Blacklight-reactive ink has a bad reputation, as many of the inks that tattoo artists have used in the past are made from noxious or carcinogenic compounds. Chameleon blacklight-reactive ink has been available for a few years, and has a safer reputation than other brands because the reactive chemicals are suspended in micro-capsules of inert polymer. Of the glow-in-the-dark and UV tattoo inks on the market, the fewest problems have been reported with Chameleon.
Blacklight-reactive inks have been available for many years, but many of them have been problematic or toxic. Chameleon does not use phosphors or radioactive substances, and its process is designed to avoid putting the pigment in direct contact with the human body, so it is definably safer than glow or UV tattoo inks including these toxic compounds.
Tattoo inks in general are not regulated by the FDA, and are not always safe. Red colors are notorious for causing itching and allergic reactions, which can damage the art piece and make the wearer uncomfortable, according to the BME Tattoo FAQ. Any tattoo, however, has a small chance of causing unexpected irritation.
Ingredients and Safety
According to the manufacturer's official information, Crazy Chameleon UV ink is made of 97.5 percent polymethylmethacrylate, which surrounds small spheres of fluorescent dye (2.5 percent). Polymethylmethacrylate, also known as PMMA, is used in a number of medical applications and is known to be highly inert.
The composition of Chameleon blacklight-reactive ink is not FDA-approved for use in human tattooing, but neither is any other tattoo ink: tattoos are not a category the FDA usually watches over. It is, however, FDA-approved for marking fish and wildlife that may enter the food chain; the manufacturer has documented this on its website.
The main problem associated with Chameleon blacklight-reactive ink is that tattoo artists may not know how to use it correctly. According to manufacturer instructions, these inks must be used without blending techniques, and they must be applied under a blacklight. Therefore, tattooists must take great care in applying the ink to create attractive results, and incautious application can result in a bad tattoo.
Additionally, the Chameleon tattoo pigments have not been in use very long in human tattooing, and while their safety record may be decent, it does not carry a long history, so unknown risks may exist.
If you are seeking a tattoo with an unfamiliar type of ink, especially if you have sensitive skin, ask the tattoo artist to create a tiny line of ink and let it heal before going forward with the art as a test for allergies.
Always avoid phosphorescent pigments, or pigments that glow in the dark without a light source: these are carcinogenic and not suitable for use on human skin. Chameleon UV ink is not in this category. There is no known safe glow-in-the-dark pigment for tattoos.