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What’s in Tattoo Ink?

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo, you should know what goes into the ink that’s going to be injected into your skin. Most tattoo pigments are made from metals, which makes them a potential source of skin infection and other injuries.

Free Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed a skin infection or other injury after getting a tattoo, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

Tattoo Ink Chemistry

What’s in tattoo ink? The short answer to this question is: You can’t be 100% sure. Manufacturers of inks and pigments are not required to reveal their contents, and these products are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). However, a fair amount is known about the general chemical composition of the following colors:

  • Red – Color most often reported to cause adverse reactions in a tattoo. Mercury is the base metal in red tattoo ink, and may cause reactions that appear years after the tattoo is placed due to exposure with cross reactants. These include chemicals such as thimerasol (a preservative), mercurochrome and certain vaccines.
  • Black – Most commonly derived from carbon, which rarely causes sensitivity. However, other sources of black tattoo color include black ink and logwood, which may include phenol solution and charcoal particles that could cause an adverse reaction.
  • Yellow – Achieved from cadmium sulfide, which is a common source of reactions within tattoos. Not only may yellow tattoo ink produce local or generalized eczematous reactions; it has also been linked to phototoxic reactions when exposed to sunlight.
  • Blue – Derived from cobalt salts, which are notorious for causing granulomas, localized hypersensitivity reactions and uveitis (inflammation of the eyes). Blue tattoo pigment is referred as cobalt blue or cobaltous aluminate.
  • Green – Comes from chromium oxide and is a common source of localized and generalized eczematous reactions. Chromium may be referred to as Chrome Green, Casalic Green or Guignet’s Green. These variations can all cause long-term itching and other adverse reactions that could require tattoo removal.
  • Purple – Made from manganese metal, which has been associated with tattoo granulomas.
  • Brown – Made from either Venetian Red, which is derived from ferric oxide, or from cadmium salts, both of which can cause phototoxic swelling when exposed to sunlight.
  • White – Achieved through the use of titanium, zinc oxide or lead carbonates, all of which may contain metallic derivatives.

Tattoo Dye Skin Reaction Study

A recent study published in the journal Dermatology looked at 280 people who suffered some kind of adverse reaction after getting tattoos, and found that 83% involved colored ink, and were more common on the extremities of the body than the trunk. According to the study, the skin reacts differently because colored dyes are made from different compounds. The researchers also noted that substances in the ink may react with sunlight, which is why reactions are less common on parts of the body that are usually covered by clothing.

The study’s author cautioned that no tattoo is completely safe: “Tattoos injure the skin, which may allow microorganisms to enter the body,” said lead researcher Wolfgang Bäumler, PhD, a professor of dermatology at University of Regensburg in Germany.

Do I Have a Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

Free Tattoo Skin Infection Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one developed a skin infection or other injury after getting a tattoo, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Tattoo Skin Infection Suit and we can help.

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