Does Tattoo Ink Go Into Your Blood?

April 27, 2022
Max Stevens

Tattoos are more popular than ever, but there’s still a mystery surrounding them. Many people have a question about whether or not the ink used in tattoos gets into your blood.

In this article, we’ll look at the science behind tattoo ink and blood to find out the answer.

What are Tattoos Composed Of?

Tattoos are created by injecting ink into the dermis, the second layer of skin. The dermis is made up of connective tissue and contains blood vessels, nerve endings, and sweat glands.

The ink is injected into the skin using a needle, puncturing the skin about 50 to 3,000 times per minute. This is possible with an electric machine that has a needle attached to it. The machine moves the needle in and out of the skin, and the ink is deposited into the dermis.

Ink components vary depending on the brand, but they typically contain a carrier (oil or water) and pigment (colour). Some inks also contain metals such as:

  • mercury
  • iron oxides
  • titanium dioxide
  • chromium
  • nickel

Does Ink Get Into Your Bloodstream?

The short answer is yes, tattoo ink does enter your bloodstream. However, it’s important to note that the ink doesn’t just stay in your blood vessels.

When the needle punctures your epidermis and deposits the ink into the dermis (the second layer of your skin), this triggers your body’s immune system. It steps in to heal the wound by flushing out the ink particles and surrounding damaged tissue.

Our cells break down most of the ink pigments and become lodged in the liver.

In most cases, macrophages (cells that help us fight foreign substances and protect our immune system) carry some of the ink particles and deposit them in your lymph nodes.

Side effect? Your lymph nodes may develop the same colour as your tattoo.

How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay In Your Blood?

The tattoo ink is never and will never be injected directly into the bloodstream. However, the ink is injected into the dermis when tattooing, which is the second layer of skin.

This layer of skin contains tiny blood vessels that could carry some of the ink particles through the body. It’s unknown exactly how long it takes for all of the ink particles to be removed from the body, but it is thought to be a process that could take years.

In the meantime, the ink particles that do circulate through the body are believed to be harmless.

Does Tattoo Ink Poison Your Blood?

No, tattoo ink does not poison your blood.

Tattoo ink contains minimal amounts of metals and other toxins, and it’s improbable that these substances will reach toxic levels in your bloodstream.

However, some people may be allergic to tattoo ink, which can cause a range of symptoms such as itching, redness, swelling, and blistering. Suppose you experience any of these symptoms after getting a tattoo. In that case, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

In rare cases, tattoo ink can also cause infections if the needles used to apply the tattoo are not sterile.

Visit a reputable tattoo parlour that uses sterilised needles and safe inks to avoid this.

FDA recognises tattoo inks as cosmetics, and they’re subject to the same regulations as other cosmetics. However, the FDA doesn’t regulate tattoo inks, so it’s important to do your research before getting a tattoo.

Do Tattoos Affect Blood Tests?

No, tattoos do not affect blood tests.

Not all ink particles from a tattoo enter your bloodstream, so it shouldn’t interfere with any blood tests you might have to take in the future.

If your tattoo is fresh and is still healing, your blood test may result in elevated levels of white blood cells due to the open wound caused by the needle.

If you’re planning to donate blood and just recently got a tattoo, you may have to wait until 6 to 12 months.

This is to make sure your tattoo doesn’t put you at risk for any infections that could be transmitted through blood transfusions.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Tattoos?

It is possible to get diseases from getting a tattoo, as scary as this sounds. However, these diseases are rare, and unsanitary conditions usually cause them at the tattoo parlour.

The most common diseases transmitted through tattoos are hepatitis B and C, tetanus, and HIV.

These diseases are blood-borne, which means they can be transmitted through contact with infected blood.

They usually spread through contaminated needles or ink that’s not adequately sterilised.

To avoid getting a disease from a tattoo, make sure you visit a reputable parlour that uses sterile needles and safe inks. You should also make sure the artist wears gloves and uses other safety precautions.

Other possible risks associated with tattoos are:

  • Keloids
  • Rashes
  • Allergies
  • Hepatitis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Cancer

Tattoos and Risks: Is It Worth It?

Despite the risks, millions of people still choose to get tattoos every year.

For many people, the benefits outweigh the risks. Tattoos can be a beautiful and permanent way to express your individuality.

Before you decide to get a tattoo, be sure to do your research and find a reputable artist who uses safe inks and sterile needles.


Max Stevens

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