Will Getting A Tattoo Negatively Affect My Health?


Hello all! Today I want to cover a topic that may be a bit touchy for some. Since I have spent so much time talking about how what we put on our skin affects our health, but I wanted also wanted to address things that are being put under the skin. Namely: Tattoos. I want to cover the risks, the healthier options, and the best way to care for them.

Are Tattoos toxic?

The short answer is yes. Most conventional tattoo ink has not been regulated in any way, and contain toxic heavy metals to achieve their color. The most toxic colors are black, white and red. Red ink can contain mercury, or other metals like cadmium or iron oxide. Other standard tattoo ink colors use lead, antimony, beryllium, chromium, cobalt nickel and arsenic. The more neon pigments can even contain plastics (who wants petroleum in their body?!)

How can these affect your health? 

Heavy metals can have many adverse affects. To give an overview, I’m attaching a list from an article that Dr. Axe put together which gives a much more in-depth look. But it is important to note that many off these affects have a high impact on mental health… including anxiety and depression!


You probably heard in the media about the lady that had complications from a 15+ year old tattoo, and how the toxins had caused complications in her lymph nodes. You can read about it here.

So, what if you’ve already gotten one or more tattoos, and you don’t know if the ink had toxins in it? There is an extremely high chance that it did. So, I would recommend going through a heavy metal detox. There are different things that you can do to to help your body eliminate these toxins.

Detox Foods

  1. Green leafy vegetables are some of the most effective heavy metal detox foods. Not only do they help eliminate toxins, but they are also very high in antioxidants and very anti-inflammatory. These include kale, swiss chard, broccoli sprouts and dandelion greens.
  2. Herbs are also very effective. The rule of thumb is to concentrate on the ones that are high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory. Cilantro is one of the most powerful, but others include ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, and rosemary.
  3. Foods that are very high in sulfur (like onion and garlic) are key in helping the liver detox from metals like lead and arsenic.
  4. Drink lots of water! You will want to keep hydrated while your body eliminates toxins.
  5. You will also want to eat foods that are high in omega-3 like flax seeds and chia seeds. These are high in fiber and help detox the colon and reduce inflammation. Bone broth also helps support the liver and other organs as they go through the detox process.

Other ways to detox

Additional  detox methods include chlorella, Vitamin C, shilajit, milk thistle, probiotics, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, triphala, and chelation therapy. You can read about these options in more depth in the Dr. Axe article here as he does a very thorough job.

Still want a Tattoo? Don’t despair! There are still options to incorporate tattoos into your healthy lifestyle. Healthy alternatives that are non toxic actually DO exist! There are even some vegan options for those who still desire the body art, but want to keep their health clean.

So now to the good part, what are some of the ink color alternatives?

  • Black – Carbon and logwood
  • White – titanium dioxide
  • Yellow – tumeric
  • Green – monoazo (a carbon-based pigment)
  • Blue – copper or sodium + aluminum (which is not really safe, so make sure you do your research!)
  • Red – Naphthol (spot test this, as it can still cause an allergic reaction)
  • Purple – dioxazine and carbazole

To get actual names of ink brands, I turned to Adria Decorte’s article here. She has put in quite a bit of research into finding different brands to look into. A great read, but to give you a breakdown, the top two brands for a non-toxic and vegan alternative inks were Eternal and Skin Candy. If any of you are in the DFW area, my best friend loves going to North Texas Tattoo, and they use Eternal, and do a phenomenal job. We have nothing but praise for their work. To look into Eternal, you can read this brand’s quality, non-toxic standards here.

Lastly, let’s address the topic of taking care of your tattoo naturally. Aside from the usual care precautions for keeping the tattoo clean and sterile, there are actually all-natural products that are petroleum and paraben free. In addition they contain wonderful moisturizing and healing oils such as shea, coconut, sunflower and essential oils. I hope to have a product review out soon.

There you are my dears! Hope this was helpful in giving alternative options for your tattoos. For those of you who already have tattoos, there are very practical ways to improve your physical and mental health by detoxing your body from those heavy metals!


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