scientific tattoos

Tattoo ink contaminants can end up in lymph nodes, study finds 

Microscopic particles from tattoo ink can migrate into the body and wind up in lymph nodes, crucial hubs of the human immune system, a new study has revealed.

The tiny particles – measuring a few millionths to a few billionths of a centimetre – include molecules from preservatives and contaminants such as nickel, chromium, manganese and cobalt, researchers reported in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

Tattoo colouring is composed of various organic and inorganic pigments, and can be contaminated with toxic impurities.

Besides carbon black, the second-most common ingredient used in tattoo inks is titanium dioxide, a white pigment also used in food additives, sunscreens and paints.

The chemical has been associated with delayed healing, itching and skin irritation.

‘No one checks the chemical composition of the colours, but our study shows that maybe they should,’ says a researcher. Photograph: Alamy

Illustrated Science 144: Tattoo You

Scientists have found that people with multiple tattoos have a slightly tougher immune system than people with none. Researchers found that tattooing prepares the immune system to fight different types of stress associated with soft tissue damage.

Original illustration: Indian Meal Moth metamorphosis

Available here on my Etsy store!

Tattooed with tattoo ink and tattoo equipment on a pvc sheet.
Size is cm 30x42 (inches 11.8x16,5)
The work is sold unframed, rolled gently in a cardboard tube.