Can You Be Allergic To Tattoo Ink?

Peanuts, bee stings, cat hair … tattoo ink? Believe it or not, a small proportion of people actually suffer from an allergic reaction to the ink used in tattoos.

While such allergies are quite rare, there is a possibility of serious health consequences. The reaction can be seen immediately in some cases, but often does not present until 48 hours or even a few weeks after getting the tattoo.

Allergic reactions can sometimes be misinterpreted for normal tattoo healing as individuals will often experience the same symptoms. An allergic reaction to a tattoo ink can present in a few different ways: localized swelling and redness, rash, small blisters or pustules with oozing, itchiness, and irritation.

It is especially important to keep allergic reactions in mind when getting a tattoo with red ink, as this color of tattoo ink has been the most associated with causing an allergic reaction. Many red inks have iodine in them, which causes sensitivity in many individuals.

While red ink is the most common color ink associated with reactions, it is not the only culprit. Every color ink has the possibility of causing allergic reactions, but with some colors an adverse reaction is more common (e.g. yellow, green, and brown).

If you are concerned about the possibility of an adverse reaction from tattoo ink, you can consult with your tattoo artist to possibly get a list of ingredients in the ink. Then, a dermatologist can determine if any of the ink’s ingredients are high-risk factors for allergies.

Some tattoo artists will even offer to do a test spot behind the ear to see if you have a reaction. However, if doing a test patch beforehand, it is best to wait a week after to see as allergic reactions may not appear immediately.

If you suspect an allergic reaction to your tattoo has occurred, see a dermatologist immediately to get a diagnosis. In some cases, tattoos may need to be completely removed to treat the allergic reaction.

Laser tattoo removal would be the best option for removing the tattoo and resolving the allergy once and for all. However, laser tattoo removal of allergy-causing ink can have its own set of complications. If you intend to remove a tattoo with irritating inks, precautions should be taken (ranging from taking an antihistamine before treatment to having an EpiPen available), depending on your medical history.

At Eraser Clinic we are the tattoo removal experts. We offer free consultations and will happily answer any questions you may have about laser tattoo removal. So book your Free Consultation with us today at our locations in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston!