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Are There Guidelines for Types of Ink Used for Tattoos?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 19 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Are There Guidelines For Types Of Ink Used For Tattoos?

Q.

Are there any guidelines that state what type of ink can be used for tattoos, e.g uv ink, henna, permanent make up? Does it have to be sterile?

(Mrs Sue Boston, 25 November 2008)

A.

Actually, it may surprise you to know that there are no specific regulations covering inks used for tattoos in the UK. There have been some issues recently, with a study being published which indicated that some popular tattoo inks contain toxic heavy metals at dangerously high levels. Potentially, this could cause nerve disorders, or blood poisoning.

Some of the inks were found to contain traces of nickel and copper, while others contained chemicals such as lithium and lead.

Tattoo inks have also been associated in the past with allergic reactions. It's possible to get some hypo-allergenic tattoo pigments, although nobody has yet managed to come up with a way of making a red ink that's hypo-allergenic yet. Inks can be water or alcohol based. and many tattoo artists prefer to use alcohol based pigments for a purer colour.

Henna tattoos should be made from the leaves of the lawsonia inermis plant, and should give a brown, green or red result. Most henna tattoos are harmless and don't last for very long, but natural henna can be adulterated with other substances. To make the shades more intense, some artists add a substance used in hair dye to the henna, which turns it black. This obviously causes problems if a client is allergic to hair dye.

The offending chemical, which is called Para-Phenylene Diamine (PPD), can cause swelling and irritation to the skin, and in some cases lead to hyper-sensitivity to the chemical, which is also used to dye some clothes. If you have sensitive skin, a henna tattoo is probably best avoided.

All equipment that's used in a tattoo parlour must be sterile though. If you are deciding where to have your tattoo inked, always opt for a reputable studio which is willing to show you it's credentials - all tattoo parlours must be registered with the local authority, and should be regularly checked by officers to make sure that the staff are complying with health and safety law. Before you commit yourself, take a look around at the studio and make sure that there is an autoclave and a sharps container for used needles.

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I am at present going through the same as angboo. I had my eyebrows tattooed and was given a date to return for touch up and to have top eye liner tattooed on. Was'nt too impressed with eyebrows as they were different so was looking forward to having them corrected. After completing eyebrows she proceeded to start on eyelids. She had put numbing gel on and told me not to open my eyes as it would sting. Too late, I had not opened my eye but gel must have seeped in and stinging had begun. Ihad showed her a picture of what i wanted and she said she would just do basic line with a little kick up at the end of lid. When she showed me i pointed out to her that she had gone further towards the corner of my eye on one eye than the other could she match the other eye, she did. Did not give me a 2nd appointment for retouch told me to ring in 4 weeks for it. Later that afternoon my eye started burning, by 9pm i was in agony and my eye was swollen and inflamed, Ended up in a&e and was screaming out loud for pain relief. they numbed my eye in waiting area to help me. Dr said bad burns to eye, called for eye specialist. He said eye was badly scratched, gave me anti bioctic ointment and some eye drops. Pain was unbelievable for the next 24hrs, then started to ease. Dr said it was either allergic reaction to the gel that got in my eye or ink. I rang the technician 3 days later to tell her i had a reaction, no answer. She returned my called with a text showing a grusome photo of her sons arm after an accident saying he was in hospital. I told her i would called her in a few weeks when hopefully her son was well. Well after 3 weeks i started to phone text leave voice mails but still have not had a response. I have told her in my last call that i am upset and disappointed and realise she has done this before, I told her the infect drew out the ink so one eye has no line on lid just a blob at the end and i noticed because the corner if my eye keeps getting sore that the tattoo has gone into the corner of my eye and it was proberly the ink that caused the pain and suffering. I will get a full report. I cannot believe that this woman took my money and she charged permiem rates and will not either correct her bad work or refund me to go else where. What hurts most is she knows I am end stage of a progressive illness and as she knows oxegen dependent and this make up was a treat from my husband to pick up up a little bit, I now have a permanent sore eye, eyeliner on one lid, two completely different end kicks and no money to go else where, not fair is it?
jacjacxxxx - 19-Jun-17 @ 11:58 PM
angboo - Your Question:
Seeking advice regarding my recent SPMU eyeliner treatment. I'm really disappointed and depressed by the results of this. I suffered several days with badly swollen eyes and an eye infection. The ink on one of my eyes has leaked into the tissues under my eye and I have what looks like a bruise. I am also really unhappy with the overall results. I asked for subtle and natural looking liner and have neither subtle or natural it's quite thick and heavy. I have tried to call and email my therapist but she's not responding. The therapist I went to works from her home salon and advertises as fully trained and insured. Is there anything I can do to get my eyeliner corrected? This treatment was intended to boost my confidence but has now made me feel totally miserable.

Our Response:
You may need to seek legal advice on this, especially if you are getting no response. Please also see your GP to make sure there are no other lasting effects.
BeautyTreatmentExpert - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:12 AM
Seeking advice regarding my recent SPMU eyeliner treatment. I'm really disappointed and depressed by the results of this. I suffered several days with badly swollen eyes and an eye infection. The ink on one of my eyes has leaked into the tissues under my eye and I have what looks like a bruise. I am also really unhappy with the overall results. I asked for subtle and natural looking liner and have neither subtle or natural it's quite thick and heavy.I have tried to call and email my therapist but she's not responding. The therapist I went to works from her home salon and advertises as fully trained and insured. Is there anything I can do to get my eyeliner corrected? This treatment was intended to boost my confidence but has now made me feel totally miserable.
angboo - 21-Feb-17 @ 9:43 AM
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