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khubilai

Question for Tattooers (or anyone who may know)about markers used for free handing.

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Are the pens or markers you guys and gals using hypo allergenic? Are they made specifically for tattooing? The reason I ask, is whenever my artist free hands on me, my tattoo stays raised for quite some time, sometimes up to 5 months if I recall. I just recently had some new work on the inside of my thigh, and the tattoo is red all around the border, the outline is raised, and my skin is very irritated. 2 months ago, we worked on the outer thigh and the outline was stenciled. I healed up beautifully and quickly.

I've never had a problem when the outline has been stenciled, and never a problem with shading. The common denominator as far as I can tell, is the ink from the marker being pressed into my skin during the outline. This irritation also happened a few years ago during the free handing of the waves on my forearm, and several years ago while doing the background elements on my other sleeve.

I've brought up this issue before in the tattoo healing thread, but I don't think it has anything to do with how I am healing my tattoo. I also know this isn't an infection. I feel fine otherwise, no fever. It's just frustrating trying to figure this out, because it prevents me from getting more work when I want it.

My tattooer is well known, and well regarded. I've brought this up in the past to him but he doesn't really have any answers for me. I don't want it to seem like I am 'blaming' him, so I haven't brought it up.

Right now I am taking some benadryl at night, and trying the cabbage leaf thing I read about in another thread.

Any insights into this issue I have would be greatly appreciated.

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My artist freehanded the cord winding through the peonies on my back with a marker, and about two weeks later, that whole part of the outline became red and itchy and raised for a couple of weeks. No other part of the tattoo that had been done the same day with a stencil did that. She hasn't had to freehand anything since, since it's all shading and color we're doing now, so it hasn't happened again.

ETA: that particular marker wasn't a Sharpie, fwiw.

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I've never had a problem with this, though I believe there is some discussion of it elsewhere on the forum (maybe a thread about raised lines?), and usually when I've been drawn on it's with Sharpie, but I did once have an artist draw things on me with a surgical marker. The ink was violet, much like a stencil, if I remember correctly because it was a while ago. Maybe try that and see if you have better results with it?

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Thanks guys. I'm pretty sure I'm the guy who started the raised lines thread a few years ago. All in all, I've been tattooed 17 times, all by the same artist, and had this happen 3 or 4 times. I just don't know why this happens. I hate these kind of threads, but I figured who better to ask then a bunch of peopled who tattoo or are heavily tattooed.

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@khubilai, Don't take this as gospel as I can't be absolutely sure of the details having heard this years ago but I vaguely remember the shop I go to once did a children's "tattoo" thing for a community festival. I remember one of the guys doing a practice one on himself to see how they'd come out with the ink or paint he was using. I remember asking why they didn't just use sharpies, figuring it would be easier and they could create more intricate images the little ones would go nuts over. If the kids wanted to get rid of it they could just wash it off with a hearty scrub (Silly me, not thinking that perhaps they wouldn't want the temp tattoos stuck on for days and days). Anyway, I believe their response was about not being able to use it due to allergies or skin reactions to the ink. I remember being a bit surprised because I've never had reactions so had no idea people could have issues with it.

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Thanks everyone. I found a thread where Ironchef mentioned having a similar reaction sometimes, and a pharmacist called it contact dermititis. I'll be seeing a dermatologist for a regular check up next week and see what they say. In the meantime, I'll try some Benadryl cream on it for now.

One more question if I may? I know this site isn't supposed to discuss tattooing itself, but is there a difference between lining and shading, as far as trauma to the skin goes? Or, does lining push ink deeper into the skin versus shading? Like I said, I'm just trying to figure out why this happens sometimes and not others.

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