If you are worried that you might end up with some greenish tattoo with little bits of red or yel­low? Then worry no more -today’s modern tattoo inks run the entire gamut of the spectrum — in fact, it would not be terri­bly sarcastic to take a Pantone colour chart with you!

Tattoo inks are available in a wide range of colours and can then be thinned or mixed together to produce other colours and shades. Most professional tattoo artists purchase inks pre-made (known as pre-dispersed inks), however, some tattooers do mix their own inks using a dry pigment and a carrier.

Tattoo Inks

Tattoo Inks

While ink or pigment manufacturers are not required to reveal their ingredients (and their recipes may be proprietary), professional inks may be made from metal salts, plastics or plant sources.

Although the United States Food and Drug Administration technically requires premarket approval of pigments it has not actually approved the use of any ink or pigments for tattooing (because of a lack of resources for such relatively minor responsibilities).

However, as of 2004 the FDA does analyze inks to determine if their contents are dangerous or prohibited, and follow up with legal action if they find them to have such contents, including traces of heavy metals (such as iron oxide) or other carcinogenic materials

Many of the popular brands of tattoo pigment contain acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS plastic) as a colourant in tattoo pigments, as it produces much brighter and more vivid colours. However, as ABS based pigments produce extremely vivid tattoos, they are far less likely to fade or blur than the traditional pigments, and are also much harder to remove as they are much less reactive to lasers.