Ashes to ashes dust to…tattoos: Memorial body ink using cremated remains of loved ones grows in popularity

May 2nd, 2011 by Staff – When you lose a loved one, it is common to keep something belonging to them so you can feel that you have a part of them forever.
But this has been taken to a whole new level in a craze which sees cremated remains from loved ones turned into ink and used as tattoos.
Using cremation ashes, known as cremains, are being used by more and more people to be injected into their skin.
Travis Green is one of these people.
When his father died, he kept some of his ashes in a vile around his neck. But he decided he wanted him to be even closer.
So he came up with the idea to have him inked into his leg and said it was actually something the two talked about when his father was alive.
Speaking to msnbc he said: ‘I brought this up to him once a long time ago, yeah, if you ever die, I will get you tattooed in me, so here I am.’
The practice is called commemorative or ritual tattoos and although it is not new it is gaining in popularity.

Bob Johnson of Finest Lines tattoo parlour in Wickliffe, Ohio, has been doing the commemorative tattoos for 30 years.
He explains the process, adding that the amount of ashes they actually use is microscopic: ‘The preparation is different but it’s the same way we would do any tattoo. We sterilize them first in an autoclave as we would the rest of the equipment, and them make sure it’s fine powder and mix it with the ink.’
But some health and safety experts worry about the practice and that it may be unhygienic or harmful to clients.
Proponents say the ash is made sterile and poses no health risk.

Medical professionals caution that, any time you put a foreign substance in your body, you run the risk of problems ranging from rejection to infection.
Mr Johnson told msnbc: ‘We’ve been doing this for 30 years and never had any complications.’
Travis Green said he is not worried about an infection but is happy that he will always carry a part of his father wherever he goes.
He said: ‘Now I can keep him close by all the time.’

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