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My Ink Rejection Story or How I Learned Green Ink Doesn't Like Me

I guess I'll put this in tattoo removal...since it removed itself.

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to ink in your tattoo? I have… and let me tell you it ain’t pretty. I’ve only had one bad experience, but it didn’t shy me away from getting more (wink wink). I’m not writing this as a warning per se; more as just an experience. I mean hey, there was no way to tell the ink would reject, even though it is known that some pigments have a tendency to do so more than others – like red and yellow tones. The ink I had a bad run in with was Scream Ink brand “green bean”. Let me note that I have used other colors by this brand and have not had any problems. Anywho on to the story:

On St. Patrick’s Day 2008 Kristy and Tiffany, my two best friends, and I decided to get matching four leaf clover tattoos. I headed over to Tiff’s since her husband was the one to be doing the tats (sorry if you’re not a fan of home tattooing and such; the boy autoclaves, is very clean and I already had 2 other tattoos by him so… I was comfortable in doing this). Kristy also brought her husband, since he got in the festive spirit and decided on getting a clover tattoo as well. I’m not married so I brought liquor.

We first needed to decide on placement. We all have office jobs, so the forehead was not a good idea. Us girls decided to get ours on our left foot close to the pinky toe. Kristy’s husband decided to get his on his chest. We tried to talk him into a tramp stamp, but to no avail. Next was the color selection. I should have known to go along with the crowd. Everyone else picked a nice dark green, but I had to be different and wanted something that would “pop” more (little did I know how literal this was to become). I picked the aforementioned “green bean” color which was more of an electric lime situation.

I should mention now that Tiff and I go way back with our tats. We went out together not soon after our 18th birthdays and both promptly got inked. Kristy however did not. This was to be her and her husband’s first tattoo. She was particularly ambitious and decided on a twofer; she ended up getting another tattoo on her right foot that same day. Tiff and I, by this time, had quite a collection growing, but I digress. I ended up going first (like always). This was a particularly small tattoo… the smallest I’d ever had up to that point in fact, and it seemed like it was over quickly. Then it was everyone else’s turn blah blah… we all had cute little clover tats, snapped pictures and proceeded to celebrate our Irish heritage by getting shitfaced.

When the tattoo was first completed it looked completely normal. My usual aftercare routine is to keep it clean (duh), A&D for the first week or two then I move on to lotion. I try to keep it uncovered as much as possible during this time as I’ve noticed (for me) this helps it to heal quicker. I’d also like to note that I’m a very slow healer. I’m one of those people who can take their tongue ring out for a year and still be able to put it back in. Freak. Anyway, it usually takes about a month or longer for me to totally heal a tattoo. I took care of it as I do any other tat for a month. The skin just was not healing, yet my friends’ clovers had long since healed. I began to get worried, but I’m a complete a-hole about going to the doctor. I decided to keep it clean and wait it out.

Into month two the skin began to blister. I’m quite pale and have had many a sunburn, and it looked just like that, only… green. Which, trust me, did not add to the overall sickly look it began to develop. I had to wear shoes at work, so I would use nonstick bandages to cover it. It was upon the removal of one of these that a huge chunk of green flesh came up with it. It looked gross. It was around this time that I decided that, it being green, was not allowing me to be able to tell if it was deathly infected or not. It was time to go see the doc. I feared the worst, but it was not infected (thank you). She determined that I was having a reaction to the ink. What could I do? Keep it clean and wait it out. Fifty bucks later and my plan was sanctified by medical professionals.

So wait it out I did. All in all it took about 6 months to fully heal up. It left a vaguely clover shaped crater in my foot with green speckles. I’d like to get it “fixed” but I’m worried about the scar tissue. Also I’m broke. But it’s alright. I lived, and it gave me an interesting ice breaker when I wear sandals: “What is that THING on your foot?!?” Funny you should ask…


submitted by: bagecka
on: 29 Sept. 2010
in Miscellaneous Tattoos

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Saturday, October 16, 2010 @1:09 p.m.
I just learned that I am allergic to red ink - specifically StarBrite burgundy. I had a similar problem as you. I have a 1/2 leg piece and consists of several colors. Everything was healing on its merry way except these couple spots where burgundy ink had been used - they were red and swollen and blistering - gross. After about a week (which by then this shoudl be subsiding) I went to the doctor and found out it was most likely an allergic reaction. I got on antibiotics to prevent secondary infection and in the next week, the skin came off with the ink and everything started to heal. I contacted my artist to let him know and he promptly researched the situation. Apparently, a few other people had some similar problems with similar reds, so he vowed to no longer use that color on anyone. I recently went back to have more work done on my piece and those areas fixed that were affected by the reaction. This time he used powder inks from a different brand and so far so good. Weird reactions to tattoos can definitely be scary so thanks for sharing =) ps I also swell up like an SOB when I get my leg worked on. It looks like I sprain my ankle!
miss victoria
Thursday, May 2, 2013 @10:22 p.m.
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