East Texas tattoo artists give safety advice for getting inked

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Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Though many people have them, tattoos can still pose a health risk. We spoke to the owner of a Tyler tattoo parlor to discuss the importance of tattoo safety and what consumers should look out for before getting inked.

Tattoos are very common in the U.S., as about one third of Americans have them. But what people may not be aware of is the FDA classifies and regulates tattoo ink as cosmetics, despite it being injected into the skin.

Other countries put more consideration into this issue. Recently, the European Union banned certain ink colors because of health hazards. Other hazardous inks may be accessible in America.

“There are inks out there that are cheap and easy to get for the public, and we don’t buy that. You know, it is too easy for infections to set in.” said Kelly Kirkland, owner of Kelly’s Tattoos

Kirkland has a wide background in tattooing and started his business in Tyler in 1994. He said he understands the concern of ink safety and uses a brand called Fusion which is both hypoallergenic and vegan.

“I try to buy the highest quality and the highest end brand I can get my hands on you know because I want my tattoos to look great and I want my customers to be happy,” Kirkland said.

Another thing Kirkland advises to look out for when getting a tattoo is the sterilization process and the kinds of needles used. It is most common that businesses will have packaged needles that are one-time use only.

Kelly’s Tattoos customer, Jordan Thomas, also shares tips about safety.

“Talk to the artist before you even start and make sure you guys are on the same page. Check their work, check their references, check their portfolios of course,” Thomas said.

Kirkland advised to always ask questions and look up the kinds of ink that the business uses. You can find most of the inks online where you can learn more about the ingredients used and more.

“It kind of helps the consumer know what they’re getting and what’s being put in their skin.” said Kirkland.

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