The Pros & Cons of Black Light Tattoos

Because of the skill involved, not all tattoo parlors offer black light tatttoos.
Because of the skill involved, not all tattoo parlors offer black light tatttoos. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Human beings have tattooed their bodies for religious, decorative and even camouflage purposes for countless generations. As the 20th century advanced, people in many cultures began using various forms of technology to enhance and forever change the realm of body art in the ultimate expressions of individualism. However, black light tattoos are still regarded as very innovative in the tattoo world, and not all of the consequences have been seen or analyzed.

Pro: Work Appropriate

Many people are restricted by career and other lifestyle choices in the placement of body art, and black light tattoos are an increasingly popular option. Tattoos using UV reactive inks are almost completely invisible under normal lighting conditions when done properly. Experience has taught many artists details that enable them to work the skin properly to leave minimal scarring while using the right amount of ink to produce the desired effects.

Pro: Permanent

As the technology involved in creating black light-responsive ink improved, the ink and techniques have became more reliable. While there are no referencable studies on the long-term effects associated with the use of this type of tattoo ink, many individuals report only a slight dimming after healing and no unusual side effects with proper after care. As with all tattoos, each person reacts differently and each artist possesses different skills.

Con: Unsafe Additives

Many chemicals are not intended for use on humans or animals. Some patented UV-reactive agents are safely used in the tattooing process, but chemicals such as Everglow, a boat paint, and phosphorus added to the ink, have resulted in serious adverse reactions. Chameleon Blacklight Tattoo Ink was originally developed for use on animals, but the company is currently working on FDA approval for use on humans. This ink has been in use without adverse reactions for more than a decade.

Con: Inexperienced Artists

Ultraviolet inks are thinner than inks used in standard tattoos and this makes the application more complicated. If the skin is over-irritated during the tattooing process, some tattoos stop responding to black light after a few weeks when the skin heals completely over the ink. Also, because the ink does not show a color under normal lighting, black ink must be used during the tattooing process. An outline of scarring is also an issue if the tattoo is meant to be invisible during the day.

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