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Tree Fenrick in his office holding the black light ink. Photo by Amanda Symynk

Black light tattoos are a new trend that has people wondering if the ingredients are safe.  The trendy tattoo ink allows a person to get a tattoo but not show it off all the time.  This ink has pigments which are only visible under UV/black lights.


“I have wondered what the point is. Who’s going to see your black light/glow in the dark tattoo?” said Rebecca Ryan.  She has been getting tattooed since 2003 and has never questioned her ink’s ingredients.


Black light ink gives a glow in the dark effect under black lights.  It is invisible under regular lighting, however, there are different pigments which are visible.  Some tattoo artists question what is in it.


It’s a permanent ink, but rumour has it that it fades over time.  Tree Fenrick, a tattoo artist for 36 years, has used the black light ink.  He said fading can happen with any tattoo.   He explained that fading has many factors. Anything from the ink brand to skincare, even climate and the person’s diet can cause a tattoo to fade, he said.


So, what makes black light ink glow? “It’s the mixture of ingredients,” Fenrick says. 


The one used at his studio, Inkognito, has an organic and alcohol base.


Consumers can do in depth research on anything they decide to use on their skin.   Health Canada publishes the Hotlist, a list of ingredients banned for use in cosmetics sold to Canadians.  You can find information on everything there from deodorant to hair dye. 


The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health does not regulate the contents of tattoo inks, but focuses more on the cleanliness of piercing and tattoo businesses. The Ministry of Health is currently collaborating with the Regional Health Authority to make a Saskatchewan Personal Service Facility Best Management Practices (BMP). 


In an email Tyler McMuchy, the media relations person for Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, said  “This document is intended to assist operators of personal service facilities in providing procedures in a manner that will prevent or minimize the risk of transmission of disease.  In addition, the BMP will support the requirements when operating a personal service facility that are found in section 13 of The Health Hazard Regulations.”


Only tattoo inks which are approved by Health Canada are recommended for use in Saskatchewan. 


 “If I don’t know what’s in my own (ink) I guess I can’t really judge it,” said Ryan. 


“Any tattoo, black light or not, research it,” is Fenrick’s advice to people who are considering a tattoo of any kind.