What colours are there..?
Well, bluntly put, there aren't really any limits today on the colour options available. There are some great tattoo ink manufacturers. It really is almost as complex as choosing colours from a Dulux colour swatch. No longer is it simply a case of primary or secondary colours. The Intenze range boasts 54 different colours. Millenium Colorworks produces around 38 different colors and then there are the odd specialist inks such as UV tattoo inks. All of this makes for great scope for your artist and a better tattoo for you.
Generally for the tattooing, (and this is not neccessarily relevant for all countries) a wide range of dyes and pigments can be used; from inorganic materials like titanium dioxide and iron oxides to carbon black, azo dyes, and acridine, quinoline, phthalocyanine and naphthol derivates.
Iron oxide pigments are used in greater extent in cosmetic tattooing.
Substances not approved for cosmetic use: Pigment Orange 36, Pigment Yellow 74, Pigment Red 170, Pigment Yellow 97, Pigment Red 146, Pigment Brown 25, Pigment Red 266
- Allowed for cosmetics with only temporary contact with skin: Pigment Violet 23, Pigment Red 122
Allowed in all cosmetics that do not come in contact with mucous membranes: Pigment Yellow 1, Pigment Orange 43
- Allowed in all cosmetics except those used around the eyes: Pigment Green 7
- Allowed in all cosmetics: Pigment White 6 (titanium dioxide), Pigment Blue 15, Pigment Black 7 (carbon black), Pigment Brown 6 (iron oxide), Pigment Red 101 (iron(III) oxide), Jernoxid (iron(II) oxide), Pigment Yellow 42 (iron oxide-hydroxide), Sudan Red, Food Yellow 13 (Quinoline Yellow WS), Mangan Violet (manganese ammonium pyrophosphate), Food Red 17 (Allura Red AC), Food Blue 2 (Brilliant Blue FCF), Acid Red 87 (Eosin Y)
Recently, a blacklight-reactive tattoo ink using PMMA microcapsules has surfaced. The technical name is BIOMETRIX System-1000, and is marketed under the name "Chameleon Tattoo Ink". This ink is reportedly quite safe for use, and claims to be FDA approved for use on wildlife that may enter the food supply.
All artists should obviously only be using inks licensed for use in your country of residence. If in doubt ask. Any half decent artist should not mind answering any questions or general concerns you may have about the ink being used, or indeed the process.