For a few years now, some tattoo parlours have been offering nearly invisible tattoos that will glow brightly under black light. As cool as this sounds, there are a couple things you might want to consider before permanently transforming yourself into a bio-luminescent creature.
FYI: Black light tattoos and glow in the dark tattoos are two different things. Many people may refer to black light tattoos as glow in the dark tattoos, but they are wrong in calling them that. Glow in the dark tattoos (tattoos that do not require a black light to glow) are highly experimental and not recommended. The compounds that truly glow in the dark may be carcinogenic as they must contain phosphorus and other radioactive materials to actually glow. This article only discusses black light tattoos.
The Pros –
1) They are Nearly Invisible
If you want to have a high profile job of some kind, but you are secretly a wild raver at night, black light tattoos might be a suitable option for you. Black light tattoos are nearly invisible while not under black light, so no one will know about your secret nightlife, and employers will have no reason not to hire you.
2) They are Cool as Balls
Black light tattoos are a very recent addition into the world of tattoos. If you have one, or plan on getting one, you clearly live life on the wild side. As a result, your colleagues will hail you as the coolest and most badass dude or chick around.
The Cons –
1) They are Expensive
Black light tattoos are expensive for two reasons. First, the ink is way more expensive. Normal tattoo ink is fairly reasonably priced, but UV responsive ink can be up to four times as expensive. Secondly, the process of applying a UV responsive tattoo takes much longer, so you will have to hire a tattoo artist for much longer.
2) They Fade Just Like Regular Tattoos
Just like regular tattoos, eventually your UV tattoo will lose some of its lustre. Worse than that, the tattoo will lose its ability to shine under UV light, effectively making your new black light tattoo a hardly visible scar.
3) Reports of Adverse Reactions
A small number of people who receive black light tattoos have reported adverse skin reactions such as infections, blistering and allergic reactions.
4) Difficult to Remove
If you ever decide that you no longer want your glowing tattoo, you could be in for a crap sandwich. Apparently, removing UV tattoos is only possible by the archaic method of freezing and hacking it off the skin. No lasers or other treatments, just hack and slash.
In conclusion, UV light tattoos are still relatively experimental. Although many people have them, we still have yet to see the long term effects of using UV light responsive ink. So far, the mild risks scare people away, but the ethereal glow attracts many. Either way, be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you get inked.