With new trends popping up every day, it can be hard to keep up and try to stay up-to-date and in touch. This applies to almost every industry in the world, but especially to the world of beauty and body art.
When it comes to body art in particular, tattoos as a whole are always trendy, but some tattoo styles come in and out of trend every few years. One of such tattoo styles regards glow-in-the-dark tattoos, also known as UV tattoos.
It seems that during the pandemic in 2020 people completely disregarded this type of tattoo. Naturally, since the whole world is on lockdown, and there is nowhere to go (at night especially), glow-in-the-dark tattoos lost their meaning.
However, with the vaccines and partial reopenings of some countries and cities in the world in 2021, people are starting to think forward, beyond restrictions and towards freedom. A symbol of both, for people who love nightlife and clubbing, are the UV tattoos.
So, for whatever the reason you may be here, reading this article, it is always important to get informed and educated on something before doing it; right? So, if you’re interested in getting a UV tattoo, or you simply want to know more about this upcoming trend, then you’re at the right place.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at UV tattoos, how they work and whether you should get one!
UV Tattoos: 8 Thing You Need to Know
What Are UV Tattoos?
UV tattoos, also known as glow-in-the-dark or blacklight tattoos, are tattoos done with special ink that becomes visible under ultraviolet light. Depending on the ink used for the tattoos, these tattoos can be almost completely invisible during the regular light exposure, which is super convenient for people who hide their tattoos for personal or work-related reasons.
That is why these tattoos are generally popular among people who are more subtle about their body art.
However, because of the effect of UV tattoos, they are especially appealing to the night-clubbing scene and raver community. At such clubs and parties, people dance in the dark with only partial lighting, often in the UV light spectrum. During such events, these tattoos come to life and look amazing.
How Are UV Tattoos Done?
UV tattoos are done just like regular tattoos. However, instead of regular pigment/ink, the tattooist will use neon ink. This type of ink is mostly similar to white ink. This means that the ink is a bit thicker in consistency and doesn’t blend that well with other pigments.
Therefore, for the tattoo to look good, it needs to be done by a professional tattoo artist, just like any tattoo for that matter. The tattooist will carefully apply the ink to the skin and lay in the colors one by one. The tattooist needs to be extra careful not to smear the ink since it will stay like that and look smeared under UV light.
The rest of the tattooing process is generally the same as for the standard black or colored tattoo.
Professional tattoo artists don’t usually do UV tattoos on their own. They believe the neon ink looks the best when paired with a standard black ink tattoo. However, if a client is secretive about their tattoo and wants it to only be visible under the UV light, the tattooist will most likely do it as such.
Are UV Tattoos or UV Ink Safe?
It is no secret that there are a few safety concerns in regards to glow-in-the-dark tattoos.
First of all, neon ink (or any tattoo ink for that matter) is not approved by the FDA in the USA. The reason for this lies in the pigment used in the ink, which has not been traditionally regulated or approved by the FDA.
Some neon ink brands claim their ink is FDA regulated and approved, which is completely false. So, if you’re about to buy such ink, or your tattoo artists used it, then step away as soon as you can.
Another issue is the ingredients of neon inks, or to be more precise, the lack of insight into the exact ingredients used to make the ink. Because ink brands keep the ingredients to themselves (and there are no publicly available ingredient lists), it can be hard to know whether you’re using a safe product or not. This is especially difficult for tattooists and people with ink allergies.
Speaking of ink allergies, some people have experienced skin damage and reactions after being tattooed with neon ink. The complications included;
- Skin itching
- Development of dermatitis
- Skin irritation and burning
- Tattoo complications if not protected from the sunlight
- Tattoo complication if exposed to intense/scented creams and lotions
Note: One of the known ingredients of neon, UV ink is phosphorus, which is responsible for the glow-in-the-dark effect of the UV tattoos. There are major concerns about this ingredient being carcinogenic, but more research is required for an official statement in regards to the use of phosphorus in UV ink.
Are UV Tattoos Really Invisible In Daylight?
We mentioned earlier that UV tattoos appeal to people who are more subtle and secretive about their body arts since they’re generally invisible in the daylight. However, this invisibility assumption is true to some extent.
For example, neon ink is not completely invisible. It is actually transparent but because of its consistency and ingredients, it will show on the skin in the first few months after the tattoo is done. This especially applies if the tattoo is done as a part of a regular black ink tattoo. In that case, it will surely be visible, especially the pale tan lines.
However, after the tattoo has completely healed (and was properly hidden and protected from the sunlight), it will become mostly invisible to the naked eye. The tan lines will mostly fade away and no one will know you have an awesome tattoo unless they see you under a direct Uv light source.
Are UV Tattoos Expensive?
Yes! Uv tattoos are known to be significantly more expensive than regular tattoos. Of course, the final tattoo cost depends on numerous different factors, like; the size of the tattoo, the design, the coloring, the duration of the process, etc.
One thing we can say will increase your final UV tattoo cost is the time- and labor-intensity factor. The UV tattoos take much longer to complete than regular ones, mostly due to a more difficult ink handling.
So, overall, you can expect to pay your UV tattoos anywhere between $50 to $200 more than the regular tattoo, depending on the tattooist’s hourly rate of course.
How Long Do UV Tattoos Last?
There is no way of telling exactly how long will any type of tattoo last you. The duration of the tattoo depends on your skin type, the execution of the tattoo, and the tattoo aftercare. If everything’s done properly, tattoos are generally expected to last a lifetime with some minor changes in color saturation and changes brought by skin aging.
When it comes to UV tattoos, they are surely expected to last shorter than the regular ones. At best, UV tattoos can last between 5 and 8 years, depending on how well you take care of them. After some time, UV tattoos are known to start fading gradually. This can be fixed with some touch-ups, but sometimes the touch-ups can be more expensive than the tattoo itself.
Should You Get a UV Tattoo?
Getting a tattoo is an exceptional experience for many people, and an increasing number of people are getting inked by the day. However, there is still discrimination and assumptions about people with tattoos.
That is why many experience issues at work interviews or at work itself. Covering tattoos is a requirement in the majority of workplaces, especially where one works with clients directly.
So, if you wish to get a tattoo without getting in trouble at work (or your conservative family), then a UV tattoo might save the day. Even though it will be a bit visible in the beginning, once fully healed your UV tattoo will be invisible to the naked eye. Unless your boss starts walking around the office with a UV light, you should be safe.
However, before you decide to get a UV tattoo, you should take into consideration the potential cost of the tattoo and maybe try to save up. You should also think of a tattoo design and the frequency of your exposure to UV light. Without this light, your tattoo will be just, well, sitting there on your skin, invisible to all the fun.
So, if you’re someone who likes clubbing, going out, enjoying the nightlife, but also be proper at work and in front of the more conservative members of the society, then the UV tattoo is surely for you.
Best UV Ink Brands To Have In Mind – For Tattooists and Clients
Earlier, we mentioned that no tattoo ink is regulated and approved by the FDA, and the majority of tattoo ink brands do not disclose product ingredients publicly. However, this should not intimidate you into thinking that no ink out there is safe. You should get your UV tattoo, but we recommend you have the following brands in mind for the best results!
So, regardless of whether you’re looking for excellent UV ink brands for your clients, or you as a client want to be tattooed with only high-quality ink, here are our recommendations;
- Skin Candy Bloodline UV Tattoo Ink – this is one of the best UV tattoo ink recommended by professional tattoo artists. It is blacklight-sensitive ink created with non-toxic, high-quality ingredients. Even though it is not FDA evaluated, the ink is generally safe and heals well even with different skin types. If you’re a tattoo artist looking for quality ink, you should definitely go for this one. However, keep in mind that you will need to regularly shake the bottle of ink to prevent it from gumming up.
- Millennium Mom’s Nuclear UV Tattoo Ink – another exceptional UV tattoo ink brand is Millennium Mom’s. Their UV ink is exceptionally smooth and easy to work with, which isn’t generally the case with UV ink. The ink is exceptionally bright under UV light and you will surely stand out. The rich tones also remain long after application. This UV tattoo ink is a time-tested favorite among tattoo professionals, so you know you’re dealing with a reliable, high-quality product.
- Kuro Sumi Light Responsive Tattoo Ink – Kuro Sumi is one of the best tattoo ink brands in the world. Their ink is used by professional tattoo artists globally since they’re known for using natural, safe, and high-quality ingredients. Their light-responsive ink does not fall under the category of UV ink, but it does respond to UV light sources by providing an enhanced brightness of the ink. So, if you’re looking for a vegan, light-responsive ink that is safe and reliable, look no further than Kuro Sumi.
It is no lie that UV tattoos are a lot of fun. And they surely cater to people who are fun-oriented, but during the day want their tattoos to be subtle or even invisible. If this sounds like something you’d like to have, then go and get a UV tattoo. Hopefully, the clubs will be soon open so you can show off your new ink and enjoy it in its full glory.
We, of course, recommend you ensure that this would be a safe decision for you, in regards to your health. If you suspect you might be allergic to ink or experience a skin reaction to the tattooing process, make sure to talk to a medical professional, a dermatologist, or even a professional tattoo artist.
Your safety and health should always be the top priority! You can always have fun even without the tattoo!