Pigments, Organic vs Inorganic

As artists, we want a rich colored pigment that heals to the tone we formulate and will have lasting, beautiful results. Through the process of discovering a great pigment we can depend on, some of us may get caught up on thinking pigment is pigment, right?

Actually, pigment is formed in many ways, with different origins, different suspensions, different binders, and different quality products. So, all pigments are not necessarily the same.


Pigments all start out the same, a raw material, ground down to a very fine powder. That powder is then blended in a liquid or suspension and a binder is added.  This process stabilizes the pigment or ink as a usable product. That ink is then ready for final processing, packaging, shipping, and use.


The question is posed, how are pigments derived? What raw materials are used to generate that raw pigment and are they considered Organic or Inorganic. Pigments are derived from raw materials found in the earth, either a carbon base or a metal oxide / mineral base, and depending on which one, they are then categorized as Organic or Inorganic. 

 


Organic or Lakes pigments are actually derived mainly with a carbon base and may use metal salts and plastics in their compounding.  These are more vibrant and rich. During the color production, chemical compounds can be added to stabilize the pigments.

Some of the same compounds found in Organic pigments are also used in various plastic items, such as Legos, bicycle helmets, and golf club heads. Many of these pigments contain a smaller molecular structure, creating issues with longevity in the skin, and many of them contain known carcinogens.


Inorganic or Iron Oxide pigments are derived from mineral compounds taken from the earth; specifically metal oxides or other naturally occurring ingredients. They are more earthy toned, less rich or vibrantly colored, and less concentrated than their counterparts.

During the color production, specific chemical compositions are used to create colors in the Inorganic compounds.  These pigments have a larger molecular structure which is more stable, has more longevity in the skin, and is a safer product.


As an artist in the PMU industry, it is important to know and use quality products that you can stand behind. Using a pigment that has been carefully created by implementing the safest compounds, ingredients, and processes, will give you peace of mind and integrity in your services.

 


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