Disney World's Electrical Parade, Lite-Brites, those OG sneakers with LEDs in their heels — we’re suckers for just about anything that illuminates. So when we stumbled across one of the latest creations from celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy — a Lightsaber that glows under blacklight — we were reminded what major eye candy UV-light tattoos can be.
Since the trend gained even more traction this summer, Instagram’s love for tattoos that glow in blacklight has only grown, with newer, more inventive designs cropping up in our feeds every day.
However, while these posts rack up serious likes, some tattoo artists express concern about the use of UV ink and its ability to stand the test of time once stamped on skin. “I don’t work with that type of ink because it’s unpredictable in terms of how it will heal,” says tattoo artist Miguel Toxtle of L.A.’s The Honourable Society. “From what I’ve seen, some of the coloured UV inks, like pink and orange, may stay on the skin for several years. But I’ve seen the ink you can’t see in daylight only stay on the skin for about a year or two.”
New York City tattoo artist Scott Campbell of Saved Tattoo also steers clear of using the ink because UV-reactive chemicals may not be safe for the skin. But JonBoy, of NYC's West 4 Tattoo, does work with the medium and hasn’t noticed negative side effects on his clients. "I've been in the business for over 16 years. I remember when UV first hit the market. At the time, it was fairly new so people were a little iffy about how safe it was," he says. "I've had mine for years. I recommend it."
Bottom line: It’s best to get the advice of trusted pros when deciding whether a trendy new tattoo type is right for you. In the meantime, we’re happy to live vicariously through fans of the style on Instagram, ahead.