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How Safe Are Our Tattoos And Permanent Makeup?

Particularly popular among teenagers, 30% of 16-34 12 months old in the EU have tattoos. In America, 40% of the same age population have at least one tattoo. Tattoos are manufactured by injecting colored inks into the pores and skin and are designed to be permanent, resulting in long-term exposure to the chemicals injected and thus, possibly, to their degradation products. There is currently no specific EU legislation on tattoos or long-term makeup products ((semi) permanent tattoos used to resemble the make-up).

They fall, like any other consumer products, under Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety (GPSD) requiring that only safe products may be placed on the market. While most tattoo inks on the EU market are brought in from the united states, permanent makeup inks are generally manufactured in Europe. They all include a combination of several ingredients and more than 100 different colorants and 100 additives are currently in use.

The pigments used are not specifically produced for tattoo and permanent makeup applications and contain impurities generally. Over 80% of the colorants in use are organic chemicals and more than 60% of them are a certain type of pigments, known as a-pigments, some of which can release carcinogenic aromatic amines. This is the total consequence of a degradation process in the skin, particularly under solar/super violet radiation publicity or laser irradiation.

There is no systematic data gathering for adverse effects on individual health, therefore the actual prevalence of tattoo problems (mainly of dermatological character) is not well known. … Read the rest