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Distribution of nickel and chromium containing particles from tattoo needle wear in humans and its possible impact on allergic reactions

Abstract : Background: Allergic reactions to tattoos are amongst the most common side effects occurring with this permanent deposition of pigments into the dermal skin layer. The characterization of such pigments and their distribution has been investigated in recent decades. The health impact of tattoo equipment on the extensive number of people with inked skin has been the focus of neither research nor medical diagnostics. Although tattoo needles contain high amounts of sensitizing elements like nickel (Ni) and chromium (Cr), their influence on metal deposition in skin has never been investigated. Results: Here, we report the deposition of nano- and micrometer sized tattoo needle wear particles in human skin that translocate to lymph nodes. Usually tattoo needles contain nickel (6–8%) and chromium (15–20%) both of which prompt a high rate of sensitization in the general population. As verified in pig skin, wear significantly increased upon tattooing with the suspected abrasive titanium dioxide white when compared to carbon black pigment. Additionally, scanning electron microscopy of the tattoo needle revealed a high wear after tattooing with ink containing titanium dioxide. The investigation of a skin biopsy obtained from a nickel sensitized patient with type IV allergy toward a tattoo showed both wear particles and iron pigments contaminated with nickel. Conclusion: Previously, the virtually inevitable nickel contamination of iron pigments was suspected to be responsible for nickel-driven tattoo allergies. The evidence from our study clearly points to an additional entry of nickel to both skin and lymph nodes originating from tattoo needle wear with an as yet to be assessed impact on tattoo allergy formation and systemic sensitization.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 16, 2019 - 5:00:29 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 5, 2020 - 2:44:02 PM
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Ines Schreiver, Bernhard Hesse, Christian Seim, Hiram Castillo-Michel, Lars Anklamm, et al.. Distribution of nickel and chromium containing particles from tattoo needle wear in humans and its possible impact on allergic reactions. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, BioMed Central, 2019, 16, pp.33. ⟨10.1186/s12989-019-0317-1⟩. ⟨hal-02289445⟩

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