Phil Pagdin runs a laser tattoo removal business and has seen his fair share of unusual tattoos.

But a rise in home tattoo kits, increasingly available online, has seen some concerning tattoos come through his Adelaide door.

“If the ink is that bad, where you can use biro ink, printer ink, trust me, I’ve lasered household paint, well I’ve tried to, ash from a bonfire that kids have watered down,” he said.

Phil removes tattoos in the same shop that his brother Stu uses to create them.

The brothers are concerned equipment from unregistered sellers poses significant health risks.

Stu said there were no guarantees of “quality control or sterilisation” from some of the kits being sold online.

Stu Pagdin says there’s no telling how safe home tattoo kits really are.(Supplied: Meiji Tattoo)

“You can just get everything you need sent to your house and just go nuts,” he said.

A quick online search revealed a variety of home tattoo kits available from online retailers for under $100.

Professional Tattooing Association of Australia (PTAA) national treasurer Chris Rand said many of the pigments available through online sellers were “not suitable for tattooing”.

He said pigments used by professional artists came with medical safety data sheets, ingredient lists, batch numbers and expiry dates — information not always included by unregistered sellers.

Chris Rand says non-professionals won’t be able to tell between “the good and the bad” supplies.(Supplied: Chris Rand)

“The problem is when they start buying things from non-reputable sources and if you’re not well versed and trained in tattooing, you’re not going to know the difference between the good and the bad,” he said.

Phil said he had seen a range of issues with so-called “backyard” tattoos, from “nasty scarring” to poor before and after tattoo care.

“When you don’t have the knowledge behind you of how to sterilise stuff and how to clean the area, properly prep the area as well, it can be a very, very bad idea,” he said.

“Another risk of home jobs is you don’t know how to control the machine, you don’t know how deep you’re going.”

Phil Pagdin reminds people who want tattoos to seek out professional artists.(ABC News)

Phil said removing tattoos by non-professionals could be difficult, and he had seen clients as young as 13 or 14 come through his doors.

“If the laser is not attracted to the ink, and it won’t remove, unfortunately you have to deal with that until you’re old enough to get that tattoo [re]done,” he said.

While getting a tattoo professionally done can be pricey, Phil said customers enjoyed more certainty around reputable equipment, as well as business insurance and medical waste disposal. 

Phil urged tattoo enthusiasts to stick with professional artists.

“If you want to have a nice-looking tattoo, then you do go to the professionals,” he said.