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A vegan is someone who does not consume animals or animal byproducts. They generally do this because it's healthier than eating meat for both individuals and the planet in general, as well as for ethical or spiritual reasons. Most vegans are not only concerned with what they eat, but also with what they consume in other ways — for example, most vegans will avoid leather and fur.

Because of this, many vegans are concerned with the ethical origins of the products being used on them by the body modification industry. Below is a table listing products in the categories "Never Vegan" (products that are not vegan), "May Not Be Vegan" (products that may be vegan, depending on how they are manufactured), "Secondary Animal Usage" (products that are not animal in and of themselves, but require the use of animals in their manufacturing), and "Always Vegan" (items that are always vegan).

Never Vegan

May Not Be Vegan

  • Techni-Care - This product, which currently dominates skin prep for piercing (and suspension) in the US, contains collagen (an animal protein derived from bone, cartilage, and tendon).
  • Tattoo Goo - As with many "natural" products, this popular product contains beeswax.
  • Bone and Horn Jewelry - Comes from animals.
  • A&D Ointment - This tattoo aftercare product (and sometimes needle lubricant) contains lanolin.
  • Satin Antimicrobial Skin Cleanser - This product contains lanolin.
  • H2Ocean - This saline-esque aftercare product contains lysozyme, a protein generally derived from egg whites.
  • Wooden Body Jewelry - Wood body jewelry is often oiled or otherwise treated. Olive oil is of course vegan, but many jewelry suppliers use beeswax on the surface of their jewelry (which is not vegan).
  • Tattoo Ink - Tattoo ink almost always contains glycerine as a carrier (ie. the liquid that the pigment is suspended in). Vegetable-based glycerines are available, but tattoo ink may be manufactured with either (or neither).
  • Black Tattoo Ink - Some kinds of black tattoo ink are bone black, made by burning animal bones down to a charcoal.
  • Various skin creams (tattoo aftercare) - Many skin creams contain lanolin, which is an animal product. Also, many of the mainstream soaps that are regularly recommended are not vegan.
  • Anesthetics - Anesthetics containing epinephrine (adrenaline) may not be vegan.

Secondary Animal Usage

Always Vegan

  • Most metal body jewelry - Buffing compound, used in polishing metal jewelry, is an abrasive suspended in an animal fat (generally cattle tallow). It is used in the manufacture of almost all metal body jewelry on the market.
  • Most acrylic body jewelry - Buffing compound is usually used in the polishing of plastic jewelry as well.
  • Dr. Bronner's, Jason's Satin Soap, etc. - There are many vegan aftercare and cleaning products on the market. Visit any health-food store for them.
  • Iodine (Betadine, etc.) - Iodine is a byproduct of mining, and can be extracted from petroleum brines. It is not animal based.
  • Alcohol - Unlike beers and wines which may use animal products in their preparation, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl, ethanol) does not.
  • Salt-water Soaks - No animal contents.
  • Triclosan - The anti-bacterial product triclosan, common in soaps, is synthetic and should not contain any animal byproducts.
  • Astroglide, KY Jelly - These lubricants contain no animal products (unlike some lubricants which contain animal glycerine not vegetable glycerine).

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