Exposure to these metals and toxins can place an extreme burden on the liver and the other detox organs. Studies show that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have been found stored in the lymph nodes of tattooed people causing them to actually turn black. Many of the heavy metals, like lead and mercury, are also considered to be neurotoxins that can affect cognitive function and cause brain fog, fatigue, and many other symptoms. While the damage of these toxins individually to our health is well-studied, the research on the long-term effects of tattoos is still in its infancy.
If you choose to get tattoos, speak to your tattoo artist about the safest, most nontoxic products available. Some color inks use vegetable-based pigment from spices like turmeric instead of a high dose of heavy metal. While these products do exist, your artist may have to special-order them.
If you suspect that you've been exposed to high levels of toxins or heavy metals, seek the professional help of a functional medicine practitioner to help you safely detox. Our skin is our body's largest organ. Just like clean eating, what we put on our skin is equally important. It goes straight to our bloodstream and throughout our entire body — it's easy to block or forget about this, but it'll affect your health just as much as what you eat.