FDA Advisory on Tattoo Inks

May 23, 2019 | Michelle Shapiro

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers, tattoo artists, and retailers of the potential for serious injury from use of tattoo inks that are contaminated with bacteria. Tattoo inks contaminated with microorganisms can cause infections and lead to serious health injuries when injected into the skin during a tattooing procedure, since there is an increased risk of infection any time the skin barrier is broken.

Commonly reported symptoms of tattoo-ink-associated infections include the appearance of rashes or lesions consisting of red papules in areas where the contaminated ink has been applied. Some tattoo infections can result in permanent scarring. Indications of an infection can be difficult to recognize as other conditions (e.g., allergic reactions) may initially have similar signs and symptoms, leading to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments.

The following tattoo inks have been voluntarily recalled because they are contaminated with microorganisms:

  • Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics (all lots distributed from 8/6/2018 through 10/1/2018) – Recall Completion Date 5/17/2019
  • 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)

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About Michelle Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro is a communication specialist for the Environmental Health & Disability team at NACCHO.

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