Inside: Tattoo Pigment

What is Tattoo Ink?

Tattoo inks consist of pigments combined with a carrier and are used in tattooing. Tattoo inks are available in a range of colors that can be thinned or mixed together to produce other colors and shades.

Tatto Pigment

What is tattoo pigment made of?

Pigments are what give tattoos the often-vivid colors. In the past, pigments used to be made with ground-up carbon or ash to create black ink. Many ancient tribes used the soot from charred woods for their tribal markings.

Today’s inks still use some original mineral pigments, in addition to modern industrial organic ones. Certain pigments might also be vegetable-based or plastic-based, depending on the color required.

The controversy with some pigments arises from the use of heavy metals to make the basic colors. Different ones are used to creating specific colors; as follows:

  • Mercury for red
  • Lead for yellow, green, or white
  • Cadmium for red, orange, or yellow
  • Nickel for black
  • Zinc for yellow or white
  • Chromium for green
  • Cobalt for blue
  • Aluminum for green or violet
  • Titanium for white
  • Copper for blue or green
  • Iron for brown, red, or black
  • Barium for white

To reduce production costs, some tattoo ink manufacturers will blend heavy metal pigments with lightening agents, like lead or titanium. Pigments can also be made from other elements, including calcium, antimony, beryllium, sulfur, or arsenic.

What is tattoo pigment made of?

Are Organic or Vegan Tattoo Pigment Safer?

The trend towards vegan foods and organic products makes people think that organic inks will also be healthier or safer. Over the last two decades, many ink manufacturers have made the transition from mineral-based inks to organic ones. About 80 percent of these inks are carbon-based while 60 percent may also use azo pigments.

Some organic inks will be produced using animal products, like bone char, shellac from beetles, or animal fat glycerin. Other organic compounds used for pigmentation can include beeswax or cod liver oil.

Manufacturers creating vegan tattoo inks for the vegan market will usually replace animal byproducts, like animal glycerin, with vegetable glycerine and Virginiana extracts.

 Learn More About Tattoos

  • Single Needle Tattoo – In the mood for an old school style of tattooing? Well, these fine line tattoos or otherwise known as single needle tattoos, are cool and will give you a vintage look. Only using a single needle allows the tattoo artist to be detailed and can provide dainty works of art. Pretty sure you are going to enjoy these single needle tattoo design ideas!
  • Tattoo Peeling Tips – Tattoo peeling is one of the least fun parts about getting a new tattoo. Don’t worry though, it is a natural part of the healing process and will not have a negative effect on your tattoo long term. While uncomfortable and at times a bit alarming, peeling is no big deal. Read our expert advice on what to do with tattoo peel.
  • Pop Art Tattoo Definition – Pop art tattoos are bold, bright, fierce, and a blast to look at. There is no shortage of creativity in this list of awesome pop art tattoo designs. You’ll find lots of reds, blues, and yellow hues in these designs. So if you want your next tattoo to stand out, consider any one of these creative pop art tattoos.