Are Sharpie Tattoos Safe?

Sharpies are the form of pen-style permanent markers which were first introduced in 1964. These markers come in different inks with different styles like fine point sharpie, ultra-fine point sharpie, twin tip sharpie, chisel tip sharpie, retractable tip sharpie, etc. In my previous articles, I have explained the several methods of getting temporary tattoos, but one of the easiest methods of getting temporary tattoos is by using sharpies. But the main question that arises is that are sharpie tattoos safe for application on the skin? or do they possess certain chemicals which are harmful to your skin? Let’s read further to clear your all doubts.

Temporary Tattoos-Sharpie-Methods

Are Sharpie Tattoos Safe?

According to the ACMI (The Art and Creative Material Institute, Inc.) certification, the sharpie markers bear the ‘non-toxic’ label, still, the company advises not to use these markers on the skin since some of them contain harmful chemicals which can be dangerous for use. The sharpie pens come in several varieties and among all those, the fine point sharpies are considered the safest ones for use on skin. Though these fine point sharpies are considered safe, still these should not be used near the eyes and mouth. According to the studies, the other varieties of the sharpies like Sharpie Magnum, Sharpie King-Size, and Sharpie Touch-Up contain the chemical compound ‘Xylene’ which can be harmful and can cause drowsiness, sleepiness, fainting, headache, nausea, etc.

Tattoo Temporary Sharpie

  • The ingredients of the sharpies include n-propanol, cresol, n-butanol, and diacetone alcohol. Though a very less quantity of the chemical compound propanol is used in several skin antiseptics and cosmetics, it can also have some side effects. The major side effects of propanol include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, increased heart rate, etc.
  • Cresol has antibacterial properties and is used in several pesticides and disinfectants. Despite having all these properties, it can cause severe skin burns, rashes, allergies, etc.
  • The chemical compound n-butanol is used in several industries for different uses like cleaning, polishing, coating, finishing, etc. It is also considered safe for use in different food items and beverages as an artificial food coloring in some countries. But it can cause skin and eye irritation with the repeated contact.
  • Diacetone alcohol is also used for coating and polishing purposes. Longer exposure to this chemical can cause skin allergies, eye irritation, and inhalation issues.
  • Since all the above-mentioned chemical compounds are present in small quantities in ‘Sharpie Fine Point Markers’ so they are considered safe for use. Still, it is advisable not to use these markers near the eyes and mouth. Also, if you have existing skin allergies, injury, wound, or cut, then avoid using the sharpies as the ink can enter your blood vessels through the broken skin.
  • The other sharpies like Sharpie King Size, Sharpie Magnum, and Sharpie Touch-Up contain the toxic element ‘Xylene’ which can be harmful. Using these markers on your skin is not recommended since it can cause some severe allergic reactions. In severe cases, the use of xylene can even cause lung and kidney failure, irregular heartbeat, damage to the organs, and death too in some cases.

Sharpie Ink or Tattoo Ink?

The sharpies are basically designed for writing purposes on paper, posters, and other artists’ use. So, the ingredients used in the sharpies are according to their use. But these markers can also be used for body art purposes like getting temporary tattoos. Sharpie tattoos are safe if they are made using the ‘Sharpie Fine point Marker’ because the ingredients of this are safer than the other ones which contain the toxic compound ‘Xylene’. But if you already have any skin allergy, wound, or cut on your body then avoid using the sharpie tattoos as the ink of these markers can enter your blood vessels through the broken skin. Also, you can easily remove the ink of the sharpie anytime by using soap and water.

On the other hand, tattoo ink is primarily made for tattooing. The chemical compounds used in the tattoo inks are skin-friendly. Getting permanent tattoos is also a good idea but you should choose it only when you’re ready for the lifetime commitment as the permanent tattoos can only be modified or removed with laser treatments.

How to remove sharpie tattoos?

The ink of the sharpie tattoos sticks to the top layer of your skin so it fades away in a few days. But if you wish to remove it before it naturally fades away, you can do it by washing your skin using soap and water. You can also use rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad, cleansing wipes, or nail polish remover to remove the sharpie tattoos.


Though the ‘Sharpie Fine Point Markers’ are safe to use on the skin it’s advisable to test your skin before the application. In case of any severe allergic reaction, consult a dermatologist.

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