Tattooing in Full Color

Tattooing in Full Color

Tattooing is everywhere, in every culture, and in every country. Tattooing has been around for over 5300 years. Through the evolution of tattooing they have become more detailed and are available in more colors than ever before. Ever wonder where the colors come from?  Let’s find out.

Inks and Pigments, whether generated Organically or Inorganically, all start out as a solid, ground down to powder, then blended or suspended into a carrier solution. These solutions are made from either alcohol, glycerin, sterilized water, formaldehyde, antifreeze, or other toxic substances. The powder is then mixed in the carrier solution and is stabilized as a liquid.  This liquid becomes the colorant used in the tattooing process. It is important to note that 95% of inks/pigments use both organic and inorganic materials in their production.

Lakes or Organic inks/pigments are not what you would think of as Organic or “Natural”. These inks/pigments are synthetically generated, brightly colored, and many have been created using a plastic-base. This plastic-base is the same that you find as a main ingredient in things such as bicycle helmets, golf club heads, and Legos. Many of them contain toxins such as plastics, metal salts, and tars. Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens. (Church)

Iron Oxides or Inorganic inks/pigments are mineral based and they are colors you would generally find in nature, because they are generated from natural minerals. Some of these may contain trace amounts of toxins that exist in nature such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. Synthetic Oxides specifically process the inks/pigments in attempt to eliminates most toxins.

Many of these inks/pigments, both Organic and Inorganic, are created using various sized molecules, which fade at different rates. This leads to color changing in the residual inks/pigments. When specifically addressing PMU and eyebrows, the ink/pigment fading may result in the peachy, green, blue, or purple eyebrows.  

Now that you know what inks/pigment are generated from, when you are considering your next tattoo or permanent makeup service consider more than your artist, consider the ink/pigment. Ask your artist to see their MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) and specifically ask what type of ink/pigment they are going to be implanting into your skin.  After all considerations, ask yourself if the ink/pigment may be safe or just completely toxic.

 Want to learn more about Ink and Pigment? Click below 

Tattoo Ink Chemistry, What Are the Ingredients in Tattoo Ink?

 Organic vs. Inorganic Pigments for Permanent Cosmetic Makeup & Tattooing

 Going Skin Deep: The Culture and Chemistry of Tattoos

Organic Pigments in Permanent Makeup


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