Though tattooing dates back millennia, modern tattooing makes use of molecular pigments that have only been incorporated into tattooing in the last 50 years or so. Coupled with the dramatic increase in the popularity of tattooing, it is critical to understand possible adverse effects of injecting pigments into human skin. We used various pigments, which were incorporated into tattoo ink formulation; exposed BJ human dermal fibroblasts to determine their possible toxic effects. Pigments Red254, Red170, Violet23, Orange13, Yellow74, Blue15, Green7, and Carbon-black were prepared as suspension in cell culture media and cells were exposed to varying concentrations of pigments. The toxicity of each pigment was confirmed through Neutral Red Viability assay and Alamar Blue metabolic activity assay with analysis upwards of 72 hours. The toxicological evaluation indicated significant cytotoxicity for pigments containing azo-compound (PY74, PR170), Carbon black was found to have the least level of toxicity in this vitro exposure.
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Xiao, Michael; Libonati, Alyssa; and Moseman, Kelli, "Cytotoxicity of Commercial Tattoo Inks" (2023). Research Days Posters 2023. 106.