Tattoo Ink Poisoning

Tattoo Ink Poisoning: Everything You Need to Know

Tattooing has become a trendy culture among very many people across the world. However, it has some of its challenges like tattoo ink poisoning that is giving so many addicts sleepless nights.

 No matter the sophistication in the tattoo industry, there are still so many people who are still going for body inking across the world.

Most of the tattoo addicts believe that the poison from the tattoo ink will never reach the bloodstream. However, they blame the bad reaction to occur as a result of an infection that is triggered by poor hygiene.

To best honest, that tattoo design may or may not come up as you initially expected due to tattoo ink rejection symptoms. The reaction can make your skin to appear in a way that is not appealing.

This is the reason I always recommend you visit a professional tattooist who has a lot of experience and reputation. You will be able to know if your skin can create a great canvas of tattoo art or not.

If you are still reading this post that is great. Let’s continue. According to research, tattoo ink can be the reason behind the bad reaction because of its components.

The world health report in Europe requested for a thorough review of tattoo inks that are mostly imported to the U.S.  This should not make you to panic but gain awareness about the type of products you are using.

This has also raised concern from the FDA consumer update about the safety of the tattoo inks and its ingredient. FDA consumer report blames the regular research to be behind the toxicity of the ink.

What Is Tattoo Ink Poisoning?

Let us begin by saying ink poisoning has nothing to do with infection. It does not even associate with the dirty needles and other tattoo equipment that are not sterilized.

Well, ink poisoning is all about the ingredients of the tattoo ink that you have been dreaming about in all your life.

According to various arguments from tattoo pundits, most of them tend to believe that ink poisoning does not reach the bloodstream. So they believe being poisoned by tattoo ink is very impossible.

Well, let me shed light on ink poisoning. According to the research done by the European synchrotron radiation facility, most of the tattoo inks were found to contain elements that can leach into the bloodstream.

Tattoo ink contain elements that are popularly known to be toxic such as nickel, chromium, manganese, and cobalt or lead. These elements are oxidative stress and they are the reason behind inflammation on tattoos.

In simple terms, these elements tend to damage skin cells or major tissues in the body and they can also cause cancer.

It is the reason why in 2005 a judge in the U.S commanded all reputable tattoo manufacturers to put a label of warning on their products. The decision was based on California’s Proposition 65.

Tattoo Ink Poisoning Symptoms

Majority of tattoo ink rejection symptoms are quite similar to those of allergic reactions. This is the reason why in the recent rules and regulations in the tattoo industry you need to go for an allergy test first.

However, most of the tattoo specialists ignore the fact. Instead, they will swab a test with ink under your arm in order to confirm if your skin will react with the ink color of your choice.

In case you happen to be allergic to the ink color, the reaction will occur within some few minutes. This will imply that your skin has rejected the ink color and you will be expected to have a less colored tattoo.

Different ink colors will result in different ink poisoning symptoms. Majority of people tend to experience vomiting and nausea after ingesting the ink through their bloodstream.

You should note that printer ink can result in severe headaches and a damaged nervous system. You need to be extra careful on which type of ink you are using. This will do you good in the long run.

However, it is usually difficult to identify symptoms brought about by tattoo ink. Poisoning from tattoo ink can be mistaken to be an infection. The common symptoms tend to be swelling, pain and tattoo rash.

Almost all types of tattoo inks contain titanium oxide which helps in a lightening of the tattoo. However, it can also cause inflammation and prolong the healing process.

Moreover, it can trigger some sort of itchiness and development of tiny red bumps around the tattoo. The itchiness can result in the appearance of white tattoos. Dryness and flaking happen to be other common symptoms of ink poisoning.

What to Do If You Think You Have Tattoo Ink Poisoning

Can you die from ink poisoning from a tattoo? Well, this is the weirdest question I ever got from one of the previous customers. It is indeed a very intimidating question to answer. Let’s continue anyway.

I recommend you visit your doctor immediately once you notice the tattoo ink has poisoned your body. You can also inform your tattooist in order to identify the ink used and stop using it again to other customers.

You take note of the ink brand name, ingredients, and color in order to counter check what could be the cause. This will help you to be extra careful in the future when you think about going for another tattoo design.

Fortunately, ink poisoning usually presents itself as minor inflammation that can be treated at home by having adequate rest, applying ice and elevation.

You can also go for over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs that are typically known to be effective in the first 24 hours after getting a brand new tattoo.

In case of allergic reaction, I would recommend you take antihistamine drugs in order to reduce the formation of tiny red bumps or rashes around the tattoo.

On the other hand, ink poisoning can also cause infection and it is recommended to seek an appointment with your doctor. Infection on tattoos is treated with a course of antibiotics.

How to Avoid Tattoo Ink Poisoning?

Ooh God. Will I manage to get through this!

Well, with all these potential toxic components in the tattoo ink will make you freak out since you may think the chance of getting tattoo ink poisoning is too high.

However, this is not the case. You need to do thorough research about your skin in order to avoid getting ink poisoning.

Most tattoo specialists will mix their inks in order to get pigments that do not cause a reaction on the skin afterward. Always inquire the ingredients of the ink before sitting in the chair for inking.

Do not allow the perspective of ink poisoning deter you from getting body inking. This is uncommon and you still go out for tattooing.


The trend at which people are getting a tattoo in the U.S is so high. The issue about ink poisoning is very rare and it is the reason why in the celebrity world is the order of the day.

You need to know which brand name of tattoo ink and color work best for you without any symptoms of rejection.

You can consult your dermatologist to conduct an allergy test on your skin before going for body inking. This will help you to make an informed decision anyway.