What’s In Tattoo Ink?
Most of tattoo pigments come from metals. This makes them a likely source for producing a skin reaction. Some pigments do have non-metallic selections for those who have concerns or a past history of allergic reactions to these mixtures.
Red is the color most frequently related with reactions. Mercury is the base metal in red tattoo coloring. It may be recognized by the names mercury sulphide, cinnabar, vermillion and red cinnabar.
Black is most commonly obtained from carbon. Sensitivity to carbon is abnormal. Other sources of black tattoo color may be found in black ink and logwood. Neither of these are metal extractions, however, the black waterproof ink contains phenol solution in which charcoal particles are suspended and may be the source of other reactions.
Yellow is obtained from the use of Cadmium and is a common cause of reactions in tattoos. Not only may cadmium produce local or generalized eczematous reactions; it has also been associated with photo toxic reactions when exposed to light. Cadmium sulfide is the most common material used in yellow tattoo ink.
Blue pigments come from a variety of Cobalt salts and is well-known for deep granulomas as well as causing localized hypersensitivity reactions and a few reported cases of inflammation of the eyes
Light blue colors also come from cobalt and may again cause granulomas. Watch for the names cobalt blue and cobaltous aluminate that are terms for this blue pigment.
Green comes from Chromium and is a common cause of eczematous reactions both within the tattoo, as well as generalized eczematous reactions on the body. Chromium oxide has a variety of names including Chrome green, Casalic green and Guignet’’s green. These variations while mixed in different suspensions may all cause such significant and long term itching and other
eczematous reactions that complete removal of the tattoo may be required. The allergic reaction may arise several years after the tattoo has been placed. Other shades of green such as emerald green are formed from another type of chromium salt called chromium sesquioxide (aka veridan) or copper salt derivatives.
Purple & Violet comes from the metal Manganese which may cause the arrangement of tattoo granulomas.
Brown pigments may be formed by the use of either Venetian Red which comes from Ferric Oxide or from Cadmium salts, associated with photo toxic swelling upon exposure sunlight.