We know that some of the earliest tattoo pigments were made of ashes mixed with water. But did you ever stop to think how the ashes from one plant or piece of wood might vary greatly from another? For example, oak trees are known to harbor certain fungi and other diseases. Early tattoo artists used to burn the sharpened end of a tree branch, poke it into the skin and after it healed, the ash color remained. Occasionally contaminants would also be introduced under the skin. Reportedly, Samoans used nut soot and sea water for their elaborate tattoos. Dry pigments have also been dissolved in a number of liquids including rose water, glycerin, alcohol and the list goes on and on. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to make a tattoo. I once had to remove a tattoo that was made from the soot of a blue razor handle mixed with water.
Click the image to see the most common ink ingredients:
Sometimes patients will have reactions to a particular ink following the tattooing process. Photo-aggravated reactions can be seen following exposure to sunlight. The area will become swollen and raised. Yellow pigment created from cadmium sulfide is one of the primary offenders but this can also be seen in red inks where trace amounts of cadmium are added to brighten the color. Granulomatous reactions may cause raised red bumps at the site. Although most tattoo inks are considered safe and relatively inert, each patient is different and can have a variety of reactions to a myriad of inks. Occasionally a patient will tell me that they want their tattoo removed due to a reaction like those described above. During the removal process, it seems that those patients who had a reaction to getting their tattoos can have increased irritation as the tattoo is being removed by the PicoSure laser. This may be due to vaporizing and releasing the very chemical component that affected them. However, these reactions to the PicoSure laser tattoo removal process are not serious and once the ink is gone so is the irritation. If you have an irritated tattoo you would like to remove I can be reached by phone @ 512-479-9997 or just stop by my NEW location in Austin, TX: Austin Medspa on W. 6th St.