The latest craze among body art aficionados, UV tattoos, are purportedly invisible to the naked eye but glow when put under a blacklight. Sounds pretty cool so far, right? But before you rush out to the nearest tattoo parlor to have MOM inked across your bicep in UV ink, here’s the skinny that’ll help you decide if it’s a good idea or not.
The When’s and Why’s of UV Tattoos
UV tattoos aren’t new; they’ve actually been around for quite some time, but widespread interest in them has only just recently begun to catch fire. The obvious reason for that is the growing number of professional folk that want the best of both worlds – business by day, tattoos by night. Then there are those that view the emerging social acceptance of tattoos as a turnoff and are looking to discover new and edgier ways of expressing themselves or ticking off their parents. UV tattoos, which initially grew to prominence among the raver community, seem to fit the bill perfectly.
The quick answer to this question is: no. Not really, anyway. Some people describe UV tattoos as looking like fine tan lines or a faded image outline when viewed in normal light. In other words, they can only be seen if you look close enough. And that’s really the key here. UV tattoos make it possible for to decorate the skin in any color without drawing as much attention as traditional tattoos.
FDA Approved… But Not for Humans
Naturally, it’s important to take into consideration the potential health risks involved of anything you do. When it comes to getting a UV tattoo, one of the first questions you should ask is: what are the risks? The answer to that question is a big fat: nobody really knows yet.
The thing is, there hasn’t been any real research on UV inks to determine their long-term side effects. Some UV inks contain phosphorous, which are known to contribute to skin rashes and blistering. There are some who also suggest that phosphorous is a carcinogen (meaning it can cause cancer) but there’s no proof of that either. And then there are the people who will try to tell you that UV inks have been approved by the FDA – when in reality, these inks have only been approved by the FDA for use on animals. Specifically, for stamping fish.
While you mull that over, also consider these words found on the FDA’s own website: “There have been no systematic studies of the safety of tattoo inks.” Which means they haven’t even gotten around to testing traditional tattoo ink – never mind UV ink.
The bottom line is, nobody knows if UV tattoos are any less safe than traditional ink tattoos. If its a big concern, give it a few more years and see what the FDA has to say whenever it decides to come out with its final analysis.