A look at the REACH-regulation in Europe

Tattoo ink ban! Colored tattoos despite the REACH regulation?

Choosing the right tattoo design is not always easy. The styles and meanings of tattoos are as varied as the people who wear them. We have put together some tips to help you find your perfect design!

In this blog article we explain the regulation in detail and how it will affect tattoos in the future. However, one thing is certain: the trend for colored tattoos will continue!

Tattoo Inks – a brief Introduction

Tattoo colors are solutions with a high proportion of color pigments that are worked into the skin. The colors are inserted into the dermis (epidermis) with the help of a needle and then migrate minimally over time.

The ingredients of tattoo inks influence both the color in the skin and the durability of the tattoo. The composition of the colors is relatively simple. In addition to various pigments, preservatives, carriers such as alcohol and water, it also contains substances that soothe the skin during the tattooing process.

The main components of tattoo inks are pigments. These are solid or liquid substances that absorb or reflect light to create color. Tattoo colors consist of inorganic pigments as they are more durable than organic pigments. 

The durability of a tattoo depends not only on the pigments used, but also on the carriers. These are used to keep the pigment particles in a liquid consistency and ensure that the color pigments are evenly distributed.

Preservatives are added in very small amounts to extend the life of the ink and prevent bacterial or fungal infection. Some preservatives are not safe for use on the skin and can cause allergic reactions. It is therefore important to buy tattoo inks from reputable manufacturers who use high quality ingredients. We buy our tattoo inks exclusively from a Swiss supplier to ensure compliance at all times.

What impact does the REACH regulation have on tattoos?

REACH stands for “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals”. It is a European regulation that came into effect on January 5, 2022. The regulation was issued by the European Chemicals Agency ECHA and is not limited to the tattoo or permanent make up industry but also applies to other chemicals used in everyday applications.

Since January 2022, only tattoo inks that meet the requirements of the REACH regulation may be used. This means that certain ingredients will have to be avoided or limited during production, and mandatory information will have to be included on labels.

Tattoo inks have often been criticized in recent years for their ingredients, which have been linked to skin allergies and genetic mutations. The new regulation aims to ensure that chemicals are produced and used safely in Europe. From now on, tattoo inks will have to meet certain specifications in order to avoid health risks.

Manufacturers of tattoo inks must demonstrate that their products are free of these chemicals. These include certain azo dyes, carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals and methanol. There are also banned preservatives, stabilizers and plasticisers. 

Even before the regulation came into force, REACH-compliant paints with harmless ingredients were available, but only from a few manufacturers. Now most tattoo ink manufacturers are following.


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