UV Ink tattoo
One fun and growing trend in tattoos these days is blacklight or UV tattoos. These tattoos are near invisible under regular lighting, but expose them to UV or blacklights and they glow with blazing detail. Some who have these blacklight tattoos carry a small blacklight so they can show off their glowing ink at a moment’s notice. Blacklight tattoos are quite popular among club goes and “ravers,” but they are gaining ground in the mainstream population as well. The idea of having a tattoo in a highly visible location that can only be seen under special circumstances is appealing to those who for whatever reason cannot have visible tattoos.
Here we want to go into the facts about UV tattoos and outline the safety as well as well as the misconceptions many have about UV tattoo ink. Also, we will discuss the importance of knowing what type of ink is being used for your tattoo, as many avid tattoo enthusiasts already know, not all ink is created equal!
What is a black light tattoo?
Maybe you love black lights, maybe you love new tattoos, or maybe you just love having a secret. Whatever the reason, maybe you are thinking about getting a UV tattoo and are considering any black light tattoo risks before making the big decision. Black lights are also known as ultraviolet (UV) lights and are frequently found in night clubs, raves, and your friendly stoner head shops. Black light tattoos are created using ultraviolet (UV) reactive ink. This means that a UV tattoo is nearly invisible in plain daylight, but will come to life when viewed under an ultraviolet bulb.
UV tattoos are one of the latest tattoo trends people are talking about online and in tattoo shops. The allure of using UV tattoo ink to create “glowing” tattoo has everyone talking and many people actually getting these types of tattoos on their skin.
UV tattoos are more difficult and require skill to apply. Since UV ink does not light up in normal light and does not easily blend, attention has to be paid during application. Constant use of a black light to visualize the tattoo is required. The procedure is otherwise done in the same way as other tattoos. UV tattoos may take longer than other tattoos because UV ink is usually thinner and more challenging to apply. Also, a black light is needed on hand to ensure proper application.
What is UV Tattoo Ink?
A UV ink tattoo is generally invisible (or nearly invisible) under broad daylight. The ingredients of UV tattoo inks are slightly different from normal tattoo inks, because it has chemicals that react to Ultraviolet light (also known as “black light”). Hence, it is only visible under this special light condition.
UV tattoo ink, also known as black light or neon tattoo ink, is a type of ink that are made with dyes that when shown under ultra-violet light glow fluorescently. These types of tattoos should not be confused with glow in the dark tattoos, which use phosphorus as an ingredient in the ink to create the glow in the absence of light. Glow in the dark tattoos using phosphorus are typically considered non-safe as phosphorus is considered a possible carcinogen and thus glow in the dark tattoos have fallen out of favor with tattoo artists and enthusiastic across the world.
UV inks have been known to fade just as any other ink over time. Also the UV inks may take on a yellow or brownish tint as they age, similar to white ink tattoos. Colored UV inks will be visible under regular lighting, but will glow in vibrant florescent colors under a blacklight so if you’re wanted an “invisible” tattoo stay away from colored UV inks.
UV inks are not FDA approved for human use, though neither are any other inks. The FDA does have the authority to regulate all tattoo inks, but due to “other public health priorities and a lack of evidence of safety concerns” they have chosen not to regulate any tattoo inks as of yet. If you want to highlight a regular tattoo with UV inks, you’ll need to get the regular inking done first, allow it to heal, then come back for the UV ink as UV ink is a bit thinner than traditional ink and the two do not mix. Traditional ink will basically cover the UV ink.
And lastly, UV ink is not able to be removed by laser tattoo removal treatments, so if in the off chance the ink doesn’t turn out right or becomes more visible as the years go on, it cannot be removed at least not with the currently laser technology.
Because the FDA doesn’t monitor which tattoo inks shops use, many can still offer true glow in the dark tattoos with ink spiked with phosphorus. However, they can be harmful in the long run. Phosphorus is a popular ingredient to achieve the glow-in-the-dark effect, and there are some concerns that in high doses it can be carcinogenic.
- How long do glow in the dark tattoos last?
Like any tattoo, it’s “longevity is directly connected to the amount of energy that you put into caring for it properly, like using sunscreen,” Newell says. Colored tattoos generally fade over time faster than all-black ones, she adds. They won’t completely disappear, though. You’ll just need to get touchups when need, which is standard for most tattoos.
- What types of glow in the dark tattoo styles work best?
Tattooing, like any form of art, is not static or standardized. Instagram allows anyone from anywhere to share and celebrate their approach to art. It gives tattoo artists a platform to show the new designs and latest techniques they’re trying out. The popularity of watercolor tattoos and stick and pokes have even grown due to Instagram. The same is now happening with glow in the dark tattoos. You’re sure to find designs that fit your body art gallery if you do some scrolling through your favorite artists’ feeds and hashtags related to black light tattoos.
- Are you ready to spend your time and money?
Ultraviolet ink is not entirely invisible, especially in the first one or two years. Tattoo heals in 12 months to 18 months, the tattoo will be virtually invisible to the naked eye. If the sole reason you are getting a UV tattoo is for the undercover factor, make sure you research photos and outcomes with a trusted studio first.
Black light tattoos cost more and take longer to ink on than traditional tattoos. These aren’t actual risks, but definitely something to think about when considering one of these tattoos.
Are UV tattoos safe?
As cool as they are and as appealing as they might be, there are some things to keep in mind before running down to the local tattoo shop for an awesome blacklight tattoo.
Even though advertisements may suggest that UV ink is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is not approved for human use. UV ink is currently only approved for use in agriculture and fishing industries. There are no reliable safety studies that explore the effects of human UV ink use.
Still, safety concerns about UV tattoos remain. Statistically, there have been more reactions with UV tattoos than with normal tattoos. The chemicals that compose UV ink are not considered 100% safe due to the number of reported skin irritations. Numerous skin rashes, blisters and infections have been reported with UV ink. In addition, there is some concern that these inks may contribute to cancer.
Does this mean you should avoid backlight tattoos at all costs? Not necessarily. It just means that because UV ink is less commonly used, you should make sure the tattoo artist and shop you are working with are reputable and will get your permanent body ink from a safe source. Do your research before diving under the (tattoo) gun!
Should I Get a UV, Neon or Black Light Tattoo?
One of the biggest allures of these types of tattoos is that depending on what type of ink is used, these tattoos can be nearly invisible unless they are shown under a UV light.
When under normal light, these tattoos typically look like light scars or white lines, and only show their true colors under the black light. However, people can also add colored tattoo ink over the UV ink allowing the tattoo colors to become more prominent when shown under the UV light.
So overall UV tattoos are a great idea for anyone looking for a low-profile tattoo that will light up under the right lighting conditions or someone looking to add a little flare to their colored tattoo. But keep in mind picking the right artist for the job is very important as UV ink it different to tattoo with than normal inks.
Do you have the right artist for the job?
UV tattoos are gaining in popularity because of the creative twist they allow you to put on your body. The UV ink can be used to highlight parts of a tattoo done with traditional ink, bring dramatic flair to your nightlife (and the need to carry a back light flashlight with you to happy hour), or form the basis of an entire tattoo.
Picking a tattoo artist who is experience with UV inks is so important. For starters, UV tattoo ink does not blend during the application process as normal colored inks do. This means is it takes more precise shading work to achieve any sort of depth or texture to a UV tattoo. Also, the consistency of UV ink is thinner than normal ink, so it will take more precise attention to detail and depth at which the ink is penetrated into the skin for any line work.
A blacklight is needed during the application process as well to check the tattoo throughout the process, especially if the tattoo is intended to be invisible under normal lighting conditions. If you are looking to add some UV flare to a colored tattoo, then it is advised to get the colored tattoo done first, wait for it to heal, then come back and highlight it with the UV ink. This is because the fluorescents in the UV ink will be dulled if the regular tattoo ink is used on top of it.
Regardless of regular ink or UV ink, you want the best tattoo you can get, after all they are intended to be with you’re the rest of your life and beyond.
Browse our selection of UV tattoos at Tattoo4you. Feel free to contact your tattoo artist with any questions you may have. Happy tattoo!