Ah. It's the time we've all been waiting for.
Heard of 'em? They're totally ruining the fun.
I am a cosmetic tattoo artist by trade and I taught myself to be a tattooer over the years in between microblading eyebrows and eyeliner. I have an affinity for all things ink + needle, for its ability to create a transformation for someone on a physical and even emotional/spiritual level.
However, it has been my own run with autoimmune symptoms I have learned a few things about the presence of heavy metals in tattoo ink that have made me question if I will ever get tattooed again.
What are Heavy Metals, anyway?
Heavy Metals are organic substances such as arsenic, copper, iron, nickle, lead, titanium, and mercury. These metals are what gives the ink it's color and the reason it stays in the skin for so long.
While toxins of every kind are harmful, heavy metals pose a unique threat. Not only are they damaging in their own right, they are also a form of neurotoxin (a poison that disrupts nerve function and confuses your immune system). Heavy metal neurotoxins can inflame and irritate our central nervous system (especially our brain), causing multiple symptoms such as memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, and depression. Toxic heavy metals can also promote inflammation in the digestive tract, releasing poisons into our gut as well. As if this isn’t bad enough, heavy metals also serve as a source of food for viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens in our body.- Anthony William, Medical Medium
The Heavy Metal + Tattoo Connection
Unfortunately guys, we're not talking about Black Sabbath.
I have uncovered throughout my personal journey that there are major links between autoimmune conditions and tattoos, as many tattoo inks contain copious amounts of heavy metals which are unregulated by the FDA here in the US.
In fact, the heavy metal contents of many traditional inks in the US would be illegal in most regulated European countries.
When it comes to the actual tattooing process, these substances are implanted into the tissues of the skin where they can easily enter the bloodstream and settle into organs inside the body.
It has, however, motivated me to make healthier choices in the pigments I use on my clients. For the last 3 years I have devoted my practice to only using heavy-metal free pigments.
Although heavy metal-free pigments are available for permanent makeup, I have yet to come across heavy-metal inks for body tattoos. But even at that, there are companies (which I list below) that are cleaning things up to a great extent.
How To Protect Yourself
Awareness that not all tattoo pigments & inks are created equal, is your best defense. This isn't an article to persuade anyone from getting tattoos or permanent makeup, but rather to show you that you have options-- especially if you are already dealing with a health issue.
More than anything, it's not that a consumer should fear getting tattoos, but it is important they know what's in the ink/pigment thier artist is using and the potential effects.
When it comes to microblading and permanent makeup, the best in the industry is PhiBrows, as they have developed a synthetic alternative to heavy metals to achieve their colors.
As far as tattoo inks, it is hard pressed to come across a brand that is heavy metal free just yet. What you will find are companies going above and beyond to ensure lower levels of heavy metals and elimination of the most harmful ones. Trusted brands include:
Alla Prima Ink
Arcane Tattoo Inks
Bloodline & Skin Candy Tattoo Inks
Dynamic Tattoo Inks
Fantasia Tattoo Inks
Formula 51 Tattoo Ink
Intenze Tattoo Ink
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink
Mom’s Ink by Millennium Colors, Inc.
Panthera Black Tattoo Ink
Radiant Colors Tattoo Ink
Sacred Color Tattoo Inks
The Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie
This smoothie is not only delicious, it's also perfectly designed to include five key ingredients that work together in synergy to pull heavy metals like mercury, lead, aluminum, nickel, copper, and cadmium out of your organs where they accumulate.
2 cups wild blueberries
1 cup cilantro
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp barley grass juice powder
1 tsp Hawaiian Spirulina
1 small handful of Atlantic dulse
Optional: water to blend
In a high speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. If a thinner consistency is desired, add up to 1 cup of water. Enjoy!
Thank you for stopping by and reading!