The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate tattoo pigments/inks. That means that the manufacturer can have slim to nil scruples on what is in the inks. They do, however, have to use a universal manufacturing code that diagrams what the pigment is that is being used. Surprisingly, manufacturers can use heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, lead, cobalt nickel and such. While the American environmental Safety Institute (AESI) now has leading tattoo ink manufacturers place warning labels on their product containers that the product may contain heavy metals, there is no requirement to NOT use these metals in the inks. We have researched the inks we use and only purchase from manufacturers who are transparent about what is used for the pigment and the carrier. We think it's a great idea to use inks that do not contain carcinogens and toxins.
We were surprised to find out that many tattoo artists who are providing nipple pigment augmentation and scar concealment are using products that contain carcinogens and toxins. Why?
Because the tattoo artists themselves are typically unaware of what is in the ink. They have no clue that they are now tattooing carcinogens into someone who has just been treated for cancer. If they researched it, they would know. There is no incentive to be aware of it, because there is no entity monitoring it. The health departments who regulate the tattoo industry also have no knowledge as to the ingredients as well. Health departments are more interested in preventing contamination than public safety with carcinogens and toxins. I know. It's a conundrum. Physicians are also out of the loop for this type of information. Most physicians have no idea that the FDA doesn't not require labeling on tattoo inks. So, what does one do? Ask questions.
Ask if the tattoo artist has contacted the manufacturer for pigment information. Ask to see the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that provides that little detail.
We only use pigments that we know do not contain carcinogens and heavy metals. Pigments for cosmetic tattoos and pigment augmentation we use at the Clinic are absolutely carcinogen and toxin free. They are special pigments to use for cosmetics.
This is not to discourage your new look... it is to advise to proceed with caution.