How Safe are Temporary Airbrush Tattoos?


Temporary tattoos are all the rage right now, especially airbrush tattoos. The buzz online has more and more people interested in learning about them and trying one out for themselves.

With anything new, the first question that comes to mind is safety. How safe is the ink? Are there risks in the process? Can I get a reaction? Since permanent tattoos are notorious for their horror stories, people have a hard time trusting temporary ones too.

Airbrush tattoos are among the safest options for temporary tattoos. They are applied using controlled air pressure and FDA-approved (in America) inks specially crafted for use on the skin. There are minimal risks involved from application to removal.

For anyone wanting to give airbrush tattoos a go, this article will discuss any possible risks associated with airbrush tattoos that you should keep in mind. 


How Are Airbrush Tattoos Applied Safely?

Airbrush tattoos are applied using an airbrush tool that converts the ink into fine particles and sprays it using compressed air. Unlike spray guns, an airbrush is more precise and uses lower air pressure. This ensures that the air pressure isn’t high enough to cause bruises or penetrate the skin, as compressed air can be a potential danger.

The tattoo artist will use your desired stencil and place it in the chosen area. Make sure that your skin is healthy, and doesn’t have any damage or irritation before getting a temporary tattoo. Be sure to remove any dirt or grime beforehand, but don’t worry because the tattoo artists will usually clean the area before starting.

When selecting colors, feel free to ask what brand of ink is being used. Although FDA-approved inks are safe for all, individual allergies or skin conditions may lead to irritation, rashes, or other reactions. In such cases, a dermatologist should be consulted.

Once the stencil is placed and the colors are chosen, the airbrush is used to spray ink and create the image.

After the tattoo is done, powders are often applied to seal it in. Check for talc allergies or other possible irritants in these products and powders before applying them. 

You can check out our detailed article here on choosing safe body paint without skin damage.

Possible Risks of Getting an Airbrush Temporary Tattoo

There are no substantial dangers associated with airbrush tattoos. However, there may be individual sets of problems faced by different people. As people tend to confuse permanent and temporary tattoos, comparing their risks may help ease your mind.

1. Can You Get an Allergic Reaction From Airbrush Tattoos?

As skin types vary from person to person, there is a chance of having an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the ink or powders. 

Although all inks have to be approved by safety boards, there may be individual ingredients that some people have a sensitivity or allergy to. It is best to ask what ink is used and research it beforehand. Feel free to inquire about any powders or ointments being used on top.

Generally, there are two types of airbrush paints that are commonly used for airbrush tattoos. These include water-based paints and alcohol-based paints. Both these types of paints have different characteristics and longevity. Make sure you understand which ink you’re using and ensure if it’s safe to use for yourself.

Moreover, you should check inks, powders, and ointments before getting permanent tattoos. Permanent tattoos penetrate deeper into epidermal layers, and the reactions from permanent tattoos are more severe than those of temporary tattoos.

In either case, contact of inks with the skin may lead to a reaction by the body. 

However, any damage caused by an airbrush tattoo will be substantially lower due to its temporary nature. 

2. Is Scarring a Possibility With Airbrush Tattooing?

Don’t worry, there is virtually no risk. Nothing in the ink or application method could potentially lead to scarring.

In traditional permanent tattoos, many cases have been recorded of what is called Keloid scarring. Due to the penetration of the needle, a healing period is needed after the tattoo has been completed. In this period, if there are any allergies or complications, scarring becomes a possibility.

As airbrush tattoos do not involve tearing the skin, there is no way for a scar to form.

However, there may be a danger of small items being plunged into the skin with compressed air that causes a tear and later a scar. Though this threat is nearly non-existent, you should always be careful when blowing compressed air directly onto the human body.

3. Is an Experienced Tattoo Artist Necessary For Airbrush Tattoos?

Not really. This is not to say that newer tattoo artists with adequate training are incapable. Still, it is a word of advice to not trust just anyone with an airbrush tool.

The need for both an experienced and highly trained professional is non-negotiable for permanent tattoos. Due to the high number of potential risks, it is never advised to be someone’s guinea pig when there’s a needle involved.

But that’s not the case at all with an airbrush tattoo. Since the airbrush tool is non-invasive and only requires compressed air, no rocket science is needed. However, the tattoo artist should know the prescribed air pressure for airbrush tattoos (5-12 psi) and how to handle the tool safely. 

Applying a temporary airbrush tattoo is so simple that no hardcore training or experience is required. You can even do it yourself at home after learning the basics!

Here’s how much airbrush artists charge per hour in case you’re wondering.

4. Are There Crazy Side Effects After Getting an Airbrush Tattoo?

To put it simply, no. There is no real reason for any side effects, as the contact period of airbrush tattoo ink is so short. 

There are many wild possibilities of hidden cancer, MRIs having problems, or major skin infections with permanent tattoos. But that’s not the case with temporary airbrush tattoos

This might as well be the biggest benefit of getting a temporary airbrush tattoo. They help with easing commitment issues, but they’re also as harmless as possible. This is a major reason why they’re so popular with children and their parents.

A temporary airbrush tattoo is a short-term experience that will not leave behind anything but fond memories and cool pictures. Once it fades out entirely or is appropriately removed, it’s as if it was never there.

It doesn’t leave any complications or problems, and as a reminder, airbrush tattoos are completely waterproof!

Precautions for Getting a Temporary Airbrush Tattoo 

1. Damaged Skin is a No-Go

Cracked, cut, or damaged skin is vulnerable to infections and further irritation. It is best to avoid any areas with skin conditions or injuries. 

If you are planning on getting an airbrush tattoo any time soon, you may benefit from prepping your skin early on for the best possible results. 

2. Have a Clean Surface to Work With

When combined with dirt, makeup, or other substances, tattoo inks may lead to reactions or infections. 

If you have sensitive skin, it is best to clean the area you’ll be getting tattooed to save yourself from any trouble. Even if a reaction does not occur, the quality and longevity of the tattoo may also be impacted. 

You can consider contacting a doctor if you see any signs of redness, itching, or swelling. 

3. Choose a Proper Area for Tattooing

Airbrush tattoos are safe on all body areas, but some may be less ideal than others. If you ask for a tattoo close to the eyes, nose, or mouth, there is a chance the tattoo artist may refuse your request. 

This is because ink droplets or fumes may become a potential risk for you if you inhale them in large quantities or they enter your body through your nose or mouth. 

4. Remove Tattoos With Care

Temporary airbrush tattoos have the simplest removal process, but being unaware or going overboard will cost you. 

Don’t rub with water and soap unless the paint is water-soluble. Airbrush tattoos are easily removed when rubbed with 70% isopropanol or baby oil; there is no need for applying intense pressure.

Avoid irritation and friction burns by soaking a cotton pad with either liquid and gently rubbing it onto the tattoo.

5. Don’t Forget to Enjoy

The whole point of temporary tattoos is to have fun and memorable experience! 

If there are any concerns in your mind or things that make you hesitant, talk to someone with experience or ask your tattoo artist. Always be comfortable and decisive with your decisions, and if things don’t go well, you can always clean it off.

For children, experimenting with temporary airbrush tattoos is a thrilling and memorable experience. Make sure that they are as prepared and comfortable as possible because new experiences tend to bring out their nerves. 

If a child is unwilling to try one or does not feel comfortable getting one on areas such as the face, do not force them.

What Other Things to Consider Before Getting an Airbrush Tattoo?

The chances of having a poor airbrush tattoo experience are slim. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few things you should consider before getting an airbrush temporary tattoo:

  • It’s best to look out for your personal skin requirements. 
  • Read up about inks and their ingredient lists. 
  • Try to patch-test with a small tattoo first if you get the chance. 
  • Be mindful of who you get the tattoo from and ensure they use FDA-approved inks and not cheap or knock-off brands.

If you don’t feel comfortable getting one at a party or festival, try to find a temporary tattoo artist in your area. You can ask about the inks they use and search them up before you go in. 

Ensure that the airbrushing setup is safe, clean, and complete. Here’s what should be in your airbrushing setup.

On the off-chance that you do get an allergic reaction from the ink, remove the tattoo as soon as possible and consult a dermatologist if the reaction does not subside.


Airbrush tattoos are completely safe, so long as you do the required research. Allergies are uncommon; however, it varies from individual to individual. It is up to you to make safe and sensible choices throughout the process of this experience. 

Some people getting an airbrush tattoo for the first time can be a little nervous, but there’s no need for it. Tell us about your experience in the comments after getting your first airbrush tattoo!


1. Are airbrush tattoos dangerous?

Airbrush tattoos are not dangerous. They are non-invasive and easily removable.

2. Are airbrush tools safe?

Yes, when handled professionally and when low PSI settings are used for body art.

3. Is airbrush tattoo ink toxic?

No, airbrush tattoo inks are not toxic if approved by safety boards such as the FDA. You can easily search for approved inks online and ask the airbrush artist what they use to be safe.

4. How common are allergic reactions?

Allergic reactions to airbrush tattoo inks are relatively uncommon. There are no common allergens present in their ingredients. Cases recorded are circumstantial and depend on the individual’s medical history.

5. How can I avoid an allergic reaction?

Be aware of your skin before you start. You can search online for ingredient lists and see if there are any brands you should avoid. If you have sensitive skin or a history of skin reactions, try patch testing with a small tattoo first.


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