How Deep Does Tattoo Ink Go?
– The tattoo needle punctures your skin around 100 times per second, with the aim of depositing the ink in a region of 1. 5 to 2 millimeters below the surface of the skin. The reason for this depth of penetration is to bypass the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis.
This part of the skin constantly renews itself. Every day, thousands of epidermal cells are shed from your skin and replaced with new cells. Ink injected into the superficial skin layer would simply come off within 3 weeks.
In order to give the ink a permanent home in your body, the tattoo needle must travel through the epidermis into the deeper layer, or the dermis. Nerves and blood vessels are located here, which is why getting a tattoo hurts and your skin tends to bleed.
- The bleeding is part of the skin’s natural defense against injury;
- The result is an influx of immune cells to the site of injury;
- Macrophages are specialized immune cells, whose job it is to engulf foreign particles and clear them from the tissue;
But this process is only partially successful when it comes to tattoo ink. Some macrophages loaded with ink particles remain in the dermis, while other pigment particles are taken up by the main dermal residents, which are called fibroblasts. Clumps of pigment particles have also been found to stick between the dense collagen fibers of the dermis.
- Although every new tattoo will display some pigment loss, the majority of the ink will stay in the skin;
- A study in mice reported that 42 days after tattooing, 68 percent of the dye was still located at the injection site;
But where is the rest of the ink?.
- 0.1 How far do tattoos penetrate?
- 1 Can your body reject a tattoo?
- 2 Is tattoo ink cancerous?
- 3 Are tattoos unhealthy?
- 4 Is tattoo ink cancerous?
How many layers of skin does tattoo ink go into?
Just How Far Does The Needle Go? – Now that you know a little more about the machine and the needle, it’s time to discuss the third essential piece of the puzzle—your skin. The tattoo needle goes through 1/16th of an inch of skin. That might not sound like a lot of skin, but it is really going through five sublayers of the epidermis, the dermal layer, and also the top layer of the dermis.
Among these layers is a collection of sweat glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, fat, and blood vessels. During a tattoo session, the needle passes through the epidermis and epidermal-dermal junction, opening a passage in the 2mm-thick dermis.
The dermis is ideal for a couple of reasons. It is far enough not to bleed out and isn’t exposed. Knowing this, the tip of the tattoo needle is minutely adjusted to ensure that it enters the skin to the correct depth. If you were to look at a tattoo needle in the machine, you will see that it sticks out no further than 2mm.
What happens if tattoo ink goes too deep?
While, in a perfect world, there would be no tattoo problems—this is not the world we are living in. Things go wrong during the tattoo process (or the days that follow) every single day and unless we get the word out, clients will continue to get tattoos with noticeable complications. Blowouts Blowouts are any unfortunately common tattoo complication that occurs when the artist puts the ink too deep. If the ink is put in too deep it will spread out throughout the layers of the skin. Blowouts are most commonly noticed immediately after a tattoo is finished, however, some take a few weeks to show up. Typically, blowouts occur when a tattooer is inexperienced, but it can also happen if they are too heavy handed.
However, whether it be the fault of the artist or the client, these mistakes are avoidable. Take a look below to learn the 9 most common tattoo complications and what you can do about your issue. Then, if you have experience with one of these tattoo problems, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section on Facebook.
The only solution for fixing a blowout is with a coverup. However, if the blowout is small, it is possible for the artist to make a few minor adjustments in the tattoo. Keloids Keloiding, while mostly uncommon, can occur from a tattoo. Unlike a blowout, keloiding is completely depending on a person’s genetics. Some people, often people with darker skin, are prone to keloiding and should be cautious when getting a tattoo or piercing. It’s more common for keloiding to occur in piercings, but there are cases where it happens as a result of a tattoo. Bad Translations While we highly recommend researching your tattoo, especially if it is in a foreign language to you, not all artists and clients are careful with this. Google translate is not a reliable source for correct translations and in some writing systems, like kanji, it’s easy to make major mistakes. In order to prevent these mistakes, do your research and if possible, proof your tattoo with someone who if fluent in that language. White Ink Turning Yellow White ink, specifically tattoos that entirely consist of white ink, are still largely taboo in the tattoo industry. And here’s why. White ink is extremely prone to turning yellow, especially when exposed to sunlight. Just like your skin, tattoos change colors due to prolonged sun exposure. The best way to keep your white ink tattoo from yellowing is covering it up when it has the potential to be exposed to direct sunlight.
There is no real way to avoid getting a keloid from a tattoo, but we recommend consulting a tattooer if you’re prone to this type of scarring. Artists with experience working on keloid-prone skin may have different techniques for approaching a tattoo.
Whether it be through sunblock or clothing, this is the best solution for protecting your white tattoo. Crooked Ink There’s nothing worse than a nice tattoo that is crooked or unintentionally asymmetrical. Placement is a key component to tattooing and there’s no excuse for having a design that is noticeably off center. Sure, human bodies are never perfectly symmetrical to begin with, however, an artist should be able to make it work. In order to avoid a crooked tattoo, make sure you check over the stenciled design multiple times before the needle hits your skin. Misspelled Tattoos Like poorly translated tattoos, misspellings occur when text is not thoroughly proofed by multiple eyes. It is not the artist’s responsibility to ensure that your tattoo is spelled correctly, it is the job of the client to double, triple, and quadruple check their design. If you end up with a misspelled tattoo, go back to your artist and see if they can make adjustments to the design. Tattoo Infections Infections are an unfortunate side effect of improper aftercare and they can lead to serious health consequences. After getting a tattoo, your artist will give you a strict lists of dos and don’ts, and its important for clients to trust their professional expertise. But in general to avoid an infection, clients should stay away from bodies of water whether it be a pool or an ocean during the healing process.
Additionally, the artist should place the stencil when you’re standing up right and your body is centered. In some cases, the problem can be easily mediated, however, with others a coverup is the only viable option.
If you have an infected tattoo, you need to seek medical attention immediately. There have been serious health consequences because of infected tattoos and some even result in death. Scarring Another common tattoo complication is scarring. Scarring occurs when the tattoo needle penetrates beyond the second layer of skin and comes in contact with the deeper, delicate layers. Artists who are heavy handed, inexperienced or straight up lazy are prone to scarring their clients. Tattoo scarring is largely unfixable and artists need to be extremely careful if they’re tasked with covering up a scarred tattoo. Fast Fading Last, but not least, fast fading is one of the most common complications that afflict tattoo clients. All tattoos will fade over time, however, an inexperienced artist or specific styles and locations are prone to rapid fading. If an artist does not go deep enough with their needles, the tattoo will likely fade quickly. However, certain areas of the body, such as the fingers or the palms of the hand will fade quicker no matter if the tattoo is put in properly.
Tattoos are essentially open wounds and an artist can make these scars worse by going over them with a machine. These locations have different skin than the rest of the body and on top of that, they are constantly manipulated through daily use.
There are ways to avoid fast fading, such as enlisting an experienced artist or seeking out a tattooer who specializes in tattooing difficult areas. However, if you have a faded tattoo that needs fixing, your options are to either continuously get the piece touched up or to cover the tattoo with something built to last.
How far do tattoos penetrate?
You’ve decided to get a tattoo, but are wondering about the process. That’s super understandable and a smart move. Tattoos can be the most beautiful piece of artwork or memory you try to hold on to for the rest of your life. If you’ve never been comfortable with needles before and are worried about the level of pain to expect, knowing a bit more about the mechanics behind tattooing can help allay those fears. The tattooing process penetrates 1/16th of an inch into your skin through:
- Five layers of the epidermis
- The dermal layer
- The top-most layer of the dermis
Does tattoo ink reach the bloodstream?
Does Ink Get Into Your Bloodstream? – The short answer is yes, tattoo ink does enter your bloodstream. However, it’s important to note that the ink doesn’t just stay in your blood vessels. When the needle punctures your epidermis and deposits the ink into the dermis (the second layer of your skin), this triggers your body’s immune system.
It steps in to heal the wound by flushing out the ink particles and surrounding damaged tissue. Our cells break down most of the ink pigments and become lodged in the liver. In most cases, macrophages (cells that help us fight foreign substances and protect our immune system) carry some of the ink particles and deposit them in your lymph nodes.
Side effect? Your lymph nodes may develop the same colour as your tattoo.
Can a tattoo needle hit a vein?
– This type of tattoo isn’t entirely risk-free. But then, getting a tattoo always involves some level of risk, with an infection being the main cause for concern. The risk for an infection gets a little higher when it comes to tattoos on veins, according to Dr.
Stacey Chimento, a board certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. “Tattoos involve applying pressure on your skin with a needle, which can rupture the vein, making it bleed into the surrounding tissue and cause an infection,” she says.
If you have varicose veins, Chimento goes on to explain, this could make things worse and result in veins that protrude even further. “Varicose veins struggle to heal due to their pre-existing damage. If pierced during the tattoo session, they could randomly bleed internally or externally, affecting surrounding organs,” she says.
- Another thing to keep in mind when considering a tattoo to cover varicose veins? How that tattoo could potentially impact any future treatment of the veins;
- “To treat the diseased veins, they need to be somewhat visible;
And if left untreated, the blood can leak into the leg tissue and cause hyperpigmentation. Although rare, infections and undiagnosed veins can cause a need for urgent care if left untreated,” Chimento says.
How do I know if my tattoo artist went too deep?
Can your body reject a tattoo?
– It’s normal to notice irritation or swelling after getting inked. But tattoo reactions can go beyond simple irritation. Skin can swell, itch, and ooze with pus. Most allergic reactions are tied to certain inks. This hypersensitivity often presents as contact dermatitis or photosensitivity.
How common is tattoo blowout?
Tattoo blowouts aren’t that common, mostly because tattoo artists nowadays have to go through extensive training to get licensed. However, this is not a guarantee that you won’t experience a tattoo blowout. Either way, it can easily be fixed with laser correction, or you can cover it with another tattoo.
How long will a tattoo feel raised?
– It’s important to know the signs that your tattoo isn’t healing properly or has become infected. Symptoms of improper healing include:
- Fever or chills. A fever may indicate that your tattoo has become infected, and you should see a doctor right away.
- Prolonged redness. All tattoos will be somewhat red for a few days after the procedure, but if the redness doesn’t subside , it’s a sign that your tattoo isn’t healing well.
- Oozing fluid. If fluid or pus is still coming out from your tattoo after 2 or 3 days, it may be infected. See a doctor.
- Swollen, puffy skin. It’s normal for the tattoo to be raised for a few days, but the surrounding skin shouldn’t be puffy. This may indicate that you’re allergic to the ink.
- Severe itching or hives. Itchy tattoos can also be a sign that your body is allergic to the ink. The allergic reaction to a tattoo can happen right after, or as much as several years after getting the tattoo.
- Scarring. Your tattoo will scab over because it’s a wound, but a properly healed tattoo shouldn’t scar. Signs of scarring include raised, puffy skin, redness that doesn’t fade, distorted colors within the tattoo, or pitted skin.
Is tattoo ink cancerous?
When it comes to cancer, black ink can be especially dangerous because it contains a very high level of benzo(a)pyrene. Benzo(a)pyrene is currently listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
What do tattoos do to your body?
Allergic reactions – Some people might develop an allergic reaction after getting a tattoo. This is usually related to the ink — especially if it contains plastic — and not the needling process itself. According to the Mayo Clinic , red, yellow, blue, and green pigments tend to be the most allergenic.
What happens if you tattoo over a vein?
Blog In Less Than 30 Seconds:
- Tattoos have remained a popular commodity for generations of people, especially Millennials, who make up the majority of those tattooed in the United States (40%).
- In some instances, it is possible to tattoo over varicose veins; however, doing so could lead to a distorted tattoo or worse: ruptured veins, spontaneous bleeding, or an infection.
- In this blog, the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center explain the negative effects tattooing over varicose veins can have on a patient’s health.
What is Tattooing? Tattooing is a unique body modification technique that injects ink into layers of the skin using a special needle attached to a rotary or coil machine. This process creates permanent designs in the skin that can only be removed by a high-powered laser skin-resurfacing device. Tattoos often have a cultural significance or meaning to them, which is why getting one can be a very tough, yet personal decision.
- Many people may be surprised to learn tattoos have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest known examples of tattoos dating back 5,200 years;
- Fortunately, tattooing tools have evolved since then, so the physical act of tattooing is relatively safe;
We say “relatively” because tattooing is really only its safest when the tattoo artist practices all of the safety and sanitary guidelines necessary to prevent infection and other complications. Tattooing and Varicose Veins Patients at Palm Vein Center often ask questions about what activities they can and cannot do with a venous disease like varicose veins.
- While there is little a person can’t do, there are a few things the team at PVC recommends patients avoid at all costs, one of these being a tattoo;
- There are many blogs, videos, and public forums that say otherwise, but the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center want to inform patients that tattooing over varicose veins is not a good ideafor many reasons;
Decreased Function, Unsightly Appearance, and Infection First, patients should understand that tattooing is not a great alternative to minimizing the appearance of varicose veins. In fact, doing so could worsen the condition they’re in and cause them to bulge or protrude even more. Many websites will argue tattoo needles don’t go deep enough to puncture varicose veins, but that is not necessarily true. If a patient lacks an adequate amount of subcutaneous fat near or around the protruding vein, a tattooing needle could pierce the vein as it is injecting ink. These occurrences are rare, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. The bottom line? Tattooing over varicose veins can result in decreased function, an unsightly appearance, and possible infection.
While tattooing over scar tissue can be done safely (mastectomy scars, stretch marks, etc. ), tattooing over varicose veins could lead to an infection, making them even more unsightly than before. Tattoos Make It Difficult To Treat A Venous Disease People need to understand spider veins and varicose veins are not a cosmetic concern – they’re a disease.
Both conditions indicate that the valves within the veins are not functioning properly, which is why varicose veins look the way they do (bulging, thick, snake-like, etc. Varicose veins that are left untreated could lead to serious health problems such as skin ulcers, poor circulation, pain, skin discoloration, hemorrhaging, and much more.
- Therefore, it’s best to avoid getting tattooed and instead opt for vein treatment;
- Speaking of vein treatment, tattooing over varicose veins could also make administering treatment difficult for the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center;
The team at the IAC-accredited vein care facility needs to be able to see your veins clearly to ensure treatment accuracy and efficacy. Although the medical team at Palm Vein Center is highly qualified and knowledgeable in treating varicose veins and spider veins, tattoos could complicate the process and increase your risk of developing serious health problems.
Threatens Overall Health and Wellness This may seem like an obvious point, but as we mentioned previously, tattoos could cause significant damage to your overall health if a varicose vein is pierced or damaged in the process.
This could cause spontaneous internal and external bleeding, which can affect surrounding organs. Plus, when a varicose vein bleeds, it usually has some difficulty healing itself because it is an unhealthy, damaged vein. In these cases, patients may need to visit a vein clinic, urgent care facility, or emergency room to have their ruptured vein sutured closed. Tattooing To avoid some of these scenarios, patients should see the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center before scheduling their tattoo appointment. If your vein condition and symptoms are relatively mild, a specialist at the clinic may recommend conservative therapies such as exercise, dietary changes, elevating the legs, therapeutic massage, or compression stockings. While these options are favorable for most patients, they may not be the most effective at successfully mitigating the existing vein disease.
This could cause increased stress and affect a patient’s overall health and wellness. Ultimately, patients should consider treatment before getting a tattoo. Treatment Vs. Instead, patients may fare better with minimally invasive vein treatments like light-guided sclerotherapy , endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, or VenaSeal Closure.
Light-guided sclerotherapy is an injection procedure for patients with spider veins and small varicose veins, and endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, and VenaSeal Closure are minimally invasive surgeries for larger varicose veins that may require local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance.
The most important thing a patient can do is educate him or herself on the causes, symptoms, and treatments for venous diseases like spider veins and varicose veins. Check out our Vein Disease page to learn more about these conditions, and for more information on this topic (tattooing and varicose veins), schedule an appointment with a member of the Palm Vein Center team today.
Please call 623-201-4777; we look forward to meeting you! The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
Are tattoos unhealthy?
Know the risks – Tattoos breach the skin, which means that skin infections and other complications are possible, including:
- Allergic reactions. Tattoo dyes — especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. This can occur even years after you get the tattoo.
- Skin infections. A skin infection is possible after tattooing.
- Other skin problems. Sometimes an area of inflammation called a granuloma can form around tattoo ink. Tattooing also can lead to keloids — raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.
- Bloodborne diseases. If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, you can contract various bloodborne diseases — including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
- MRI complications. Rarely, tattoos or permanent makeup might cause swelling or burning in the affected areas during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. In some cases, tattoo pigments can interfere with the quality of the image.
Medication or other treatment might be needed if you experience an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink or you develop an infection or other skin problem near a tattoo.
Can a wrist tattoo puncture a vein?
Special Considerations – The process of any tattoo is that the needle and ink penetrate only the epidermis and dermis layers of skin. It’s the hypodermis part that houses the veins and arteries, which is why it’s perfectly safe to tattoo over the wrist veins.
How does tattoo ink stay in the skin?
It takes a brave soul (in some cases, emboldened by a strong drink or two) to get a tattoo. And while people may spend time considering what design to have pierced onto their bodies, few may consider exactly what happens to the ink once it is injected under their skin. In fact, scientists are still investigating that question. To make a tattoo permanent, a tattoo artist punctures the skin with hundreds of needle pricks.
Each prick delivers a deposit of ink into the dermis , the layer of skin that lies below the epidermis, which is populated with blood vessels and nerves. Once the ink is inserted into the dermis, it doesn’t all stay put, research is finding.
Some ink particles migrate through the lymphatic system and the bloodstream and are delivered to the lymph nodes. Research on mice suggests some particles of ink may also end up in the liver. “When you inject particles into the skin, some travel to the lymph nodes within minutes,” Ines Schreiver, a chemist with the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin,told Live Science.
[ 5 Weird Ways Tattoos Affect Your Health ] Where the ink goes To be clear, most of the tattoo pigment stays put after a person gets a tattoo. The ink that’s not cleared away by special repair cells, called macrophages, stays in the dermis within trapped macrophages or skin cells called fibroblasts.
It then shows through the skin, perhaps spelling out “Mom” or featuring that eagle design you spent weeks choosing. “Normally, the ink doesn’t migrate too far from where it’s injected,” Dr. Arisa Ortiz, a dermatologist and director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at the U.
San Diego Health, told Live Science. “For the most part, it is engulfed [by skin or immune cells ] and then kind of sticks around in the dermis. ” But researchers are now taking a closer look at the tattoo ink that does travel to other parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes.
Schreiver was part of a team of German and French scientists that performed the first chemical analyses on tattoo ink collected at human lymph nodes. The researchers analyzed the lymph nodes of four cadavers that had tattoos, as well as two cadavers that had no tattoos, which served as controls.
- The researchers pointed out in their study, published in the journal Scientific Reports (opens in new tab) , that “pigmented and enlarged lymph nodes have been noticed in tattooed individuals for decades;
” Those reports came mostly from pathologists who began noticing unusual coloring in lymph node biopsies taken from tattooed patients. For example, a 2015 report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology described how doctors at first thought a woman’s cervical cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
After surgically removing the nodes, the doctors realized that what had appeared to be malignant cells were actually tattoo ink particles. “I was very curious about the chemical side effect of tattoos,” Schreiver said.
“I think people are aware that you can get skin infections from a tattoo, but I don’t think most are aware that there may also be risks from the ink. ” To investigate these side effects, Schreiver and her colleagues used several different tests, to analyze what forms of tattoo ink were collecting in the lymph nodes and any damage that might have resulted.
- Among their findings was that nanoparticles — particles measuring less than 100 nanometers across — were most likely to have migrated to the lymph nodes;
- Carbon black, which is one of the most common ingredients in tattoo inks, appears to break down readily into nanoparticles and end up in the lymph nodes, the study found;
The team also looked at titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is a common ingredient in a white pigment usually combined with other colors to create certain shades. This type of ink does not appear to break down into particles as small as those found with carbon black, but some larger particles of TiO2 were still detected in the cadavers’ lymph nodes, the study said.
- Disturbingly, Schreiver and her colleagues found that some potentially toxic heavy metals originating in tattoo ink also made their way to the lymph nodes;
- The scientists detected particles of cobalt, nickel and chromium, which are sometimes added to organic tattoo pigment as preservatives, at the lymph nodes;
“These are not things you want to have permanently deposited in your body,” Schreiver said. Is it harmful? Other research has shown that tattoo pigment may land elsewhere in the body. For a May 2017 study published in the journal Dermatology, researchers tattooed the backs of mice with black and red ink.
- About a year later, the team found ink pigment in the mice’s lymph nodes, as was found in human studies, but also within liver cells;
- “It was a quite interesting and very surprising finding,” said Mitra Sepehri, lead author of the research in mice and an M;
/Ph. candidate at the Wound Healing Centre of Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark. “To reach the liver cells, the pigment has to go through the blood to reach the liver. So, we have shown that tattoo pigment can spread through the mouse’s blood system as well as through the lymphatic system.
” The ink pigment was detected inside special cells in the liver that remove toxic substances, called Kupffer cells. These cells appeared to be in the process of “eating” the pigment particles, Sepehri said.
Of course, mice aren’t humans, and, as Sepehri pointed out, the study did not confirm that tattooed humans can end up with pigment in their livers. Plus, she added, since mouse skin is thinner than human skin, tattoo ink may be more likely to be deposited more deeply in mice and more likely to enter the bloodstream.
“Even if we find out maybe in five or 10 years that tattoo ink can be deposited in the liver in human beings, we still don’t know if it’s harmful,” Sepehri said. “It may pose no risk” It’s also not known if it’s harmful for tattoo pigment particles to accumulate in the lymph nodes.
So far, evidence suggests such deposits may cause enlargement of the lymph nodes and some blood clotting. But long-term studies in humans are needed to definitively link tattoo ink in lymph nodes to any harmful effect. The ingredients within tattoo ink itself also remain largely unknown and under-regulated.
A study from Denmark in 2011 found that 10 percent of unopened tattoo ink bottles tested were contaminated with bacteria. And a 2012 Danish Environmental Protection Agency study revealed that 1 in 5 tattoo inks contained carcinogenic chemicals.
Schreiver said she and her team hope to start raising the curtain on tattoo ink ingredients. They next plan to investigate inks associated with tattoo-related skin reactions and infections by analyzing skin biopsies of human patients. For example, it’s commonly known that red tattoo ink is often associated with nasty skin reactions.
But not all red inks are the same. “As a chemist, describing a pigment as ‘red’ means nothing to me,” Schreiver said. “We need to analyze the chemistry. ” Tattoo ink manufacturing in the United States is overseen by the U.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but as a cosmetic. As the FDA states , “because of other competing public health priorities and a previous lack of evidence of safety problems specifically associated with these pigments, FDA traditionally has not exercised regulatory authority for color additives on the pigments used in tattoo inks.
- ” Ortiz said this needs to change;
- She works with the U;
- San Diego Clean Slate Tattoo Removal Program, which provides free care to former gang members who wish to erase their gang-associated tattoos to make it easier to enter the job market or the military;
She said she sees many tattoo-related problems that can flare up again during tattoo removal. “People have tattooed their bodies for thousands of years. Clearly, they’re not going to stop,” Ortiz said. “So, we need more testing on both the tattooing process and the ink to know potential reactions in the skin so we can optimize the safety of tattoos.
- ” Originally published on Live Science;
- Amanda Onion writes about health science advances and other topics at Live Science;
- Onion has covered science news for ABCNews;
- com, Time;
- com and Discovery News, among other publications;
A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Columbia School of Journalism, she’s a mother, a runner, a skier and proud tree-hugger based in Brooklyn, New York..
How does tattoo ink leave the body?
When you get a tattoo , you can pretty much expect that it’ll be with you forever. But, if for whatever reason you change your mind, there are removal options. Unfortunately, even after removal, the ink doesn’t just disappear — we actually excrete it through our lymphatic system.
The tattoo removal process is performed through a series of laser treatments (which can take up to four to 10 sessions), wherein the tattoo pigment absorbs light, which causes the ink to break down and be absorbed by our immune system, says Melissa Doft, a New York City-based plastic surgeon.
(We also learned this interesting tidbit in a recent Buzzfeed report. ) Although many people may think lasers simply fade the tattoo ink (similarly to how ink on paper simply fades if left in the sun), it’s actually a little more complicated. After the laser-removal process, which Doft notes, typically works best on darker, older tattoos, the ink is recognized as waste within the lymphatic system and discarded via either sweat, urine, or fecal matter.
- “The focus of the laser treatment is to disintegrate the ink particles of the tattoo,” says celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank;
- “A high-intensity light beam is targeted at the pigmentation, causing it to break apart, become absorbed into the body, and be excreted through the body’s natural immune system;
” The effectiveness of the removal is partially determined by the location of the tattoo, says Frank. “Places in the body with the most circulation most easily wash away the pigmentation, while places with low circulation (like the fingers and toes) are typically harder to treat,” he says.
The treated area can become sensitive post-procedure, which can result in stinging, allergic reactions, and small bumps. Frank says these reactions are a result of the dissection of ink nanoparticles that occurs during treatment, and scientists are currently researching the effects of the procedure.
Bottom line: Even after laser removal, your tattoo isn’t completely gone. That is, until you, ahem, excrete it. But, don’t worry, it’s not something you’ll notice the next time you use the restroom — no matter how big the tattoo was. As Buzzfeed points out, “you will not be able to tell that there’s tattoo ink in your poop — so please don’t go looking for it.
Can tattoos interfere with getting an MRI if yes how?
Do Tattoos Cause Irritation During an MRI? – In rare situations, tattoos may make an MRI less comfortable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that tattoos can cause irritation and burning during an MRI. A scientific review also reported a tattooed athlete experiencing a burn-like injury during an MRI.
Is tattoo ink cancerous?
When it comes to cancer, black ink can be especially dangerous because it contains a very high level of benzo(a)pyrene. Benzo(a)pyrene is currently listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).