Glow in the Dark tattoos

Would this be the right section of the forum to put this?

I've been looking into glow in the dark materials and basically they are all toxic to an extent to the human body. However there is a thing called microencapsulation which basically takes a small portion of a material and coats it with something else. This can be done on a very small scale which could then be mixed with a carrier and used as an ink.

The questions I have would be would the body try to absorb it and why doesn't this happen with normal ink?
Also does anyone know anything about microencapsulation and if it could be done on a smaller scale (not entirely home made stuff but smaller than huge industry)?
What materials are nonporus and biocompatable that could be used to coat it?

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Comments

  • Commenting to follow along.

    I've talked to a few people about UV ink, but know some tattoo artists who will refuse to use it due to their own concerns over the safety.

    Wish I had something helpful to add. Definitely curious about microencapsulation.

  • No tattoo inks have ever been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration because the FDA "has not traditionally regulated tattoo inks or the pigments used in them".[2] Claims made that UV tattoo ink is "FDA Approved" when used for tattooing humans appear to be fraudulent. This is confused by the fact some UV tuttoo inks have been approved by the FDA for food-related purposes such as marking food animals like fish and pigs. (sic)(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UV_tattoo)

    This is basically saying that UV ink is used on pigs safely but isn't human approved (slighly irrelevant imo if it's safe for pigs). However I'm more keen on actual glow in the dark than UV.

  • I had intended to mix up my own glow in the dark ink and try using it for a very small tattoo but never did it. I tried mixing glow in the dark powder with water and glycerin but didn't make it thick enough. I then tried to sterilize it in a pressure cooker and the powder ended up baked into a lump at the bottom of the glass vial I had it in. That bottle still glows all night long so the heat or the liquids didn't harm the glowing. I think I just mixed too much water with it but it probably wouldn't have been safe anyway so I didn't continue experimenting.

    I did end up getting some white tattoo ink and considered "sterilizing" the dry powder under a UVC light before mixing it with the commercial ink as a carrier but never tried that either.

    It likely wouldn't be safe and it might take years to cause trouble or it might cause a bad reaction as soon as it is applied. I haven't decided if it is worth the risk yet.

  • What sort of powder did you try?

  • @Superman said:
    This is confused by the fact some UV tuttoo inks have been approved by the FDA for food-related purposes such as marking food animals like fish and pigs. (sic)(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UV_tattoo)

    This is basically saying that UV ink is used on pigs safely but isn't human approved (slighly irrelevant imo if it's safe for pigs). However I'm more keen on actual glow in the dark than UV.

    Not necessarily. This just means the FDA has approved eating pigs that have been tattooed with UV ink. Whether or not eating something is dangerous is not the same as whether or not implanting it in your skin is dangerous.

    It's probably not significantly more dangerous than other tattoo inks, but the FDA isn't studying that (or any tattoo ink).

  • @Superman said:
    What sort of powder did you try?

    https://ebay.com/itm/Glow-in-the-Dark-Powder-Aqua-Blue-Green-Purple-Strontium-Aluminate-Glow-Pigment-/161712784317?var=&hash=item25a6d543bd:m:mHs2sZZu04o6drnwcSaeOhg

    I never tried actually using it for a tattoo but it really does glow for a long time. Looks like that seller is out of stock now though. Other sellers still have the same type. May or may not be safe to use for tattoo ink but cool stuff to play around with. Way better (glows longer and brighter) than the old zinc sulfide type.

  • @tekniklr said:

    @Superman said:
    This is confused by the fact some UV tuttoo inks have been approved by the FDA for food-related purposes such as marking food animals like fish and pigs. (sic)(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UV_tattoo)

    This is basically saying that UV ink is used on pigs safely but isn't human approved (slighly irrelevant imo if it's safe for pigs). However I'm more keen on actual glow in the dark than UV.

    Not necessarily. This just means the FDA has approved eating pigs that have been tattooed with UV ink. Whether or not eating something is dangerous is not the same as whether or not implanting it in your skin is dangerous.

    It's probably not significantly more dangerous than other tattoo inks, but the FDA isn't studying that (or any tattoo ink).

    Does anyone know what safety checks the fda would have to do and if we could try them and see if we get similar results on different types of in and a test glow one?

    @Birdhandz said:

    @Superman said:
    What sort of powder did you try?

    https://ebay.com/itm/Glow-in-the-Dark-Powder-Aqua-Blue-Green-Purple-Strontium-Aluminate-Glow-Pigment-/161712784317?var=&hash=item25a6d543bd:m:mHs2sZZu04o6drnwcSaeOhg

    I never tried actually using it for a tattoo but it really does glow for a long time. Looks like that seller is out of stock now though. Other sellers still have the same type. May or may not be safe to use for tattoo ink but cool stuff to play around with. Way better (glows longer and brighter) than the old zinc sulfide type.

    That was a similar powder to the one I was thinking about. Apparently the aqua colour lasts the longest and the classic green glows the brightest.

  • According to wikipedia, strontium aluminate is chemically and biologically inert.

  • On the data sheet it says irritant. Could that be just down to it being a powder?

  • Yeah, probably

  • I'm going to order some and I'll let it sit on my skin for a few hours. I'll update with results. From what I've found online, it appears to be a class 2 skin irritant. It is rated as a class 1 health hazard. Here is a document with more detailed information: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.nanoamor.com/msds/msds_SrAl12O19_5121YD.pdf&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwjmlNCY1LTYAhWBmeAKHVAhAe8QFggSMAE&usg=AOvVaw2751YP4Cj-Ix9hVZUZFise
  • edited December 2017

    The irritant effect doesn't sound like a good thing if it is injected INTO your skin. It MIGHT just reject and eventually come back out on its own if it is too much of an irritant but wouldn't be very pleasant. Many MSDS reports make things sound worse than they are and the amount of the powder actually in the skin shouldn't be very much but I'm still hesitant to try it.

    I will try to mix a little bit of the powder with some white tattoo ink in the next day or so and paint some on the back of my wrist or some other sensitive area and see if it causes any reaction and also make sure it will still glow. I have mixed some with water and rubbed it onto the skin under my arm before with no bad reaction but it didn't really stick with just water and powder.

    I'll report back here once I try it as a painted on ink.

  • edited January 11
    Injecting it into the dermis is going to cause a very different reaction. I would think you were on the right track with nano encapsulation. Which might actually lead to better tattoo ink if you could find something biocompatible that will last. Something to think about I guess because there might be IP rights involved if it's novel and you're interested in the sort of thing.

    A quick search turned up this https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896844603000111
    If you're looking for small scale then research articles are your best bet, it doesn't get much smaller scale. Having the equipment is a different story, but even that can be worked out somewhat.

    As a tattoo aficionado I would be interested in seeing this succeed. As far as the FDA, one issue would be longevity safety tests, those could take years (5+). A Google search will tell you more about the FDA approval requirements mess.

    Lastly, there are companies that do this sort of thing, you could request a quote to see if they can do it and maybe we could work out a group buy in if it isn't outrageous. This is the first one I found:
    https://www.microfluidicscorp.com/applications/nanoencapsulation/

    Anyway, that should be enough to get you started I think.
  • I have a bit of experience with microencapsulation using silica, which may be comparable if the powder granules are fine enough. I'll try to hunt down my protocol- it was done in a lab but with access to a centrifuge it could easily be tried.

  • @Quadsar @Birdhandz any results?

    I might buy some and test it on skin myself.

    Hadn't even considered ip rights but that could be a challenge if it wasn't approved. I'll send a message off to them and see if they do that sort of thing at a non ridiculous price.

  • I haven't gotten mine in yet. It should come in next week.
  • I did try mixing some of the powder with some tattoo ink but couldn't find my white ink so I used black which hid the glowing but I painted it onto the skin on the bottom of my wrist and left it there for over 24 hours with no noticeable irritation.

    I haven't had time to find my white ink to make sure it still glows yet and haven't done any testing as an actual tattoo but it didn't seem to be as much of an irritant as the MSDS made it sound. Actually putting it in the skin could be much different but my first tests externally didn't itch or cause any redness. I don't know if I will try it as an actual tattoo but my Idea for a next test would be a small dot or line and not a full tattoo.

  • A centrifuge and lab equipment shouldn't be too hard to get hold of with a few people I know. I'm now waiting for some white ink and power to arrive (hopefully in the next week) when I'll test it on surface and then a small dot and small line one by one. Hopefully that works but if not I'll ask around a few companies and see if they can encapsulate it.

  • I've looking into the makeup of tattoo ink and it's pigment with a carrier so for my testing I will purely use the glowing pigment and isopropyl alcohol as the carrier.

  • iso as a carrier is not fun. What about dmso? Or lipofectamine?

  • edited January 24

    What's not fun about it @glims? I was planning on using it as I have it to hand. I'll look into other options if they'd be better though.
    Edit: I can't see an easy way to get lipofectamine (which looks like a weird chemical to use as a tattoo carrier anyway) and I can't see how Dimethyl sulfoxide would be better (The most commonly reported side effects include headaches and burning and itching on contact with the skin. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyl_sulfoxide#Toxicity](Dimethyl_sulfoxide#Toxicity on wikipedia))

  • I assume the isopropyl alcohol would burn real bad if used as the carrier. I had thought of using some Glycerine which is available at the local drugstore as the carrier. It is a thick liquid which should help keep the powder suspended.

    Here's a quote from one of the links above which makes me think Glycerine should be safe.

    @glims said:
    The MSDS is not friendly. Seems to be an irritant. I'm going to assume that seeded above face meats will be even more so.

    Propylene glycol - meh ok

    IsOH- Not in the face!

    Hydrogen Hydroxide - water....

    Glycerine - sure ok

    I tried mixing the glow powder with distilled water and glycerine. I used too much water and the powder all went to the bottom and formed one solid piece. I tried to sterilize it in a pressure cooker which baked it into the solid lump. Sterilizing it might not have even been needed with the distilled water and glycerine but I assumed the glow powder was not sterile.

    Here's a link that might have some useful information.

    https://thoughtco.com/tattoo-ink-carrier-chemistry-608403

  • Well I have no science but I do have a glow in the dark tattoo. Irritation? No. Cancer in the future? Maybe. Worth it? Not right now... My tattoo faded in less than 5 years to nothing.
    Was cool for a bit but I don't think it's where it needs to be yet.
  • @Erischilde is that due to the dye they used? If they used a better dye surely it would last longer? Where did you get it done?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mystic-Moments-RMGLYC1000-Vegetable-Glycerine/dp/B007PNGRPC/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1516982063&sr=8-2&keywords=Glycerine

    Is this the sort of glycerine you mean @Birdhandz

  • We went a bit homedone, a bit bought. We bought the ink online, and offhand i don't know the brand but i can grab it at home sometime soon (buried in junk, just brought the tattoo equipment out of storage but haven't unpacked in some time).

    I should correct myself a bit, less than five years is accurate.. but less than 3 is probably more accurate.

    a couple points of possible failure:
    1) my wife is a bit of a noob with tattooing. She's picked it up so naturally though, and the black ink and colours she's laid into my skin have stuck very well.
    2) it may not work like regular ink in how it "takes". It may be something that needs to be laid in a couple of times to really saturate the area, unlike a colour that which is maybe more diffuse, or "deep"(i mean art, not science. deep like an explanation if you know what i mean). This explanation is more tattoo art than science; like a painter knows the different pigments they use and how to apply them, so do tattooists, and maybe UV reactive, clear/white ink just doesn't lay the same way as black or more traditional colours.

    3) the ink itself. I think that because it's new, and because so many tattooists won't work with it, there hasn't been the same feedback and iteration as other materials yet. It could be that the uv dye just does not have the ability to last forever in a human.

    I'm hoping to do it again, maybe add more, i really want it to work. You know, that kind of grinder optimism we have? lol

  • I got this type from the local Rite Aid drug store and it doesn't say vegetable glycerine but I assume (right or wrong?) that the vegetable glycerine would work the same. Mine is a thick, sweet tasting liquid intended as a skin protectant to help with chapped or cracked skin or lips.

    https://riteaid.com/shop/rite-aid-glycerin-usp-skin-protectant-6-oz-177-ml-0306447

    @Erischilde

    It sounds like you got the black light type glowing ink and not ink that would glow in total DARK. I have heard that the UV ink fades and the homemade actual glowing ink may do the same. I've never seen actual glow in the dark tattoo ink for sale.

    The fear of long term effects like cancer is the main thing stopping me from trying this idea. I didn't intend to use the homemade glow ink for a real tattoo at least at first but just a small spot or line to see if it would glow and to make sure it didn't cause any irritation like itching or burning. My original intention was to mix the glow in the dark powder with white tattoo ink but just mixing the powder with some glycerine or other clear carrier liquid might be a better option.

    Doing the tattoo under a black light should make it easier to see both the UV sensitive ink and the actual glow in the dark kind and the black light will charge the glow powder I have brighter and faster than normal light too. A normal flashlight will also charge the powder I have and it really does glow for hours. Not sure what it will do in the skin but it was worth the few bucks I paid for it just to make glow in the dark stars on the ceiling or for making other glow in the dark items.

  • @Birdhandz Gotcha. Why not use distilled water as a carrier? It's used all the time in cutting inks down...

  • @Erischilde said:
    @Birdhandz Gotcha. Why not use distilled water as a carrier? It's used all the time in cutting inks down...

    The powder settled out too fast when I tried mixing the powder with distilled water. I figure the thicker glycerine will help the powder stay mixed in better.

  • I'll grab some glycerin for the next test. I tried putting some in the skin and it hasn't reacted any worse than a normal small scalpel wound or needle prick (I tried two methods) and so once the glycerin arrives I'll try further. I'm less worried about cancer as all the stats point to 50% of my generation getting it anyway so I'm hoping that treatment will improve enough by the time I need it if I do. Also the powder seems to be rated at 10+ years lifespan which hopefully works as well subdermally. For what its worth I had similar issues with the water but tried rubbing powder into the small slice and used the needle and water mixture for the needle.
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