Tattoo Ink Infections May Result from Microorganism Contamination, FDA Warns

Several different types of tattoo ink have been recalled, due to microorganism contamination, which may poser serious infection risks for consumers, according to federal regualtors.

The tattoo ink recalls were announced in an FDA safety alert issued this week, which warns consumers, tattoo artists, and retailers to avoid using the recalled inks due to a risk that they may be contaminated with microorganisms that can cause infection.

FDA investigators discovered the contamination during inspections this year and in 2018, as well as through routine surveys and microbiological analysis of tattoo ink samples.

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Tattoo inks contaminated with bacteria can cause infections and lead to serious health injuries when injected into the skin during tattooing procedures. Common symptoms of infection include rashes or lesions consisting of red papule in areas where the contaminated ink has been applied.

Tattoo ink infections can cause permanent scarring, and can be mistaken for other health conditions, including allergic reactions. These conditions can have similar signs and symptoms leading to misdiagnosis. It is important to contact your doctor if you experience any abnormal symptoms after receiving a tattoo.

The six tattoo inks being recalled include:

  • All lots of Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics.
  • Dynamic Color black tattoo ink manufactured by Dynamic Color Inc, lots 12024090 and 12026090.
  • Solid Ink Diablo red tattoo ink manufactured by Color Art Inc, (dba Solid Ink), (dba Antone’s Ink), lot 10.19.18.

Consumers interested in getting a tattoo should ask tattoo artists about the tattoo inks used and avoid using the inks from the recall list. Tattoo artists and retailers should make sure not to sell or use the recalled inks.

Anyone who experiences side effects, such as infection or other injury, from using contaminated tattoo ink should contact their doctor and report the problem to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.


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