The Chemistry of Tattoo Ink

IntroductionI chose the Chemistry of tattoo ink because I myself, have a tattoo. So many people everywhere have tattoos to where it’s a big part of the world. I think it’ interesting how a tattoo lasts forever, and i was curious to what makes up this body art.

Composition of ...

I found that tattoo ink is made up of pigments and carrier molecules. Pigments like organic pigments, vegetable-based pigments, and some plastic-based pigments are suspended in carrier solutions. The different pigments in tattoo ink makes all the different colors. While the pigments give all the different colors, the purpose of the carrier molecule is to keep the mixture evenly mixed, and to make it easier to apply.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

We’re going to focus on black tattoo ink. The composition of black tattoo pigments are Iron Oxide(Fe3O4), Iron Oxide(FeO), Carbon, and Logwood. One or more pigments are mixed in inks, but all of them have carriers. The carriers are mixtures of different things, usually liquids, like ethanol and purified water. Although it seems like when you get a tattoo it’s just ink that is injected into your skin, but ink has multiple components to make it what it is.

Background Research

So many different things can make up ink. There isn’t one or more specific ingredient you have to mix together to make ink used for tattooing. Many tattoo artists can mix their ink a certain way using different components to make up the pigments and carrier molecules that mix to make ink. Chemistry can be included in a lot of little things, who knew it could be apart of tattooing!


About the Author

My name is Shelby Woosley and I am a junior at senior high school. I was born in Oregon and I enjoy long walks on the beach, cats, and ice cream. Hopefully I will go to Bozeman or Missoula to major in something to do with English.