Not all tattoo ink is the same. And by that, not all tattoo ink is safe, according to warnings from the FDA.
Last month, California company White and Blue Lion Inc. recalled inks from in-home tattoo kits after bacterial contamination.
There has been at least one skin infection link to the company. And there have been others involving products with similar packaging.
Tattoos have a bad reputation for causing infections. Many body fluid related diseases such as hepatitis and even pathogens such as MRSA have been linked to tattoos as a result of dirty needles and unsanitary environments.
Additionally, bad reactions to tattoo ink may come years after the tattoo has been inked.
The inks can cause infections even in the cleanest environments if the ink carries bacteria that spread through the bloodstream causing sepsis.
White and Blue Lion may not be the only company with contaminated tattoo inks according to the FDA. Some of the bottles are missing manufacture information and some have a multicolored Chinese dragon image on the bottle.
The FDA said when getting tattoos, ensure that the ink has the brand name and the location of the company manufacturing it.
"What the consumer can do is talk to the tattoo artist and see the ink bottles," said Linda Katz, director of the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors.
Additionally, temporary tattoos that are often found at beaches and boardwalks can also be dangerous from black henna. Black henna is a combination of red henna and chemicals that can lead to serious skin reactions.
The FDA warned consumers to avoid inks that have no brand name, have a dragon logo, don't have the name and address of the distributor, are sold by themselves or in kits from five to 54 bottles of inks or are marked with "Lotch" and batch numbers or "date produced" and "best if used by" dates.
Katz also said that everyone is at risk for infection, but people with pre-existing heart or circulatory disease, diabetes or compromised immune systems are especially at risk.
Infections could present themselves as excessive pain, blemishes, swelling or other redness. If an infection is untreated, it could be deadly.