Can You Tattoo With India Ink? Stick and Poke?

For thousands of years, people have used different tools to create body art. From coal to powdered plants turn into pastes, we’ve tried everything that will leave a print on our skin and make it look interesting and beautiful. But, ever since we discovered ink and the tattoo machine, there was no need for anything else. Sure, there are still some traditional temporary tattooing options, like henna paste used for creating incredible patterns on the skin. Nevertheless, the standard tattoo ink is the best and safest option for regular tattooing.

Now, people are always curious and interested in finding other ways to get tattooed. That is why experimentation with other ink options is so widespread. One of the latest topics of interest is the so-called India ink, also known as Chinese ink. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at what Indian ink is and whether it can be used for standard tattooing. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Can You Tattoo With India Ink: Explained

What Is India Ink?

India ink, also known as Chinese ink, is a simplified colored or black ink used for printing, drawing, and outlining documents, comic books, and comic strips. India ink is also used in medical applications and has a wide application in professional arts and crafts tools. For example, Faber Castell uses India ink in their artist pens.

What Is India Ink Made From?

The standard India ink is made from fine soot, also known as lampblack, alongside the water. The soot and water create a liquid matter that doesn’t require a binder. Once combined, the carbon molecules in the mix create a waterproof layer after drying, making the ink incredibly useful in a variety of applications. Despite not needing a binder, in some cases, gelatin or shellac may be added to make the ink more durable and solid in form. The binder, however, can make the ink non-waterproof.

Is India Ink Used For Tattooing?

Generally speaking, no, India ink is not made to be used as a substitute for the regular tattoo ink, nor can/should it be used as such. India ink is not meant to be used in the body in any way. Unfortunately, many tend to use India ink for stick-and-poke tattoos, but at their own risks. Tattoo artists and ink experts around the world strictly advise against using India ink for tattooing, taking into consideration numerous reasons, from the ink composition to the ways it can affect one’s health. More on that in the following paragraphs.

Also Read: Can You Use Pen Ink For Stick-and-Poke Tattoo?

Is India Ink Safe For Use/Tattooing?

Some people tend to avoid general health advice when it comes to the use of India ink for tattooing. You may even find forums and communities online discussing that it can be difficult to hand-poke tattoos using India ink and that otherwise, the ink is completely safe for use. And sure, some people may have used the ink for the purpose of tattooing and they may have had an excellent experience. However, that is not a standard expectation and definitely not the case with the majority who use this ink.

India ink is NOT safe for use on the skin or in the body. It was not designed for such use and, when used in the body, it can cause a range of potentially serious health problems. Generally, India ink is toxic; it contains soot and can contain questionable, toxic binders that can cause a range of skin reactions and potential infections. Ink rejection is one of the most common outcomes of India ink tattoos, especially when paired with non-sterile, home-grade tools (used for stick-and-poke tattoos).

Now, you may remember us mentioning India ink being used in a variety of medical applications. That is the type of India ink specifically made for medical applications and is deemed non-toxic. One example of such application is colonic tattooing with India ink, where the ink is completely diluted if needed, and injected with sterilized equipment by a medical professional.

But, the India ink you can buy online for the purpose of tattooing is toxic and unregulated. You may not even know which ingredients the product contains, which makes the whole India ink ordeal too risky for your health.

Also Read:

Other Disadvantages Of Using India Ink

If the potential skin infection hasn’t been enough to persuade you against using India ink, here are some of the other disadvantages that one may experience with this particular ink in tattooing circumstances;

  • Despite being marketed as permanent, India ink is actually temporary. Sure, the ink residue may stay on the skin for a longer time, but the actual sharpness and vividness of the color will disappear, quickly. Ink fading is truly an issue with this one.
  • If you’re doing the stick-and-poke tattoo yourself, you won’t be able to push the needle and the India ink deep enough into the dermis of the skin (where tattoo ink should be). Therefore, the ink will simply leak out and your tattoo will not only look good, but you may even risk skin damage and potential infection.
  • Sometimes people want to get the tattoo right and try to push the needle deep enough into the skin. However, it is extremely easy to get from deep enough to way too deep. This can cause serious outcomes, like bleeding, nerve damage, skin infection, ink leaking, and so much more.

We always advise two things; get your tattoo done by a professional and stay away from random ink alternative ideas. Without professional and proper tools, you’re risking some major health issues, as well as having an ugly, hand-poked tattoo on your body.

Final Thoughts

There are so many articles online trying to convince the readers India ink is excellent and safe for use in the body. We’re here to tell you IT IS NOT. Stay away from India ink if you want to keep your good health and actually have a good tattoo. Book an appointment with an actual tattoo artist who will do their job impeccably. It is never smart to play with your health, so try to keep that in mind. The damage you do to your health is in most cases irreversible.

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