Move over, minimalist tattoos: There’s a colorful new ink trend in town. Glow-in-the-dark tattoos first made their appearance in the 1990s, but like all things nostalgic, the style has made its way back into the spotlight. People are sharing their glowing ink on Instagram, proving that the neon trend has infiltrated just about everything it can.
Because we know you’re wondering, yes, glow-in-the-dark tattoos really do glow in the dark. But there’s a catch: The majority of them won’t activate simply by shutting off the lights. Most require the UVA rays of a blacklight, which when shined on the tattoo, triggers the neon glow.
People on social media are sharing their glowing works of art, from dainty flowers to full sleeves of neon ink. Some are also choosing to go with a more subtle glow, by adding glow-in-the-dark ink to only certain parts of their tattoo. Whatever the choice, it’s all looks crazy cool. Take a look:
And as for potential risks, experts says modern day glow-in-the-dark tattoos are as safe as a regular tattoo. When artists first started experimenting with them, they used inks containing phosphorus, which are no longer used since phosphorus is a carcinogen that can result in numerous skin conditions. (Phosphorus is the stuff in glow sticks that makes them light up, if that gives you any context into its toxicity.)
But given that no tattoo ink is regulated by the FDA, it’s always possible that a tattoo shop could be using inks containing phosphorus. Just make sure to do you research and work with a tattoo artist you trust. Glow-in-the-dark tattoos will also require the same aftercare as a regular tattoo, though they might need to be touched up more frequently due to the bright pigments.
Of course, because most people aren’t around blacklights that much, a glow-in-the-dark tattoo will look like a normal tattoo the majority of the time. So, if you choose to try out the trend, your chances of regretting it are pretty low. Sunburn tattoos, however… well, that’s a different story.