You Won't Believe How These Gorgeous Botanical Tattoos Are Made
This story appeared on Allure.
Your grandmother may still sigh and shake her head over tattoos, but nowadays she's pretty much the only one. Models, actors, lawyers—everybody is jumping on the tattoo train, and as a result, everybody is constantly looking for the newest, coolest tattoo craze. Enter Rita "Rit Kit" Zolotukhina, who's taking "natural" tattooing to a whole new level.
The Ukraine-based tattoo artist has been making waves recently with the beautiful botanical tattoos she posts on Instagram. And while the artistry is gorgeous, it's the way she goes about creating the exceptionally realistic tattoos that's unique.
After finding a real plant that suits her needs, Zolotukhina paints one side of the plant in ink and then presses it to her client's skin where the tattoo will be, leaving a precise outline to guide the tattoo. The results capture the organically imperfect shapes of individual plants, making each tattoo one of a kind.
Pretty as the results are, the first thing we wondered when we learned about Zolotukhina's process was: Is that safe? We asked dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla. "It looks like she's using gentian violet as the ink that she puts on the plants before she presses them onto the skin and then tattoos over them," Mariwalla says. "Gentian violet is the same ink we use for marking sites on the skin prior to surgery and is considered safe. It does have the risk of 'tattooing' in if you pierce through it, but that's the whole point in her case."
But what about the plants themselves? Like any procedure that requires puncturing the skin, a crucial aspect of the tattooing process is to maintain as much sterility as possible to avoid the risk of infection and other nasty complications; doesn't pressing a plant to the skin and then tattooing over the outline increase the chance of some kind of organic matter finding its way under the skin? "The only risk with the plants is making sure she isn't using a plant you're allergic to," says Mariwalla. "People can be allergic to such benign-seeming plants as Peruvian lily or even develop a sun allergy to fig leaves or parsnip, but this would be from prolonged contact. All in all, seems pretty safe." Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, agrees in general, noting that if you want a tattoo in this style you should "be sure you know what the exact natural source is before using it. Not all things natural are safe; remember that poison ivy is also natural. In the event that you develop a red, itchy rash in the area that the product was applied, you should wash it off right away and consult your dermatologist."