The FDA recalled 6 tattoo inks over possible bacteria contamination

If you’ve recently gotten a tattoo or are thinking about getting one, pay close attention to this news. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has issued a recall of several different brands of tattoo inks that it found to be contaminated with microorganisms.

The specific inks being recalled are:

  • Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics
  • Dynamic Color black tattoo ink manufactured by Dynamic Color Inc.
  • Solid Ink-Diablo red tattoo ink manufactured by Color Art Inc. (under the names Solid Ink or Antone’s Ink)

All lots of the Scalpaink ink may be affected. Recalled Dynamic Color ink is from lots 12024090 and 12026090. Solid Ink lot 10.19.18 is also recalled.

The agency posted a safety alert on its Twitter account at @US_FDA recently:

These tattoo inks may cause serious infections that show up as rashes or lesions in the areas where the ink was applied, approximately two to three weeks after the tattoo session.

These infections can lead to permanent scarring.

If you have recently received a tattoo and are seeing red papules on your skin near the injection site, you may be at risk.


Keep in mind that the infections may be hard to recognize, since they can easily be misdiagnosed as other conditions such as allergies. Without realizing it, some people who get tattoos may be allergic to the inks.

And while allergic reactions may show up immediately, they may also appear months or years later.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

If you have any of these symptoms and suspect that your tattoo artist may have used an infected ink, make sure to consult with a doctor or healthcare provider.

Such infections are typically treated with an antibiotic.


You’ll also want to report the infection to your tattoo artist. Additionally, consider reporting your experience to the FDA’s MedWatch, which specifically deals with human medical products.

If you are contemplating a new tattoo, it’s a good idea to ask your artist about the kind of inks he or she uses beforehand and make sure they are not ones on the FDA recall list.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

As of the recall date, artists and tattoo shops are not supposed to use the contaminated inks, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful and ask.

You’ll want to avoid expired tattoo inks, especially if they’ve been opened, as this makes the inks more prone to contamination.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

The FDA is currently working with tattoo artists to make sure contaminated products are removed. But if you need more information or assistance, you can contact the agency directly.

This news will especially be of interest to anyone looking to take part in the embroidery tattoos trend, in which a colorful tattoo is made to resemble an embroidered fabric design.

Check out this floral example from Instagram user @thepaintedladytattoos:

Flowers and birds seem to be common choices for embroidery tattoos, like this adorable little hummingbird “patch” forearm tattoo featured on the @ksuarrow_tattoo Instagram account:

And Dallas tattoo artist Rogelio Vazquez creates some of the most vibrant and eye-catching embroidery tattoos around, such as this bird-and-flower design that Vazquez says is his “favorite tattoo.”

Whatever kind of tattoo you’re planning to get, make sure you check with the tattoo artist about the ink products they’re using.