo ink contain cadmium. The content of cadmium may increase the risk of sunburn due to sun exposure. And the most reported cause of skin reactions exposed to sunlight is yellow, black, red and blue ink.

4. The disease is transmitted through the blood

If the equipment used to make the tattoo has been contaminated with the infected blood (usually the blood of the previously tattooed person), then the disease can infect you. Examples such as tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. This is usually the result of repeated needle use. Studies reported in Hepatology say, tattoos can cause HCV or hepatitis C virus, although the user does not have the risk of the virus.

5. The reaction of electric ions

Based on one report in 2011, a professional football player suffered burns while performing MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. The burn was found on a black tattoo on his body. The report also states that, tattoo inks containing iron oxide due to the electric current generate the burn. In addition to black, red tattoo inks are also reportedly contain iron. Owner of the tattoo in black and red is recommended for to be careful.

6. Complications of MRI

Although rare, tattoos can cause swelling or burns in affected areas during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination. This is because some tattoo inks contain iron oxide, which can become hot due to MRI scanning process. And in some cases, tattoo pigments may impair MRI image quality.

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The cost of removing tattoos

You can always remove tattoos with medical help, but do not expect more because basically tattoos are usually permanent. So the skin will not be back to normal. The process of tattoo removal conventionally such as skin abrasion and dermabrasion will leave the scar tissue that is not eye-catching. While tattoo removal with laser technique would be costly and time are not small although the result was better.

After we know so much the effects and danger of tattooing, then we need to be careful in determining whether we really need a tattoo. Tattoos are a big commitment, to delete them is not an easy matter and costly enough. Stages of removal also require more than one stage. This article has educated about harmful substances in tattoo ink. It also provides education due to the danger that can occur due to these substances. Hopefully this article can make the reader wiser in making decisions about harmful chemicals in tattoo ink.

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