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Your Tattoo Could be Poisoning You!

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Inks used in British tattoos may be toxic and facing a ban.


It has come to light that due to the lack of restriction and checking of tattoo inks, the market has become flooded with cheap and potentially harmful variations.

According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the issues these inks can cause include allergic reactions, itching that can last for years, and elevated cancer risk. The chemicals are not intended to be put into the skin for extensive years and red tattoo inks cause the most health issues, with black, green and blue also causing concern.


Roughly 20% of the British public have tattoos and their popularity is only increasing. Tattoo inspiration provided by celebrities and sites like Instagram and Pinterest have only fuelled peoples desire to ink themselves, but unfortunately tattoos don’t have that many restrictions set in place. Obviously there is the age restriction but the inks used in tattoos are not subject to the same regulations as drugs or food. Therefore, it is easy to get away with using cheaper and more toxic inks. A study found that pigments used in tattoo inks had been created for other uses, such as car paint, and were not intended to be in the skin for years. The market has become awash with Chinese inks that are harmful for the skin and tattoo artists agree that more strict regulations have to be set in place.


If you’re considering getting your first tattoo, check out our guide to what to keep in mind:
• Do you really want it? – Make sure it isn’t something you’ll look back on and regret
• Is a matching tattoo a good idea? – Are you 100% certain that whoever you’re going to get one with is going to be there for life?
• Think about your design for a while before you get it done – you don’t want to get it and then realise how it could have been better
• Think about your pain threshold – if you cannot handle a lot of pain you don’t want to get one on your ribs. Find out what places on the body are less painful and see if you’d consider getting one there
• Shop around – don’t just go to the first tattoo artist you find or are recommended, shop around, read reviews and have a look at their work.
• Have a consultation – if you want to create a totally unique design then you can go in for consultations with your artist. This will help you find what you want exactly and allow you to get advice from an expert
• Learn about the aftercare and keep it up! – This goes without saying but if you don’t look after it right it wont look good
• Eat before you go – we know from experience that you need to have lined your stomach before you go, having needles fired into your body for potentially hours is a shock to the system. You want to avoid any fainting episodes


We hope this has informed you about the risks and helped you decided whether or not to get a new inking!


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Tattoo Artists Saving Lives!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016


Tattoo artists in the West Country have been taking part in a new skin cancer scheme.

The North Bristol Trust is encouraging tattooists to get educated in what are and how to identify possible signs of skin cancer.

In Britain, 13’000 new cases of melanoma are discovered each year and the majority of those people would have no knowledge in how to identify what they need to be worried about. Due to this, North Bristol Trust is holding training for local tattoo artists to help them spot moles or growths on clients that could be potential melanomas. Melanoma is the most common skin cancer in young adults and can be deadly if it is not recognised and treated early on.


The first of, potentially more training events, took place in the evening of the 12th of April at Southmead Hospital. Around 300 patients are diagnosed with skin cancer in Bristol’s Southmead Hospital each year alone and the evening included presentations showing the attendants what to look for and how to identify if what they are looking at is a possible melanoma. The event came about after information about a study in Brazil, where tattoo artists were targeted as part of an awareness campaign, came to light. Skin care experts at the hospital say they already treat people who visited their GPs after unusual marks were spotted by hairdressers and podiatrists. In result, medics felt it would be worthwhile playing host to an educational evening. MacMillan Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse said:

“Tattoo artists are looking at people’s skin all day and may well spot if there is something that does not look quite right. We hope that if we educate some of the tattoo artists locally they may be able to potentially save the lives of their customers by advising them to get checked out. We are looking forward to meeting some tattoo artists for an interesting and informative evening.”

Ben Boston

Ben Boston

Ben Boston has been in the art of tattooing people for twenty years and has his own tattoo parlour, The Tattoo Studio, in Bristol. While he was working with a customer he noticed a mole on her back, the mole had changed shape from when he’d last seen it. Boston saved her life by using a keen eye and knowing what to look for. This highlights the usefulness of schemes like these. Medical professionals want to encourage other industries like; masseurs, beauticians and hairdressers, to take part in this learning curve.

Aesthetic industries being aware of this issue and being in the know of what to do could drastically reduce the amount of undiagnosed cases in the UK.

Would you want your salon to be trained in detecting this?


You can watch Ben’s interview with BBC here 

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