Modern tattoos cause high concentrations of hazardous pigments in skin
Version of Record online: 18 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Authors
Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 228–233, April 2008
How to Cite
Engel, E., Santarelli, F., Vasold, R., Maisch, T., Ulrich, H., Prantl, L., König, B., Landthaler, M. and Bäumler, W. (2008), Modern tattoos cause high concentrations of hazardous pigments in skin. Contact Dermatitis, 58: 228–233. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2007.01301.x
- Issue online: 18 MAR 2008
- Version of Record online: 18 MAR 2008
- Accepted for publication 1 October 2007
- pigment concentration;
Background: Modern tattoo colourants frequently consist of azo pigments that not only contain multiple impurities but also are originally produced for car paint and the dyeing of consumer goods.
Objective: In order to be able to assess the health risk of tattoos, it is important to determine the pigment concentration in human skin.
Methods: We tattooed excised pigskin and human skin with a common tattoo pigment (Pigment Red 22) under various conditions. After tattooing, we quantitatively extracted the pigment in order to determine the pigment concentration in skin.
Results: The concentration of pigments ranged from about 0.60 to 9.42 mg/cm2 of tattooed skin (mean value 2.53 mg/cm2) depending upon the size of the pigment crystals, the pigment concentration applied to the skin surface, and the respective procedure of tattooing.
Conclusion: In conclusion, high concentrations of colourants are injected into the skin during tattooing and based upon this quantification, a risk assessment of tattooing ought to be carried out.