Scalp pigmentation is a tattoo for the scalp. It appears that body tattooing has been around for at least 10,000 years. Carbon black from various sources is the basic ingredient but henna appeared early on the list. I am sure they used whatever colored minerals they had in their region. Australian aborigines painted their bodies with various local pigments for ceremonial occasions and used the coagulation properties of blood to attach feather down to their bodies. I have seen no reference to tattooing but scarification of their bodies in ornamental designs (making use of their propensity to hypertropic scarring), was very popular in some areas of the Continent. It was the Pacific Islanders, particularly Maoris, who went into tattooing in a big way. It was claimed that these designs “lasted for life” but of course we don’t know how long they lived in that war-like country or if the pigment was “topped-up” from time to time. I am not sure if they used any colors. More research needed.
Dr. Rassman: Tattoo inks have been described as “remarkably nonreactive histologically”. However, cases of allergic reactions to tattoo inks, particularly certain colors, have been medically documented. This is sometimes due to the presence of nickel in an ink pigment, which triggers a common metal allergy which is fairly rare. Women may be more sensitive to the inks so we test concerned patients (who have known allergies) with tattoo inks prior to performing scalp micropigmentation with a patch containing ink on the skin of the forearm and then wipe it off 5 minutes later and look for a reaction.