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Free writing on tattoo regulations and pigment toxicity - April 2013

May 1, 2014

Should all tattooers have a basic education in the understanding of skin histology?

Should tattooers and body piercers be as regulated as cosmetologists and estheticians?

Should the FDA regulate tattoo pigments and the “medical” supplies used by the body modification industry?

These are some questions I have for myself and others who find themselves pondering the world of overwhelming and sometimes pointless regulations of government rules. When it comes to people's health, rules are pointless if they’re not followed. Does the tattoo industry have standards that are followed by practitioners? Where are the industry standards taught? Who polices the industry?

After studying extensively in the skin care field, as a tattooer, I've found it alarming that someone with 600 hours of professional training needs a state license to pop a zit but any Dick or Jane with a tattoo machine or forceps can not only puncture the dermis, but inject unregulated, potentially toxic pigments and metals into it with a simple online course in blood borne pathogens. This leads me to the question of, "Why?" Why would our burdensome, regulation addicted, fee gathering government NOT heavily regulate an entire field of profession when it is so blatantly a taboo, “fringe” industry? One would think this is the exact reason for overwhelming and business ruining regulations.

Why would the government regulate hair, nails and esthetics so heavily yet leave tattooing and body piercing virtually alone? Of course there must be a conspiracy here somewhere. The heavily tattooed and pierced people of the world are already starved for attention; being ignored by government regulations only exacerbates their neglect. Could it be because the booming laser industry makes billions every year removing unwanted ink from aging people who no longer want to be reminded of their bad choices on spring break? Although rebels for personal expression, could it be that these very people are sick of being judged with one glance for their blown out and fading tribal armband? Could the neglect and lack of interest in regulating tattoo pigments be because some of the pigments are as toxic and effective in causing brain fog as fluoride and aspartame? 

Could it be that our species is so slow to get it together that it’s just a matter of time before the tattoo industry is as regulated as esthetics? I find this really silly considering tattooing has been around as long if not longer than the idea of waxing your bikini or extracting an open comedome.

As a Libertarian, I don’t wish more regulations on anyone trying to make a living. But after 21 years in the tattoo industry I can honestly say that many practicing tattooers, although incredible artists, should not be messing with the permanence of injecting pigments into the dermis. Or be responsible for the spread of blood borne pathogens. 

Think before you ink. 


*Satire is highlighted with italics



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