Black Ink In Tattoos May Shield You From Skin Cancer

Xavier in Stories

I was on the right track for loving blackwork tattoos, after all.

Blackwork sleeve by Jonni Breeze
Blackwork sleeve by Jonni Breeze

We're pleased to give you another reason to love blackwork tattoos. While henna tattoos were proven to be risky, genuine tattoos take another point in the score cards from this report. In a recent study, black ink tattoos were proven to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Starbrite Tribal Black™
Starbrite Tribal Black™

The experiment was Hudafdelingen's research conducted at Bispebjerg Hospital, using ninety-nine laboratory mice. The mice were tattooed by Starbrite Tribal Black™. This particular brand that's supposed to contain a theoretical carcinogen BaP. The lab mice were divided between two groups where one group was tattooed with black ink, while the other weren't tattooed at all. Both groups were then irradiated with different levels of UVR repeatedly on different intervals.

Blackwork paintbrush strokes by Volko Merschky & Simone Pfaff @buenavistatattooclub
Blackwork paintbrush strokes by Volko Merschky & Simone Pfaff @buenavistatattooclub

Note that this is based on scientific research we have read about, from a veritable source. These studies, however, might be modified after the time this article was written.

Recent from Stories

Blackwork leg tattoo
Blackwork leg tattoo

The introductory statement is: ‘Black tattoos may involve risk of cancer owing to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) in inks. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) induces skin cancer. The combination of UVR and black tattoo may therefore potentially be very problematic but has not been previously studied.’

In the statement above, it's clearly speculated that black tattoo ink may cause cancer due to its components. Add the factor of the skin being constantly exposed to UVR (ultraviolet radiation, the part of the sunlight that causes sunburn and skin damage). The effect of the combination of the two were then studied.

Blackwork sleeve by Leon Lam
Blackwork sleeve by Leon Lam

The results were: ‘In the tattooed and irradiated group, the development of the first, second and third SCC was significantly delayed in comparison with the irradiated controls without black tattoos (212, 232, 247 days vs. 163, 183, 191 days, P < 0.001).’

The results showed that the tattooed mice were less likely to develop skin cancer as fast as the non-tattooed mice were when exposed to UVRs. qSimply put, black ink may not totally prevent skin cancer. But it's proven to at least hinder skin cancer caused by UVRs. This surprised the researchers, since the tattoo ink used on the mice were especially prohibited in Denmark by the Danish EPA. And since 90% of skin cancer is triggered by the sun, this is definitely good news.

Blackwork tattoo on Pinterest
Blackwork tattoo on Pinterest

The explanation to this may be that the black pigment absorbed the UVB light, thus reflecting less light onto the inside of the skin where skin cancer develops. In the clinic itself where the tests were conducted, no incidence where tattoo was the catalyst of a skin cancer was ever reported. They also proved that black ink in tattoos were the least likely to cause allergies. On separate tests, involving exposing tattoos where only black ink to UVRs, results showed that black ink relevantly impede the growth of skin cancer.

Blackwork geometric sleeve tattoo
Blackwork geometric sleeve tattoo

This surprised researchers but if that's good enough for them, then we're happy to take that information in as well. But at the end of the day, this was tested on rodent subjects. We still cannot verify whether it works the same on human skin but it's a good possibility.

Full black arm sleeve
Full black arm sleeve

But there are still several other factors we have got to consider on this. Although blackwork tattoos may be protecting your skin from cancer, there are instances that tattoos might conceal early signs of various skin diseases or worse, skin cancer.

by Black Ink Power
by Black Ink Power

For more information, read more here. For information regarding the data gathered, read more here.

Dr. Woo
Dr. Woo

Disclaimer: All the facts stated in this article were taken from actual scientific research. The studies are still in progress, therefore, they are subject to change.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

Follow

More from Author

We Recommend

Recent Staff Picks