Blacklight and Glow In The Dark Tattoos
Now You See Me
Blacklight (UV reactive) and glow in the dark tattoo ink has existed for the better part of 15 years. These unique inks have been touted as a practical solution for people unable to sport visible tattoos in the workplace, as well as a creative option to enhance existing tattoos. And yet, it’s rarely seen in real life. Why? Most professional tattoo artists are unwilling to use the inks, let’s investigate why.
What is it?
UV reactive ink is illuminated only in the presence of UV lights, like those found in nightclubs or Halloween parties.
Glow in the dark ink is a phosphorescent ink that is illuminated in low light, or in the absence of light altogether. Much like the plastic stars you had stuck to your ceiling as a kid.
What is it not?
Invisible. While one of the primary selling features of the ink is the idea that it can only be seen when the wearer chooses (unless there is a spontaneous rave or power outage in your workplace, then all bets are off). However, the reality is that tattoos can scar. And while the scarring of a traditional tattoo is generally only distinguishable by feel, if there is no coloured ink presence, you can be left with a big tattoo shaped scar.
In addition, the ink is susceptible to colour changes. Even exposure to the sun during the first few months can alter the chemical composition of the ink, making it yellow or even brown in rare cases. Just like that whitish dress shirt you don’t wear anymore.
Speaking of fading…
Just like a traditional tattoo, these inks fade over time. That means that UV ink will be less responsive to UV light, and glow in the dark ink will be glow in the… not really ever.
What’s in it?
It’s important to note that absolutely no form of tattoo ink has been regulated or approved by the FDA (At least not as a tattoo ink for humans).
The quality of inks vary substantially from one company to the next. Some are vegan, others contain vast quantities of questionable chemicals. Some colours cause allergic reaction more often the others (red and green inks are common offenders). So with any tattoo, it is important to know what kind of ink will be used. UV and glow ink however can be problematic because in order for it function, it must contain concerning ingredients. Phosphorus is a known carcinogen, and some contain radioactive ingredients.
Since they are still relatively new, and seldom used, we don’t have sufficient data about how they react over extended periods of time, what they look like in 30 years, or how they affect health.
* Because of the unique way that UV and glow in the dark inks work, we do not currently have any laser technology that can remove them.
* UV and glow in the dark ink can also be significantly more expensive then standard inks, resulting in very expensive tattoos.
All tattoos come with risks. Fading, discolouration, infection, and allergic reaction are just a few of the risks associated with jamming foreign substances into our dermis. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to decide what level of risk is acceptable, and what isn’t.
Our artists choose not to work with UV and glow in the dark inks. Knowing what we know, the risks just aren’t worth the rewards.