Fluorescent ink is not the same as glow-in-the-dark ink. Fluorescent inks glow under ultraviolet light. Phosphorescents glow after being exposed to light, and glow-in-the-dark things that glow without any outside stimulus are almost unknown.
For a brief time around 1991, some tattoo artists experimented with fluorescent inks that glow under UV light. At the time, it was thought that these could be used to make tattoos that would only be visible under UV light. As it turned out, these inks did not perform as expected. They were not invisible under normal light, and in some cases turned brown. At the same time, many people reported skin irritation problems. As a result, we are not currently aware of any tattoo artists still using these inks.
What Colors Are Available?
There are a lot more colors available now than just “Popeye green and red.” Just about every color imaginable can be obtained for your design. If your artist does not have a pre-mixed color, s/he will mix the colors on the spot for you. It is not an exaggeration to say that you could specify your design by Pantone color, especially since many artists have fine arts degrees and are familiar with the various Pantone shades. Pantone shades are used by professional artists and are standard numbered colored.
Are There Gold or Silver Inks For Tattoos?
While there are some metallic inks available, these are very rare and a general answer to this question is a simple “no.” If you have a design that needs to look metallic, a good artist can use other colors to make it look metallic without actually using gold or silver ink. My understanding is that artists shy away from metallic colors because of their toxic properties under the skin.
Can I Get a White Ink Tattoo?
Most artists use white ink to highlight certain parts of your tattoo design. However, white ink is a special color that requires your artist to work closely with you. The effect of white ink differs greatly among clients, and its visibility and retention on the skin has much to do with the natural coloration of your skin.
White ink seems to work best on very light-skinned people. Unfortunately, this means people with dark skin would not able to get a white ink tattoo on their skin to have a “photo negative effect” that looks like a negative of a dark colored tattoo on light skin. This is because the ink sits under your skin, and the layer of skin over the ink is tinted with your natural skin color. So if you have very dark skin, the white will be overwhelmed with your natural melanin.
Those who have very light skin however, may use white ink exclusively to get tattoo designs that are very difficult to discern at first glance. This might be an interesting option for ankle or wrist tattoos, or other areas where a regular non-white tattoo would show up too easily and possibly cause problems for the wearer.