Reader Question: Vegan Tattoos?

So I had a reader send me a private message through the contact form and this is such a great question I felt like it was worthy of a response.

Question: I want a tattoo but I’m vegan. I’ve heard tattoo inks contain animal products. Are there any vegan inks? 

Answer: Great question, reader!

The short answer is that yes, some tattoo inks (and in fact probably most of them) have animal products in them as either pigment or carriers. This can in fact be an issue if you are a strict vegan. However, all is not lost!

There are indeed a number of inks on the market that are vegan. Most notable among the vegan inks is Eternal, which are plant-based acrylic inks. Eternal Ink is one of the most widely used tattoo inks in the world, so much it can be seen on tattoo reality shows and in the shops of many top-tier artists. Of my four current tattoos, three of them have been done with Eternal Ink.

There is, however, another reason to use vegan inks other than promoting animal welfare. Vegan inks have been shown to have a much lower rate of allergic reaction than animal-based pigments. Allergic reactions are rare regardless (and the most common offender is red ink) but there is something about animal-based inks that make the skin more likely to react to it.

Also, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t handle pain well, you’ll also be pleased to know that numbing products like Hush and Ink-Eeze are also vegan, so don’t worry about slapping some Hush gel on before or using Hush/Ink-Eeze spray during a session. They work well and are totally animal-friendly.

So, dear reader, what’s the bottom line? Simply call around and ask which ink(s) your local tattoo artists use. They should be willing to discuss it. As mentioned, Eternal Ink is a good starting place but there are others. You might have to do a little digging, but rest assured you can get that tattoo and stay true to your vegan principles.

Do you have a tattoo-related question? Leave a comment or shoot me a private message through the contact me form! 


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