What's in your ink?
Do you know what’s in your ink? Knowing the ingredients in your ink can be important if you have certain allergies or health concerns. At Stayonpoint, our resident artists use vegan tattoo ink products such as World’s Famous Ink, Eternal Ink, SkinCandy/Bloodline, Electric Ink USA, etc..
Most tattoo ink is essentially similar. There are many different manufacturers that supply tattooers, and some artists make their own pigment. Many pigment manufacturers do not share their proprietary ingredients, and only offer a generic MSDS sheet. Most experienced artists will only work with ink from manufacturers that have been in business a long time and whose colors are known to work well.
Here’s a list of common ingredients used to make the color of the pigment.
- Iron Oxide (Fe3O4)
- Iron Oxide (FeO)
Natural black pigment is made from magnetite crystals, powdered jet, wustite, bone black, and amorphous carbon from combustion (soot). Black pigment is commonly made into India ink.
Logwood is a heartwood extract from Haematoxylon campechisnum, found in Central America and the West Indies.
- Cinnabar (HgS)
- Cadmium Red (CdSe)
- Iron Oxide (Fe2O3)
- Napthol-AS pigment
Iron oxide is also known as common rust. Cinnabar and cadmium pigments are highly toxic. Napthol reds are synthesized from Naptha. Fewer reactions have been reported with naphthol red than the other pigments, but all reds carry risks of allergic or other reaction
- disazodiarylide and/or disazopyrazolone
- cadmium seleno-sulfide
The organics are formed from the condensation of 2 monoazo pigment molecules. They are large molecules with good thermal stability and colorfastness.
- Cadmium Yellow (CdS, CdZnS)
- Curcuma Yellow
- Chrome Yellow (PbCrO4, often mixed with PbS)
Curcuma is derived from plants of the ginger family; aka tumeric or curcurmin. Reactions are commonly associated with yellow pigments, in part because more pigment is needed to achieve a bright color.
- Chromium Oxide (Cr2O3), called Casalis Green or Anadomis Green
- Malachite [Cu2(CO3)(OH)2]
- Ferrocyanides and Ferricyanides
- Lead chromate
- Monoazo pigment
- Cu/Al phthalocyanine
- Cu phthalocyanine
The greens often include admixtures, such as potassium ferrocyanide (yellow or red) and ferric ferrocyanide (Prussian Blue)
- Azure Blue
- Cobalt Blue
Blue pigments from minerals include copper (II) carbonate (azurite), sodium aluminum silicate (lapis lazuli), calcium copper silicate (Egyptian Blue), other cobalt aluminum oxides and chromium oxides. The safest blues and greens are copper salts, such as copper pthalocyanine. Copper pthalocyanine pigments have FDA approval for use in infant furniture and toys and contact lenses. The copper-based pigments are considerably safer or more stable than cobalt or ultramarine pigments.
Commonly found ingredients in “vegan” ink products.
Usually petroleum or vegetable oils based.
Also known as Witch Hazel (An herb known for its astringent properties.)
A compound with the chemical formula C₃H₈O. It is colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor.
A solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. (May cause allergies)
An antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative with the trade name Glydant. (May cause allergies)
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