Ink Poisoning

In most circumstances, ink gets to the body through injections such as in tattooing. It is not considered a poisonous substance in most circumstances, but at times, it causes allergies and irritation to the body.

Although injecting small amounts of ink into the body is not really considered poisonous, there are limited cases of bodily harm from ink, mostly as a result of the body reacting negatively to the ink. A person experiencing such a condition shows visible symptoms that can result in more skin infections if not properly treated.

What causes skin infections?

The most common cause of skin infection is tattooing. Due to direct injection, the skin comes into contact with ink. In the event that the body reacts to a particular ink, the skin can suffer allergies or actual poisoning. Although such reactions are rare, this practice can lead to extreme skin conditions to some people.

Other causes of skin poisoning include:

  • Direct consumption of ink
  • Contaminated water
  • Pen inks
  • Solvents and some dyes

Is it risky to write on your hand?

Writing on your hand will rarely cause any skin infection or ink poisoning. This is because the ink contained in pens is too little to cause any poisoning. However, it is important that you avoid writing on your body because your skin might be too sensitive to such chemicals.

What is the difference between ink allergies and poisoning?

In most cases, people getting tattoos do not test their skin to find out if they are allergic to the inks. Unfortunately, most tattoo artists do not have the expertise to test their clients before working on them. It is significant to have a sample of the inks smeared onto your underarm. If at all your skin is allergic to the ink, there will be an instantaneous reaction within a few minutes. According to, another obvious testament to having a possible allergic reaction is that the body fails to register the color of the ink used.

In other cases, the skin might not experience allergic symptoms when a small amount of ink is smeared, but after the tattoo is done, the body still suffers negative reactions. This is known as ink poisoning. It results from using poor quality ink on the skin or ink that contains some harmful substances. Such toxins infect the skin and at times other body parts.

Symptoms of poisoning

There are varying signs that indicate the possibility of ink poisoning. People experience different symptoms depending on how their bodies react to ink. Some of the most common symptoms of skin infections include:

Bacterial infections to a tattoo

Due to the fact that tattoos are open wounds until they completely heal, they are usually vulnerable to bacterial infections. According to, the symptoms of bacterial infections include pain, swelling and the presence of oozing pus from the tattoo. This is mainly caused by lack of hygiene by the tattoo artist when doing their work. Also, if you do not properly tend to your tattoo, and keep it clean and hygienic, you are likely to suffer such infections.

Bacterial infections are sometimes caused by other body ailments apart from the tattooing process itself. Therefore, if you happen to suffer such reactions, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. Getting quick medical attention will help in rectifying the problem before it spreads wider into your body system. The doctor will also advise you on what you can do to avoid skin infections.

Staining of the skin and irritation of the eyes

If your eyes come into contact with ink, you are likely to experience burning sensations, irritation and itching. According to, the best way to control this condition is by rinsing your eyes with cool water. This should be done continuously for a long period until the burning sensations are over. Washing your eyes with cool water ensures that no traces of ink are left in your eyes.

In other instances, the ink causes temporary stains around the eyes, on the skin and in the mucus membrane. These are not severe symptoms and can still be cured by using water. However, if the symptoms are prevalent and normal sensations are not experienced, it is important to visit a specialist.

Nausea and vomiting

There are cases where victims of ink poisoning experience severe nausea and vomiting. This results from consuming large quantities of ink, mostly writing or printing inks. In such instances, people suffer damages to their digestive system as ink contains some harmful chemicals and preservatives. The patient suffering from such conditions is also likely to experience headaches and swelling of the body, pain and rashes on their bodies. It is important to seek medical attention when one experiences such symptoms.

Ink consumption usually affects little children who have no knowledge that ink can be poisonous. In most cases, the cases will go unreported as the child might not disclose their actions, leading to the widespread of the condition before adequate help is reached. To avoid this, it is imperative that you keep all inks and paints away from the reach of young children.

What are the best prevention measures against ink poisoning?

It is quite easy to prevent and contain ink related infections. Whenever you happen to be working with inks, make sure that you are well covered and protected from direct contact with the inks. Put on covered clothing and gloves whenever you are working with inks. This ensures that you the ink is not absorbed into your body.

Avoid having young children in close proximity to your working area, and keep the inks out of their reach. When getting a tattoo, ensure that the artist you access is competent and hygienic in their work and they test your skin before working on you. Also, make certain that the inks they use are tested and that they meet the required standards. If you find out that your skin might react with the tattoo ink used, the best thing is to avoid the practice completely.