The Internet Is Flipping Over This Tattoo Trend


Whether you’re talking about diets, beauty products, or preschool programming, the term “plant-based” has become unrelentingly buzzy as of late. So it seems only natural that the trend is getting the tattoo treatment as well. Tattoo artist Rita "Rit Kit" Zolotukhina is creating some of the most enviable ink on Instagram by using found plants and leaves.

Remember those pressed-flower cards you’d make at school for Mother’s Day? Well, consider this naturalistic body work the grown-up version. To make alarmingly lifelike fern and bamboo leaves or replicate a sprig of lavender, the Ukrainian-based artist paints one side of the foraged flower with ink and then imprints the plant on the body. After lifting the flora, she uses the ink print to guide her gun.

The purpose is not to make a hyper-stylized version of nature, but to recreate it realistically. So the artist uses varying gradients of ink to capture both the lush and decomposing aspects of the plant, while keeping bug bites and asymmetry firmly in the picture.

But can the plant-stamping process cause adverse reactions? Raja Sivamani, MD, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at University of California, Davis, who integrates concepts of Ayurvedic medicine and plant sciences into his work, cites a few safety issues to keep in mind. “Since people can have allergies to different plants, people with a history of plant allergies should be mindful,” he says. “If tattooing is done right over the inked image, some of the plant residue may get tattooed into the skin, potentially pushing the allergen into the skin.”

If plants have proven allergenic for you in the past, Dr. Sivamani notes that “it is worth rubbing the desired plant on their skin to first see if an allergy develops as a test spot.” Sometimes allergic reactions don’t pop up until the second exposure, so taking a few isolated passes may be best.

As far as the stamp ink, dermatologic surgeon and RealSelf contributor Joel Schlessinger, MD, isn’t particularly concerned, “The ink used to stamp is probably not harmful as long as it is non-toxic,” he says. “But it’s important to remember that anything could cause a reaction in certain individuals. For example, some of the most common allergies include fragrances and dyes.”

Another potential issue with the technique may be sterilization. The derm cites bacteria and fungi native to plants that may cause local irritation or even infection through transfer. “If they clean the plant beforehand, that would be helpful, but there is no guarantee,” says Dr. Sivamani. “A medical professional would be unlikely to actively advise to get these tattoos, but would suggest that people be mindful of the risks.”

Possible/potential risks aside, the result is not only beautifully lifelike, but because nature is the guide, it feels timeless, too. If Henry David Thoreau were alive today, he may not have been down with IG or newfangled body art, but something tells us the great American naturalist would have leapt at the chance to get this kind of ink.

More from Skin Care

If you’ve fallen victim to the frustration that is acne — and, seeing as how it’s the most common skin condition in the US, chances are you have — we’ve ...
If you peeked into my high school medicine cabinet, somewhere nestled between my Noxzema and Elizabeth Arden Sunflower perfume, you’d find a cucumber peel-...
One of the most common skin-care woes we hear from both readers and friends is an uneven complexion — more specifically, those dark spots left over from ...
(Paid Content) Finding a skin-care regimen that keeps skin clear without drying it out isn't easy. Don’t you worry — we’ve got you on this one. Together ...
As beauty editors, one of the top questions we're asked on the regular is actually pretty basic: "What should my skin-care routine look like?" And it makes...
Forget freaks and vampires: When it comes to beauty rituals, it’s our inner princesses who come out at night. It’s then that we languidly soak in tubs of ...
You always want what you can’t have — especially when it comes to beauty products. That’s why we’re getting the inside scoop from your favorite retailers ...
(Paid Content) If achieving clear, glowing, incredible skin were as easy as slathering on a single cream, we’d be the first in line to scoop it up. But ...
We know that our cell phones aren’t always good for us. Tech neck, sleep disturbances, eye strain — all actual health concerns. And of course, not cleaning...
What do you call a price increase that goes from around $240 to nearly $10,000? Words like strange, confusing, and even exploitative may come to mind. ...
Dry, scaly skin can be kind of a nightmare no matter what the season. So, in the spirit of smoother, ultra-hydrated skin, we put together a list of our ...
When it comes to pretty much, well, everything, it’s no secret that millennials expect swift service, same-day delivery, and overall efficiency. Our need ...
Since we’re all well aware of the dangers of tanning beds — and too much time in natural sunlight sans SPF — self-tanners are the perfect solution when the...
This isn't news to anyone, but I feel it bears repeating: Acne scars suck. Anyone who has suffered from post-pimple hyperpigmentation knows this truth to ...