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Three basic components and differences of tattoo pigments

by:Qinmei     2022-10-28

The most basic classification of semi-permanent tattoo pigments is divided into three categories according to the source of their components: iron oxide, inorganic and organic.

The choice of pigment type depends on the tattoo artist's preference, method of operation and the type of skin of the client, although recently, the preferred choice has been formulations consisting of organic and inorganic pigments. In fact, over 95% of tattoo pigments on the market contain both organic and inorganic elements. This combination can achieve the desired effect of most tattoo artists.

What ingredients are tattoo pigments made of?
Iron oxide
This is the most widely used pigment ingredient in semi-permanent makeup. They are obtained from ferric oxide, such as stone chips and rust, to which water, glycerin, witch hazel, and other chemicals are added as binders. They are most often used to reproduce the effect of blushes, eyeshadows and foundations (hence, micropigmentation anywhere on the body), but can also be used in lip glosses. This is due to the fact that iron oxides have a very wide range of colors.

It can be divided into three categories–Yellow iron oxide, red iron oxide and black iron oxide–Basic tattoo pigment composition. By mixing these basic colors in different proportions, you can create almost any shade you need for brow correction. Therefore, they are also commonly used for scalp micropigmentation.

Their greatest advantage is the fact that they provide almost complete opacity.

Since iron oxide is considered the most stable option, it has been used in semi-permanent tattoos for a long time, but tattooists should be aware of the fact that pure, unmixed iron oxide is actually prone to discoloration, not Uniform fading and pigment migration. This is especially problematic for beginners, as experienced tattooists have the skills to avoid color migration and can closely predict how the color will behave once injected.

For these reasons, the popularity of pure iron oxide based pigments has declined.

Inorganic Pigment
Inorganic pigments are made by adding the element iron oxide to more derivatives. They are called inorganics because they are synthetically produced from metals (titanium oxide, manganese violet, ultramarine, and the mineral kaolinite AKA china clay). Technically, iron oxides also fall into this category, but their widespread use distinguishes them from the rest of the inorganic pigments.

The purpose of adding iron oxide is to provide solid color and opacity, and to expand the shade range. Titanium dioxide is mostly used for lighter shades, while iron oxide is mostly used for darker shades.

They are non-toxic, unaffected by light and insoluble, which is important to prevent color migration.

Inorganic colorants are the least likely to cause allergic reactions, which is why they are the best choice for customers who have used them before.

organic pigment
Relatively speaking, there are few, albeit wide, companies producing pure organic colorants. Carbon is often the basis of organic chemistry, so they are basically carbon derivatives. In the past, they were called coal tar or aniline and were obtained from plants and animals: brown pigments in nuts, green pigments in kiwifruit, blue or red pigments in berries. They can be absorbed by human cells and fade with the metabolism of the human body. Generally, the color retention time is short, and the color needs to be replenished in about 2 years.

Today, all the colors available are made in the laboratory by combining carbon with different substances, most commonly nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. By changing the scale, the color can be modified.

Another common ingredient in organic pigments for semi-permanent tattoos is alumina hydroxide. The substance is insoluble, helps maintain color, and makes the pigment heavier so it settles better in the skin.

Usually, pigments used for lip and cheek tattoos and areola tattoos are mainly organic formulations due to the brightness of the color.

Today's organic pigment formulations are hypoallergenic, also due to aluminum hydroxide, which“cover”removes the pigment molecules and prevents them from directly reacting with the tissue. They are also called lakes or lake pigments.

Organic pigments are more affected by sunlight exposure than inorganic pigments - they fade faster. The chemicals in skin care products can also do more damage to this type, so it's recommended that you switch to natural skin care products. Adding titanium dioxide can easily solve the problem of accelerated fading, but the formula is no longer purely organic.

Generally, the quality of light shades is better than that of dark shades.

The molecule of elemental carbon is the smallest of all ingredients used in tattoo pigments. It has a black, opaque color, so it is often used in permanent eyeliners. However, for inexperienced tattooists, carbon-based pigments are not recommended for the eyeliner area because of the high risk of color migration due to the small particle size.

water-based pigment
As a relatively new tattoo pigment, water-based pigments have appeared on the market. They differ from the types of pigments mentioned in that they contain about 45% water and are reported to be purely vegetable in origin, without any iron oxides.

Some tattooists claim that this is the best option for oily skin, which often does not retain pigment very well and often requires regular touch-ups.

Shelf life
The shelf life of a bottle of semi-permanent tattoo ink is 1 to 3 years after opening. It is crucial for tattoo artists to never use expired pigments.

inferior pigment
Using poor quality pigments can result in uneven coloring, discoloration, and color migration. Overall, the result is certainly not beautiful.
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