In simple terms, tattoo ink is the substance used to give colors to the designs. It could be simply a black line drawing, or a design having several colors. The ink is injected into the derm where the color stays. Tattoo inks are meant to be permanent, however, the color is prone to a bit of fading over the period of time since our immune system tries to break down the foreign substance and take it out of our system. Most of the pigment molecules are too large for the white cells to break up, and thatís why, most of the coloring remains unless you want to have it removed in future. Tattoo Ink should not be confused with other types of inks because it is made specifically to color tattoos. Tattoo ink usually comprise of two basic components; pigments and carriers.
Primitive Tattoo Inks
Egyptians in 1800s used to use tattoo inks made out of soot and breast milk. The tattoo artist then used to pierce the skin wit needles, giving the skin design and formations and simultaneously rubbed this ink on to the fresh tattoo wounds. Romans on the other hand used the bark of Egyptian pine tree as a main component for their tattoo inks. This bark was mixed with bronze, iron sulphate and egg deposits from insects to make a thick mixture, which was then mixed with leek juice and water to give it right density for a tattoo ink.
Maoris from New Zealand were famous for their long history of tattooing. They used to indulge in the complicated process of making facial tattoos, known at the times as moko. Their ink was made out of soot; whereas Japanese were famous to use pigments of charcoal, which produced a dark black ink, for their tattooing ink.
Pigments can be anything which is finely ground to provide color. Some of the pigments that are used to make tattoo inks are minerals, vegetable dyes, plastics, and metallic salts. Sometimes many substances can be used to make the same color. Some colors and pigment used to make them are: Blue - Calcium Copper Silicate; Red - Iron Oxide; Green - Chromium Oxide; Yellow - Curcuma; Black - Carbon, and White - Zinc Oxide.
Carriers are liquids which deliver the pigments under the skin. The carriers of good quality distribute the pigment equally, avoiding clumping together. They also offer a bit of disinfecting action. Some of the frequently used liquid carriers are: Listerine, Witch Hazel, Purified Water, Propylene Glycol, Vodka and Glycerine.
Adverse Effects of Tattoo Inks
Although some modern inks are said to be 100% safe, it is partially true. As there are some common risks associated with tattoo pigments, such as, allergic reactions, scarring, phototoxic reactions (reaction from exposure to sunlight) and other several adverse effects. The plastic-based pigments are many times have been reported to cause reactions. These pigments are undoubtedly risky, though some may be safe, but most of them are radioactive or otherwise toxic.
It has much recently been found out that unsterile ink can cause infections. This happens basically because of the use of unsterile water in the inks.
Use Of Alcohol In Tattoo Inks
If alcohol is used in the ink to disinfect the skin's surface, it allows more chemicals to cross into the bloodstream than any ordinarily ink would. It is also known that alcohol is a promoter. Thus, it means alcohol works synergistically with mutagens, teratogens, and carcinogens, making them more harmful than they themselves would be. If any of these substances are present in the ink, alcohol along with them will increase the chance of mutation or disease, not only at the part where the tattoo is designed, but all over the body.
Proper Knowledge Is Required
Medical-grade chemicals used in the tattoo inks are safe and are specially made for medical uses. To avoid side effects of tattoo inks, it is must that the person who mixes the ink should know proper sterilization techniques, such as, how to perform heat-sterilization and cold-sterilization? He must have proper knowledge of the sterilization needs of different materials. It is advised by the experts that dry or mixed pigments should never be heat sterilized, as heat can cause chemical changes in the pigment molecules. Sometimes heating can also produce toxic substances.
However, after the researches, it has been said that ethyl alcohol, in the form of vodka, is the safest carrier for the pigments. Propylene glycol helps to keep the pigment in solution. You can find medical grade propylene glycol and glycerin at pharmacies, feed supply stores, and stores which supplies for soap making or herbal medicine preparation. After going through this article, you can prepare yourself to ask the tattoo professional the questions about ensuring the safest tattooing.