The FDA has recently claimed there may be some changes to the way you think about your tattoo ink.
Currently tattooing ink is considered a cosmetic product which means it can be subject to regulations. Generally, the FDA hasn’t messed with regulating the ink as much. Not to say they don’t enforce regulations for ink at all, the agency is just careful not to fix something that is not broken.
However, that mindset is shifting. The FDA is considering something that the European Chemical Agency has looked into in the past.
The pigments in tattooing ink has color additives, which by FDA laws makes it subject to premarket approval, therefore placing new regulations on materials in the tattooing industry. Some of these additives are believed to be carcinogenic when exposed to laser treatment removal, causing the big push for the agency to revise things. These regulations could include changing the ingredients in ink or diluting the ingredients down to have less potency. Changing or diluting the ingredients could lessen the vibrancy or longevity of a tattoo, which would lead to tattoos that fade faster, and/or artists having to rework their skills to compensate.
Ink Master: Angels co-host Nikki Simpson called out this issue on an Instagram post, where she stated, “their solution, outside of trying to outlaw tattooing again, would be to take every ink company and reduce and dilute every ink into barely any traces of pigment so they will eventually fall out over time and be easy to laser out.”
While The industry should be looking into ways to benefit safety of everyone who gets inked, I find it counterproductive to prepare for the fact that tattoos could be laser removed when many people do not get laser removal, or may get cover-up piece or even use ink removal cream like this shop in the Baltimore area specializes in, which is a safe and affordable way to remove pigments of ink.
Another issue at hand is that there Is not enough evidence to prove that ink mixed with laser removal could cause cancer. The FDA released an article listing what to consider before getting inked. The article calls to attention several points, but it also acknowledges that there are some answers that remain, stating “We don’t know the short- or long-term consequences of how pigments break down after laser treatment. However, we do know some tattoo removal procedures may leave permanent scarring.”
In Nikki’s previously mentioned Instagram post she tagged Tattoo Ink Safety, which is an organization that gives the tattooing industry a voice when it comes to their materials and how their safety is perceived versus how it actually is.
The organization is hosting its first event this fall in Las Vegas and will collaborate with several ink and pigment manufactures, as well as many celebrity or well-known artists.