We all love tattoos and it’s great that there’s so much variety available with all the tattoo styles and designs out there, but what about glow in the dark tattoos? Glow in the dark tattoos can look amazing under blacklight, but there are a number of surprising risks and uncertainties when it comes to glow in the dark tattoo ink. We’ll start our analysis of these tattoos with a quick look at their history.
When they were first developed, glow in the dark tattoos achieved their effect in a more straightforward way, but one that was determined to be quite dangerous. Years ago, glow in the dark tattoos used phosphorus based compounds, which is a carcinogen! This achieved an effect that glowed consistently, but one that could lead to a number of skin conditions including cancer!
Nowadays tattoo inks are available that are reactive to UV light (rather than glowing with phosphorus), but because the FDA doesn’t regulate inks for tattooing, there’s very little information on these inks. A list of ingredients isn’t readily available for most major manufacturers, though some do claim to be non-toxic and natural (but remember phosphorus is natural too). Also, the data sheets on these inks aren’t based on any scientific human studies because the FDA doesn’t get involved! Not only that, some of these ink brands use animal-based glycerin or other animal-based ingredients. Because of the uncertainty about what you’d be putting in your skin with glow in the dark tattoos, you are left making a decision without much data.
It’s also been reported that glow in the dark tattoos change significantly over time. What can start as an almost invisible tattoo becomes discolored and very visible. For instance, some blue glow in the dark inks often fade into yellows and browns if they’re exposed to too much sun. Glow in the dark tattoos are also typically more challenging to create than normal tattoos, as they require a blacklight and a particularly experienced tattoo artist.
While it’s natural to be excited about the idea of glow in the dark tattoos, it’s important to ensure that tattoos are made in a responsible, safe fashion, and with high-quality inks! Over time, it’s likely that more information will become available about the long-term impact of glow in the dark ink in human skin, but for now their safety and longevity is uncertain.
If you’re interested in tattoos and have a passion for art, check out our tattoo apprenticeships! A career as a professional tattoo artist can offer artistic fulfillment and financial freedom!