Updated: Dec 8, 2022
So, something I have been thinking a lot about lately is, what is with all this seemingly new and crazy tattoo art. Now, yes tattoo art has definitely transitioned in many ways with style and technique. But, I’m talkin about the stuff that is a little more outlandish and off the cuff. In the tattoo world, this is a sign that things are always evolving and improving, but there may be risk factors and even some rewards when branding some new innovation on your skin.
Let’s talk about the glow in the dark style that is trending right now. Yes, you can light up a dance floor or even a bedroom, but how safe is it really…There are both some healthy and unhealthy glow in the dark tattoos out there. The bad ones that you need to stay away from at all cost are those made with Phosphor-based ink. Phosphors was the 13th element discovered, and because of its glow in the dark tendencies, was referred to as “the devil’s element”. It is very dangerous to be used on the skin and the oldest glow in the dark ink. It’s basically poison, and the dangers were unknown in the beginning of use. Once Phosphorus was used on a more industrial scale the toxicity levels revealed themselves and it became a regulated substance. It is still contained in some jewelry and children’s toys but must always be encased in a safer and protective material. It IS possible to wear Phosphor-based glow in the dark ink, but always remember that tattoo inks are not regulated by the FDA, so the amount of Phosphor used in the ink could be at an extremely unhealthy level for the wearer.
That being said, UV-light inks for the most part contain no phosphor. It is known that some chemists may add in a small amount of phosphorus to give the ink a little more pizzazz, so you do have to be cautious and always look at the ingredients of the ink. The main way to tell the difference between a safe (UV-Light) and unsafe (phosphorus-based) ink, is by the way it glows. UV inks must have a black light to light up and is on the safe side. If your tattoo glows on its own in a completely dark room, it probably contains phosphorus and is unhealthy…or you may be radioactive (still very unhealthy) :/ UV inks are as healthy as any other ink used on the skin. If you plan to get a glow in the dark tattoo, always check with your artist first and ask if their inks contain phosphorus. If they don’t know the answer or cannot tell you, please run out the door. Better yet, do your own research and know what inks are the safest for you. Information is power!
Next week we will go more in depth as to the science behind how those UV inks glow, and why it is still considered safe. Thanks for always reading and keeping up on Speakeasy Tattoo!
“There are two kinds of light- the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”