The inks in tattoos are supposed to remain confined to the skin, but a recent study by Andreas Luch of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin and colleagues shows that elements within inks are transported in micro- and nanoparticle forms from the skin to regional lymph nodes. The team used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence at the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France, to track the presence of various elements ex vivo in tattooed tissues. The results revealed the first evidence for the transport of various organic and inorganic pigments and toxic-element impurities, such as heavy metals and titanium dioxide. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy also revealed ultrastructural changes in tissue next to tattoo particles and elevated lipid contents, which may contribute to inflammation and other problems associated with tattooing.