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Glow In The Dark Tattoos: What Everyone Should Know

Posted on August 27 2019

By: Joe Leonard

what you need to know about glow in the dark tattoosEvery tattoo tells a story.  Whether it’s an intricate design by a talented artist or a sentimental quote from your past, a tattoo is a deeply artistic way of expressing your personality and style through your body.  One of the most intriguing and lesser-known tattoos is the glow in the dark tattoo, a unique style of tattoo that is made with a special kind of ink that lights up at night.

Perfect for those looking to maintain a professional career in which tattoos are frowned upon, glow in the dark tattoos can be hidden during the day and then shown off at night.  Unlike regular tattoos, which use ink made from metals, glow in the dark tattoos use phosphorus ink to achieve that nighttime glow and turn your skin into an artistic glow stick.

What’s The Difference Between Glow In The Dark And Black Light Tattoos?

Similarly to glow in the dark tattoos, black light tattoos (also known as ultraviolet tattoos) are difficult to see in the daylight.  These UV ink tattoos use ink that shines when exposed to ultraviolet light, making them a popular choice for barflies and ravers.  Unlike glow in the dark tattoos, black light tattoos don’t show up in the dark unless you shine a black light on them, so they may be a better fit for those who wish to hide their tattoos even at night.

Because both tattoos use ink that’s invisible in the light, you’ll need to use a black light to apply the ink during the tattooing process.  This means that applying glow in the dark and UV ink tattoos is typically a more time consuming process that involves a higher level of care and skill if you want the design properly applied. 

How Safe Are Glow In The Dark Tattoos?

glow in the dark vs. UV tattoos what everyone should know tattoo of London skylineThere are a few safety concerns when it comes to glow in the dark tattoos, namely that the FDA has not approved the use of phosphorous for tattoo ink.  Phosphorous can act as a carcinogen, which can potentially increase your risk of cancer.  Because of this, it may be difficult to find a tattoo shop that uses phosphorous-based ink.  If you do choose to get a glow in the dark tattoo, it’s recommended you visit a highly reputable tattoo artist experienced in the use of phosphorous ink to ensure the safety and legitimacy of the tattoo process.

Another potential safety concern with glow in the dark tattoos is the risk of allergic reaction to the ink, with a small minority of customers suffering side effects including burning, rashes, and blisters.  With that being said, these are all common side effects of any tattoo regardless of the ink used, so the amount of risk involved in a glow in the dark tattoo is not necessarily much greater than that of a standard tattoo.

Because UV ink tattoos don’t use phosphorous, they’re actually a slightly safer option for those who want the experience of glowing tattoos but are apprehensive about the potential health risks.  However, one of the cons of UV ink as opposed to phosphorous ink is the possibility for UV ink to pool under the skin and form little nodules after time.  As with any tattoo, both UV ink and glow in the dark tattoos come with their own risks and rewards, so consider every factor before choosing which tattoo to go with.

How Long Do Glow In The Dark Tattoos Last?

what you should know about glow in the dark tattoos knuckle tattoosThe good news about glow in the dark tattoos is that they don’t last any less long than standard ink tattoos.  In fact, they may even last longer due the fact that they’ve only been a trend in the last twenty years.  Both glow in the dark and UV ink tattoos will likely fade over time, but will probably require a medical tattoo removal to fully get rid of them.

The better you care for glow in the dark tattoos, the longer they’re likely to last and the less likely they are to lose their ability to glow in the dark.  Excessive sunlight will cause them to fade, but touching up the tattoos every once in a while can help keep this from happening.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Glow In The Dark Tattoos?

If you love expressing yourself through body art, glow in the dark tattoos can be a fun and interesting variation on the standard tattoo.  Just keep in mind the risks and safety concerns that can go along with the use of phosphorous as well as tattooing in general.  As long as you practice good aftercare for your tattoo by cleaning and keeping the tattoo from getting infected, you’ll most likely have a new addition to your body that will wow your friends.

You can even mix glow in the dark tattoos with standard ink tattoos to create complementary designs that add to each other and form a unique tableau that only comes out at night.  Once you’ve armed yourself with the knowledge about their risks and unique properties, the sky is the limit with glow in the dark tattoos.

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