Turns out your tattoo artist may have given you more than ink.New research has revealed that nanoparticles from tattoo needles are traveling to the body’s lymph nodes — a possible explanation for some allergic reactions to tramp stamps, cutesy calf ribbons and inspirational quotes.
Initial research in 2017 that pigments leak from the tattoo site and amass in the body’s lymph nodes. But the new study into the phenomenon has ID’d chromium and nickel particles migrating the same way, according to the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology.
“We were following up on our previous study, by trying to find the link between iron, chromium and nickel and the coloring of the inks,” study author Ines Schreiver, of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany, “After studying several human tissue samples and finding metallic components, we realized that there must be something else…Then we thought of testing the needle and that was our ‘eureka’ moment.”
Using powerful X-rays, researchers found tattoo needle particles were only present when coupled with pigments containing titanium dioxide — an abrasive agent commonly used in white tattoo ink.
But there is a silver lining for all you tattooed ladies and men: it could probably only poison you slowly.
“The fact that all pigments and wear particles are deposited in lymph nodes calls for special attention to be placed on allergy development,” says Schreiver. “Unfortunately, today, we can’t determine the exact impact on human health and possible allergy development deriving from the tattoo needle wear. These are long-term effects which can only be assessed in long-term epidemiological studies that monitor the health of thousands of people over decades.”
We’re not saying don’t get inked, we just want you to know everything.