Jonette Keri, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Tattoo ink allergy and reactions seldom occur but is something to consider when getting a tattoo. There are a wide variety of possible reactions to tattoo ink but we will cover the most common ones. Warranty for all of our products are covered by the Hildbrandt Comprehensive Warranty that is stated on the certificates that come with our products. The woman in this picture developed an allergic reaction to the red pigment used in her cosmetic lipstick tattoo. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Tattoo granuloma refers to cells in the exposed area of skin having a foreign body reaction. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.
There are a variety of heavy metals that are often used as pigments that a small portion of people are allergic to. For example, some people are allergic to nickel, copper, iron or cadmium and these are commonly used as pigments.
Basically, your cells see the ink as something that shouldn’t be there and is generating an immune response to it.
Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. Pigments consists of a wide range of bases like iron oxides, plastics, mercury, cadmium, nickel, zinc, titanium, iron and many others. This typically shows up as firm localized swelling in the areas where the pigment the skin is allergic to is. This is why, if you get a tattoo using this type of ink in a parlour, the shop will require a waver signed before it does the tattoo.

Carriers commonly used are alcohol, water, methanol, propylene glycol, glycerin and witch hazel. This is because red is often made with mercury and there are more people allergic to mercury than other pigments. This kind of ink has been steadily improving in quality and safety in recent years and the incidence of allergy problems have decreased a lot. Find out why people get  them, the health risks involved, and your options if you change your mind. It is estimated that between 1 and 5 percent of the general population are allergic to mercury. Eczematous reactions are another type of allergic skin problem that may occur from tattooing in rare cases.
Some artists will recommend to their customer to test a small hidden area to see if the client will have a reaction from the UV blacklight ink. Yellow is often made using cadmium and cadmium may cause eczematous reactions for some people.
Eczematous reactions will appear as a rash that may or may not appear at the site of the tattoo. We recommend this practice as it is better to wait a week and be safe than encounter skin problems later. These reactions are caused if the person is allergic to one of the pigments, a common one being mercury. Because such tattoos are often done under unclean conditions, they also have a much higher risk of infection. Chromium used in greens may cause eczematous reactions within the tattoo and surrounding areas.
Other sources of problems may come from the aftercare products used during the healing process.
Types: Professional TattoosThese tattoos are applied by registered artists using a tattoo machine.

These reactions are rare but if you are concerned about them, ask your artist to test a small part of your skin and wait a week or two to see if you develop any reactions. Someone with a chronic disease like diabetes may use a tattoo to alert health care workers in case of an emergency. If you’re getting radiation therapy more than once, the doctors may use a tattoo to mark the site.
Safe Tattooing: Choosing a StudioGetting a permanent tattoo requires breaking the skin and having contact with blood and body fluids. It should have a clean, hard surface and no random items that add unwanted germs to the work area. You could also get MRSA or impetigo, which are staph infections, or cellulitis, a deep skin infection. This can lead to problems with the eyes, lungs, and other organs Tattoo Risks: Allergic ReactionSome people are allergic to tattoo inks. The woman in this picture developed an allergic reaction to the red used in her cosmetic lipstick tattoo.
That's how the tattoo shown here was removed.  The scar below it was left from dermabrasion removal. Tattoo Removal: What To ExpectDifferent lasers are used on different tattoo colors to break down the pigment into small bits that go away. Tattoo Removal Risks: Allergic ReactionsAs lasers break down tattoo pigments, you could have an allergic reaction.
Even Temporary Tattoos Have RisksYou can avoid a forever tattoo by using short-term, henna-based ink painted on the skin. Red-brown vegetable henna is approved by the FDA only for hair color, not for skin designs.Stay away from "black henna" or "blue henna" tattoos.

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