A new study has found that grey ink used for shading and creating 3D effects on tattoos could be the culprit for bacterial skin infections.
The study, published in the August edition of New England Journal of Medicine, found that grey tattoo ink, often called grey wash, could harbour a specific bacteria found in tap water called Mycobacterium chelonae that can causes bacterial skin infection.
This bacteria thrives at certain temperatures and as the temperature of eth skin is lower than inside eth body, this bacteria survives well just under the surface of the skin.[quote]Grey tattoo ink is created during the manufacturing process by watering down black ink, and it’s thought that the distilled water added to the black ink is where the bacteria comes from.[/quote]
If infected with Mycobacterium chelonae bacteria, the skin can become constantly inflamed, bumpy and itchy at the site of the tattoo.
Unlike other tattoo skin reactions, which are relatively rare, reactions to Mycobacterium chelonae bacteria are very common and in the study 18 out of 19 people with grey wash tattoo ink in their skin were infected with the bacteria