The report calls for an in-depth review of tattoo inks used in the European Union. It also highlights the need to regulate inks that are used for permanent makeup. The organization requested the European Chemicals Agency to investigate tattoo ink safety after best tattoo numbing cream the report was published. ECHA stated that tattoo inks and permanent makeup (PMUs) could contain dangerous substances, such as substances that can cause cancer, genetic mutations or toxic effects on reproduction, allergies, or other adverse health effects.
These concerns are prompted by a rapid increase in tattoos. Harris Poll found that nearly one in three Americans have a tattoo. Inked tattoos were not common in the United States four years ago. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists and the National Tattoo Association, two trade associations in the tattoo industry, didn’t respond to our requests for comment. The FDA also expressed concern about tattoo ink.
The FDA announced last August a voluntary recall for A Thousand Virgins inks. They were found to have been contaminated with bacteria. White and Blue Lion, an additional company, had recalled inks and equipment for tattoos due to contamination. This could have led to sepsis, which can be fatal, the year before. There have been other recalls here and abroad in the past. However, the FDA claims it doesn’t know much about tattoo inks currently in use. The FDA has regulatory authority over tattoo inks because they are cosmetics. Lauren Sucher, spokeswoman for the agency, writes that it hasn’t been using this authority because of “other public health priorities” and “a previous lack of evidence to safety concerns.”
Sucher wrote that “The FDA cannot identify particular components of concern at the moment.” “The FDA is conducting research to improve our knowledge about tattoo inks, and the ingredients they contain.” Sucher declined the offer to comment on whether the FDA will test color additives in future. Sucher states that no color additives are approved for injection in decorative tattoos. “We investigate any safety concerns associated with cosmetics, including tattoo inks, and we take appropriate action.”
Some experts think that this is not enough. Charles Zwerling MD, chairman of American Academy of Micropigmentation, says, “The bottom line, they’re not doing what they should.” “Tattooink has very, very little regulation. It’s not possible to tell if the bottle is sterile. The European study found that between 5% and 10% of the bottles were infected by bacteria. This is pretty scary. Zwerling is a North Carolina-based ophthalmologist, who has written extensively about tattoos and permanent makeup for many years. This is something we know from medicine. This is not a new concept.
Red inks, according to Arisa Ortiz MD, director of laser- and cosmetic dermatology at the University of California San Diego. They can trigger allergic reactions as well as inflammatory reactions. She says that allergic reactions can occur with any color but red is the most common. One case involved severe fatigue and swelling in a patient who had a lip-line tattoo done. The lasers removed the tattoo, but her condition didn’t improve.
She says that tattoo inks can trigger systemic reactions in patients who are allergic to the dye. However, it is impossible to know if your allergic reaction to tattoo inks because they can develop many years later. Many people react to tattoo inks. The most common reactions are itching, irritation and swelling. Katy Burris MD is a dermatologist at Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY. Burris states that tattoo reactions are usually temporary and your immune system will eventually accept them. However, it could take several months for it to go away.
Although there is no evidence linking tattoo inks to cancer, concerns exist about carcinogens. Ortiz claims that she has witnessed skin cancers form shortly after tattooing. It’s amazing how fast it can happen, in just a few weeks. The European report authors consider it coincidence that skin cancers develop at tattoo sites. However, they believe that there is a connection that needs to be investigated further.