5 Reasons Why Good Tattooist’s Don’t Do UV Ink

UV Tattoos

As a new tattooist, I am forever learning and always looking for ways to improve my game.

So when I have customers come in and ask if I’ll ‘do them one of those ‘glow in the dark’ tattoos, I really want to oblige. I really do. But there’s just something about this that doesn’t feel right. I don’t know why – I’m still only new to this type of art, but I felt the need to be cautious and so I asked a very good friend of mine – who point blank told me that she would slap me, upside the heed if I did it. She told me:

‘Do not play safety roulette or trial and error with your customers just to please them.’

As a professional, I am expected to know better then the customer, also I have a duty of care to my clients. This means I can’t always let the customer dictate to me what I can or should offer. Neither should anyone else for that matter.

As much as I get it and the decision was made, I still didn’t have ENOUGH of a reason to feed my customers when I decline their request of me.

Some gruelling hours of internet research hours later, I found that there are actually 2 ways to achieve that ‘glow in the dark’ look, and they are both very different… both with fairly serious health risks attached.

One method is decidedly not safe. Borderline deadly in fact.

It is possible to get hold of ‘glow in the dark’ tattoo ink, which really, really irks me, because NOBODY should be able to ‘get hold of it’.

It WILL glow in the dark. And the ink contains a shit tonne of harmful chemicals and cancer causing carcinogenics to acheive this.

Option number 2 is UV ink, which is TOTALLY different, because this ink is only visible when under a black light.

if you want to know more about UV, click onto this interesting website below…


This is the product that’s under much, much debate in the tattoo industry today. It is considered generally much ‘safer’ then the aforementioned shit, but ‘safer’ isn’t exactly a green light is it? The tattooists of the internet will still ward you off the idea of UV ink. The 5 reasons the I will not be delving in UV tattoos are listed below…

So, I needed to get to the core of this, not just for you guys and gals, but also to satisfy my thirst to expand my knowledge and skill set, so I attended a tattoo convention, and rubbed shoulders with some of the best in the industry, to gather their insights.

Here are my 5 reasons to why I’m just not gonna do it…

1 ) UV ink is a lot thinner than regular tattoo ink…

So I personally would find it hard work with, as using thinner inks during a tattoo means possibility of overworking the skin, thus the tattoo taking longer to heal.

2) It takes 12 – 18 months to heal.

Because I have a duty of care to all of my clients, I wouldn’t be willing to let a piece of art work I have achieved, be in a constant process of healing for that long, it is an open wound after all, which is susceptible to infection.

3) UV ink fades fast.

This means the upkeep of such fluorescent colours would have you coming back regularly, risking all of the above again, and ploughing your money into keeping it fresh.

4) There just aren’t enough pro’s to risk trying it.

Of course I want you to walk out with the coolest and best possible quality tattoo, I want you to walk out proud and confident! But I also want keep my good reputation as a responsible and decent artist so I hold my opinion on it.

5) How often will you be under a black light anyway?

Even if you are a mad raver, I guarantee you will not be under a black light for more then a few hours, a couple of times a month. Considering everything I’ve just told you – is it even worth it?

Still want more…?

Here’s the amazing James Withee, Owner of Dark Horse Tattoo Company in Arizona, talking about his personal opinions on UV inks too… take a look…