What Vegans Should Know About Tattoos
The core of vegan practice is ensuring your environmental impact is minimised as much as possible, and avoiding the consumption of animals products. So you can imagine my shock when I was recently trawling my way through my Facebook feed and stumbled across this video from Business Insider. There are a lot of products that have secret animal ingredients in them! Beer, makeup, chewing gum …… and tattoos!
The Animal Products Used In Tattoos
Almost every aspect of the tattooing process could potentially involve animal products. Glycerine and gelatine, or animal fats, can be used as stabilisers to ensure that the inks can be stored and used over a longer period of time. Black inks commonly contain bone char to ensure the tattoo has a sharp, dark finish on the skin. Shellac, made from crushed beetles, is another ingredient regularly used in tattoo ink.
However, the inclusion of animal products in the tattooing process does not end there.
Both the equipment used to create tattoos and the products used to heal the tattoo can contain animal parts as well. The stencil papers used to guide the tattoo artist can be made from lanolin, a byproduct of sheep’s wool. Lanolin and beeswax can be found in the balms used for tattoo aftercare. Animal rights group, PETA, has noted that you may even have to wary of the disposable razors you are offered by tattooists, as the gel strips at the top usually contain glycerin.
What Can You Do To Prevent Your Tattoos Being Created With Animal Products?
The most important thing you can do when organising your tattoo is to source vegan animal- friendly alternatives. One of the easiest ways to do this is to seek out vegan tattoos studios, as the entire tattooing process is shaped to avoid using animal products. For example, tattoo studio The Rising Tide is owned and run by a vegan, meaning that they offer services and products strictly catered to vegan sensibilities.
Small things like bringing your own vegan razor for hair removal, or sourcing aftercare products such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or shea butter, can also reduce the amount of animal products that are used when getting a tattoo.
If you are not sure whether the tattoo studio you have booked uses animal products in their tattooing, ask them about it!
It’s In Your Hands From Here
What will you be doing for your next tattoo? Let us know in the comments below!
Author Bio – Aisling Philippa
Aisling is a freelance writer for hire at Imagine Copy based in Melbourne, Australia. While she’s not studying her Double Masters of International Relations at Monash University, Aisling enjoys daydreaming about her next witty 140 character retort.