September 3, 2014
"It doesn't matter how good a tattoo looks if it makes you sick," said Ben Miller, owner of Ben Around Tattoos.
That is the same message the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to deliver as the agency warns people getting tattoos: They can get infections even in the cleanest conditions.
The FDA has recalled White and Blue Lion tattoo ink after its products tested positive for bacterial contamination, something that can cause skin infections, and bacteria to spread through the bloodstream.
"The ink that's in question right now is a part of an all-in-one kit that no professional tattooer would ever purchase," said Miller.
Miller has over 21 years of experience in the business and says while anyone getting a tattoo at a professional shop should not be too concerned about the current ink recall; the FDA's warning should not be ignored.
"I really want people to be aware of the safety concerns that are involved with pigments and getting tattoos, but all of those dangers lie with getting tattoos outside of a professional environment in someone's kitchen, in someone's house, because they're using whatever products they can find on eBay," he says.
Miller says it is up to you to make sure you're getting inked the safe way.
"Don't be afraid to ask a tattoo artist questions. If they're afraid to answer them that means they're hiding something, so always keep an open dialogue with your artist and never be afraid to ask them anything," he says.
Experts say it is important that any tattoo ink have manufacturer information on the bottle, a brand name and a location of the business.
If it doesn't, that could be a red flag.