Alex Civitano
Ms. Forster
College Chemistry P7
What is the chemistry of tattoos?
The short and sweet answer to this question is that we cannot be fully sure about what is in the ink of a tattoo. The manufacturers of inks and pigments are not required to reveal the contents in the inks. A professional who mixes their own inks from dry pigments will be most likely to know the composition of the inks. However, they would much rather keep the information is a secret because if they have a mixture that is coming out pleasing to the eye, others would want to get their hand on the inks. So, as a barrier of competiveness, the ingredients are usually kept secret.
Anyways, most tattoo inks technically aren't even inks. The “inks” are composed of pigments that are suspended in a carrier solution. Although it is very popularly believed to be true, pigments usually are not vegetable dyes. Today's pigments primarily are metal salts. However, some pigments are plastics and there are probably some vegetable dyes too. The pigment provides the color of the tattoo. The purpose of the carrier is to disinfect the pigment suspension, keep it evenly mixed, and provide for ease of application.
As for the chemistry of tattoos, they have seemed to differ as time passes. The oldest pigments came from using ground up minerals and carbon black. Today's pigments include the original mineral pigments, modern industrial organic pigments, a few vegetable-based pigments, and some plastic-based pigments. Allergic reactions, scarring, phototoxic reactions, which is a reaction from exposure to light, especially sunlight, and other different effects are possible with many pigments. The plastic-based pigments are very intensely colored, but many people have reported reactions to them. There are also pigments that glow in the dark or in response to black ultraviolet light. These pigments are well-known to be risky. Some may be safe, but others are radioactive or in other words, toxic....