The Truth About Tattoo Ink

Updated on March 18, 2020
Tamara Koop profile image

I'm a college student studying Web Design, and an avid writer, reader, and artist.

In the early 90s, tattoos began to gain popularity. By 2003, approximately 36% of Americans under the age of 29 had them, and by now, in 2016, the number has surely risen. Tattoos are a part of life—so much so that they are generally accepted in the workplace and glorified on television. It's nothing for a person to get a new tattoo each month—it's as simple as a 5-minute visit to the tattoo shop. No one really gives any thought to what exactly is in the ink that's being injected as long as it doesn't cause any allergic reactions. No reaction must mean that it's safe, right? Not always.

Why Isn't Tattoo Ink Safe?

The US Food and Drug Department doesn't regulate tattoo inks, therefore, tattoo inks can include a number of dangerous chemicals. Most of the organic dyes that are often used for color haven't been deemed safe for use topically, but they're mixed into tattoo ink and inserted under the skin.

Some of the chemicals found in colored tattoo inks have been linked to cancer, and were originally intended to be used in printer inks and industrial paint.

Color Chemistry

Iron oxide, carbon, logwood extract
Brown Ochres
Iron oxide, clay
Cinnabar pigment, cadmium red pigment, iron oxide, napthol-AS pigment
Disazodiarylide, cadmium seleno-sufide
Flesh Ochres
Iron oxide, clay
Cadmium yellow ochre pigment, chrome yellow pigment, disazodiarylide
Chromium oxide, ferrocyanides, lead chromate, monoazo pigment, phthalocyanine
Azure blue pigment, cobalt blue pigment, cu-phthalocyanine
Aluminimum salts, quinacridone, dioxazine/carbazole
Lead carbonate, titanium dioxide, barium sulfate, zinc oxide

Carrier Solution

Carrier solution is a liquid solution that is used in tattoo inks for the longevity of the artwork. Carrier solutions alone might very well contain harmful substances like methanol, antifreeze, detergents, and formaldehyde.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)