The FDA is warning people about contaminated tattoo ink that could lead to dangerous bacterial infections

iStockSix kinds of ink were found to contain bacteria.

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, it’s important to feel confident about the type of ink that will be used on your body.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that some inks have been contaminated with bacteria. On Wednesday, the agency announced that microorganisms were found in six kinds of tattoo ink during a routine inspection.

“Tattoo inks contaminated with microorganisms can cause infections and lead to serious health injuries when injected into the skin during a tattooing procedure, since there is an increased risk of infection any time the skin barrier is broken,” the FDA said.

The contaminated tattoo inks were:

  • Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics (all lots)
  • Dynamic Colour – Black tattoo ink manufactured by Dynamic Colour Inc (lots 12024090 and 12026090)
  • Solid Ink-Diablo(red) tattoo ink manufactured by Colour Art Inc. (dba Solid Ink) (dba Antone’s Ink) (lot 10.19.18)

The FDA is recommending that anyone considering getting a tattoo avoid these inks, and that tattoo artists make sure not to use these inks in their stores.

The tattoo process requires breaking the skin with needles in order to permanently disperse ink droplets that create the tattoo. But if the ink used contains bacteria, that bacteria can get into the body and cause a serious infection.

Signs of infections from tattoo ink include rashes in the area where the tattoo was done as well as lesions with red spots, according to the FDA. Sometimes, people will mistake tattoo infections with a general allergic reaction because the symptoms are similar. A tattoo infection can also result in permanent scarring in the area.

If a person notices any of these signs, they should see their healthcare provider right away – a doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the body.

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