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Joined for general interest and some help.


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Hi, my name is Catherine,

I currently do not have any tattoos but would very much like one. What's holding me back is an allergy to "propylene glycol" which to my understanding is a significant ingredient in tattoo ink. I've done some research online and stopped in a few parlours in my area and have not had much luck in finding out if there are inks available without this chemical, even amongst vegan and "hypo-allergenic" formulas; it is an approved and generally benign chemical, allergies are fairly rare.

Thought I'd throw myself out there online, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Also just a general admirer. (:

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Hello and welcome. I'm not a tattooer, so take my advice as you will, but given how guarded tattooers are about trade secrets I woułd probably approach this by finding an artist I wanted to get tattooed by first and then approach them about getting tattooed and raise this as a concern and see where that takes you.

I also wonder if our resident tattoo removal specialist @Mike Panic has any insights on this.

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Welcome to the site @pehdtsckjmba. @Graeme is kind of on point here, and to be totally honest, I don't have a solid answer for you. In the USA, there is no FDA regulations on tattoo inks, so the pigment used and the soluble solution added to make them liquid (inks) is proprietary to each manufacture, and trade secret across the board.

I'd be willing to bet you won't actually get a solid answer from anyone, and the bigger companies who produce inks won't admit to what is, or is not in anything either.

What exactly is your allergy to it? Hives, skin irritation, fever, etc.?

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Thank-you for the reply.

As much as I understand the secrecy, it's quite frustrating.

Upon contact I get immediate swelling, hives then blisters. They break and the raw skin becomes an induced eczema lasting about a week. I usually need a prescribed cortisone to calm it down. I've had it touch open cuts and the reaction is amplified and painful; having it repeatedly injected...

Not to mention the scaring.

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