There are some things that continue to grow in popularity...partly because they are novel, partly because they are cool, and probably partly because they are different. UV ink tattoos are certainly part of a novelty tattoo trend that sparks our imaginations and captures our attentions because they are unique and relatively new. If you were a teen growing up in the 90's or early 2000's you've probably been to Spencer's...a niche gift shop that had all kinds of weird things including gag gifts, raunchy t-shirts, and UV posters. A UV ink tattoo is like wearing one of those posters around for the rest of your life...it's just a shame that not as many people have black lights and lava lamps in their homes...and raves aren't really a thang anymore. That being said..it doesn't seem to be stopping people from having a bit o' fun with these funky tats.
Basically ultraviolet ink tattoos work because the dye in the ink reacts and fluorescence under UV light. Many of the inks are not as visible when viewed normally, which comes in handy for some people who are trying to have more low key tattoos. Apparently the inks are thinner and do not blend like other inks...They're also more expensive, and take longer to apply. It's definitely best, as in all cases, to work with a tattoo artist who has used these inks before and knows how to handle them properly for application. It also helps if your tattooist uses these inks regularly because they'll know how to guide you through the healing process more smoothly and with better information. The more professional your tattooist, and the more experience they have, will make your experience better...not only when you're in the studio, but afterwards as well. Many UV ink tattoos take about a year to heal fully, and after that time can fully fade so that they're only visible under those UV lights! Pretty cool if you're trying to have some undercover ink...
Almost every single article on UV tattoos will tell you that these inks are not FDA approved...but...neither are any of the other inks that tattooists use. Most people who have sensitive skin are well aware of that fact already but, obviously, UV inks can cause some issues in those who have never had negative effects before. "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," Arash Akhavan, a New York City-based dermatologist, tells Allure.
Some tattooists may use this ink but other artists prefer to use fluorescent inks that just happen to be UV effective, but don't have scary ingredients. One of the artists in our collection, Kayla Newell uses safer inks because they work just as well, and probably won't cause any issues. "Newell avoids inks with phosphorus, though. Instead, she came up with a safer alternative: incredibly bright, highly pigmented ink that happens to be UV reactive. They are naturally fluorescent, 100 percent vegan, and have no added chemicals that cause them to glow. "It is entirely coincidental," she says. "The process of making them is the same as any other tattoo ink. They just happen to be naturally fluorescent colors." It's like when you go to laser tag and certain colored clothing or hair colors glow brighter than others. The inks she uses just happens to be like that, too. They're the ones that appear the most neon under black lights."
Interested in learning more or wanna pick up one of your own UV ink tattoos? Hit up one of these artists in this collection, or book an artist in your area! You'll be the coolest sensation at the next black light party. Woot woot!