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The Differences Between Tattoo ink, Pen ink and Printer ink

20. July 2012 03:01 by Neeru in ink experts, inks  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Ink is ink right? Wrong! Contrary to popular belief, there are various types of ink out there that all perform many different functions. Getting in the know about what types of inks are out there will certainly give you kudos points amongst you’re friends, not many people know this stuff!

According to a survey undertaken in February 2012 by Harris Interactive, a staggering 42% of US citizens admit to having at least one tattoo, now that is certainly a lot of ink! The origins of tattoo ink stem back thousands of years ago and have since evolved into the increasingly popular artist’s aid that it is today.

Most recent variations include UV light tattoos which create glow-in-the-dark body art work and easily removable permanent tattoos that can be erased with just a couple of laser sessions, as opposed to the laborious procedure of yesteryear which required near to 12 laser treatments to achieve results.

Despite its evident popularity tattoo ink has not been without its problems. Due to the fact that the substance is not regulated in the US, tattoo artists are given free rein to alter ink formulas, which can then lead to difficulty in distinguishing the exact components that make up certain tattoo inks.  Traditionally, tattoo inks are made up of anti-fade and smudge components; no one wants to pay for a tattoo that will come off in the shower do they! However this often results in heavy and potentially harmful components such as particular metals, alcohols and chemicals being used. 

A far cry from the arguably exciting nature of tattoo ink, the humble pen ink has a standardized formula and is heavily regulated in the US meaning this formula cannot be tampered with by different manufactures. Unlike tattoo ink, pen ink commonly uses dyes as opposed to pigments due to their ability to not clot or dry inside the actual pen.

Mirroring the vast differences between tattoo and pen ink, the ever useful printer ink certainly follows suit. Unlike tattoo ink with its often unknown elements, it is widely accepted that Printer ink is made up of four components colorants, binders, additives and carrier substances. However, similar to tattoo and pen ink, printer ink can be split into two categories: dye-based and pigment-based both of which offer different finishes and host their own benefits.

The type of printer will determine whether a dye-based or pigment-based ink is to be used which is ultimately important to remember. Nothing can be more annoying than purchasing ink that won’t work for your printer.

The differences between all these three ink types are clear and interesting to see. What’s even more interesting is to see the ways in which ink and its uses will evolve over the years to come. Who knows what ink could be used for in 10 years’ time, watch this space!