The Ultimate Guide to UV and Blacklight Tattoos

black light tattoos

Did you know that the Islamic religion considers the practice of getting tattoos ‘haram’ or prohibited? If you are a tattoo lover though, there’s probably nothing that could stop you from getting innumerable tattoos on your body. 

Due to the growing popularity of body art, many new tattoo techniques are popping up as well. One of these is black light tattoos (also called UV tattoos). In the article below, we chat about this trend and how you can avail yourself of a beautiful UV tattoo as well. 

What Are UV or Black Light Tattoos?

A typical tattoo is visible to the naked eye without any embellishments or tools. So if you get a regular tattoo, everyone around you will be able to see it when you walk around without any issues. That’s why you might have to cover it up if you work at a conservative organization or need it to hide it from your caretakers.

With a UV or black light tattoo, the results are quite different. The tattoo is only visible when it’s placed under black light. The previously hidden design is then evident as if it has come to life.

How is this done? Well, the tattoo artist who specializes in black light tattoos uses a special kind of UV ink to make either the full tattoo invisible without black light or only parts of it.

You could use UV ink to add to a regular tattoo, so only parts of it are invisible in regular light. Or your entire tattoo could be made of UV ink, only visible when you are at a club or bar where black light is present. 

The thing to remember also is that the UV tattoos will have a bit of scarring associated with them, so they aren’t completely invisible. Yes, they will show up to their fullest under black light, but the slight scarring that’s present with tattoos will be visible, black light or not. 

Are UV Tattoos Safe?

Some folks wonder if UV ink and UV tattoos are as safe as regular tattoos. There is a bit of a debate raging over this one. 

The main thing you need to focus on when getting a UV tattoo is to find a reputable tattoo artist who specializes in black light tattoos. The UV ink used needs to be of high quality, but unfortunately, a lot of tattoo shops that advertise black light tattoos don’t use the safest or best ink. 

The ink used by UV tattoos is thinner, which makes it harder to work with. Also, the tattoo artist has to work under black light to inscribe the tattoo onto your skin, so it’s so important to choose an experienced artist to do such a tattoo for you.

Since UV tattoos are still pretty new to the scene, there aren’t many tattoo artists yet who specialize in doing UV tattoos, so if you are a budding tattoo artist, this is a great market to focus upon. This way, you can give safe UV tattoos to folks who want them, so they don’t have to deal with side effects. 

High-Quality Ink Is Imperative

If you read up online, you will also see articles saying UV ink is only approved for usage in the agriculture and fishing industries. This is to say, the FDA hasn’t approved it for use on the human body. So you can’t be sure of what the long-term side effects would be of using such ink on your body.

The tattoo artist needs to use high-quality ink; otherwise, it can lead to severe blistering due to the phosphorus in some low-grade UV inks. Folks have also reported other side effects like skin rashes, blisters, burning pain, and more. There are also concerns that UV inks can cause cancer in humans (because phosphorus in high quantities is carcinogenic). 

Some other complications that might arise are:

  • allergic reactions
  • bloodborne diseases (if the artist’s equipment isn’t sterilized properly)
  • swelling and burning during MRI exams (very rare but possible)

Make sure you have a conversation with the tattoo artist about what exactly is in the UV ink they use. If they aren’t sure, then it might be better to find another tattoo artist who knows exactly what the ink contains. Also, ensure they wear gloves and sterilize their equipment properly before using it on you.

Just remember that even though tattoos using regular ink have been around for a while and their effects are known, glow-in-the-dark tattoos are made up of all sorts of ingredients that haven’t been tested properly on humans yet. So take care when you get such tattoos.

Don’t get extremely large UV tattoos that cover a huge surface area, so you can limit your exposure to the ink and stay as safe as possible. 

A Good Tattoo Artist Has These Qualities

Some other tips to get a choose a good tattoo artist are:

  • Ask to see the tattoo artist’s equipment and studio space before agreeing to the tattoo
  • Make sure everything is sterilized and all the equipment is well taken care of
  • Check their portfolio of past work to see what their quality of work is like
  • Check out their online reputation to see reviews from previous customers
  • Also, browse through their social media platforms to see what their reputation is like
  • If your tattoo artist seems shady or like they are hiding something, find someone else

Any red flag from your tattoo artist should be paid attention to and not ignored. You are essentially putting your health on the line if you do so.

If you are planning to become a tattoo artist, you need to pay attention to these tips. It’s important to ensure you make your customer as comfortable as possible before getting started with the tattoo. 

How Long Do They Last?

UV tattoos generally last 5 to 8 years, since the ink used is thinner and of a different quality than a regular tattoo. This can actually be a good thing since you won’t have to wait too long to get rid of a UV tattoo, just long enough for it to dissipate into your body.

You can extend the lifespan of UV tattoos if you take care of them properly. Avoid too much friction on the tattooed part of your body. Also, wear sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. 

Unfortunately, most people will follow the tips laid out by the tattoo artist for a few days or even a few weeks but then forget all about it. So make sure to take care of your tattoo properly after, especially taking care of your skin by moisturizing it properly and wearing sunscreen whenever you go out. 

Who Chooses UV Tattoos?

You might be wondering what kind of folks choose a UV tattoo rather than a regular one. Well, for one they could be individuals who spend a lot of time in places where there’s black light or UV light present. These could be bars, clubs, music festivals, etc. 

Ravers, cybergoths, and performance artists are the kind of people who would spend time in places with blacklights. If they wish to look cool under such lighting, then UV tattoos are a great way to do so.

Another category is those who want to get an elaborate tattoo but don’t want everyone around them to know that they have a tattoo. Either they work in a conservative field, or they have folks around them who are judgemental of body art. 

Or it could be folks who want to get a small sweet tattoo of someone they love or something else like that, but they don’t want everyone to know that they have such a tattoo. It’s also less risky to get a UV tattoo of something out there because you don’t have to worry about removing it in a hurry as it’s not so visible. 

Blacklight Body Art Is Getting More Popular

As with everything related to tattoos, black light tattoos are also becoming quite popular among the populace. Tattoo schools know that this trend is here to stay, so you can properly learn the right way to create UV tattoos at a school of your choice. 

If you are in Florida, then consider Florida Tattoo Academy for your tattoo certifications. Book a tour of our facility today and see how we use state-of-the-art equipment to teach you all about the latest tattooing trends. You also don’t need to have any previous qualifications to enter our tattoo school.