If you have developed a desire to get inked, you might want to give it a second thought. According to a new study toxic impurities in the ink of tattoos can cause severe damage to the immune system.
The findings suggest that toxic contaminants like nickel, chromium, manganese or cobalt in the tattoo ink can travel inside the body in the form of nano particles and cause chronic enlargement of the lymph nodes, which an essential part of our immune system.
The study that was published in the journal Scientific Reports states that besides carbon black, the second most common ingredient used in tattoo inks is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment usually applied to create certain shades when mixed with colorant.
X-ray fluorescence measurements were used by researchers at European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Germany which allowed them to locate titanium dioxide at the micro and nano range in the skin and the lymphatic environment.
They found a broad range of particles up to several micrometres in size in human skin, but only smaller (nano) particles were transported to the lymph nodes, leading to chronic enlargement of the lymph node.