How Does A Tattoo Work?
SCIENCE INK by Carl Zimmer. Published by Sterling Publishing © 2011 It’s all about the particles in the tattoo ink’s pigment says Dr. Anne Laumann, MBChB, a professor of dermatology at Northwestern University. Tattoo application uses a mechanized needle to puncture the skin and inject ink into the dermis or second layer of skin just below the epidermis.
- Since the process involves damaging the skin, the body responds with white blood cells which attempt to absorb the foreign particles and dispose of them in the blood stream;
- “The reason pigment stays there is because the pigment particles are too big to be eaten by the white cells, so they just sit there,” Laumann says;
Pigment particles are too big to be eaten by white cells, so they just sit there. Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. According to a 2010 Pew Research Report, approximately 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.
- The problem with tattoos is exactly what makes them so appealing–their permanency;
- “If you have the name of your boyfriend on there and then you marry somebody else, that’s a problem,” Laumann says;
- Tattoos also tend to become problematic with age;
Ink can become blurred if injected too deeply into the skin, causing the pigment to migrate beyond the intended area. Fading and distortion due to changes in body shape are also common problems with tattoos. Permanent makeup–or tattoos that resemble eyeliner or other makeup–is a prime example of how these problems can lead to dissatisfaction years after the ink is applied because skin sags and changes shape with age.
If you have the name of your boyfriend on there and then you marry somebody else, that’s a problem. “The problem with that is as you get older the shape of the fold of the skin changes,” Laumann says. “So not only does it bleed a bit because the pigment moves gradually over time and so those will tend to become sort of smoky edges, but also the whole line might become a little distorted over the years.
” When a tattoo is no longer desirable, whether it’s faded or causing a bad case of buyer’s regret, you can burn it or cut it out–but the safest and most effective method is a laser treatment. To remove a tattoo using a laser, the light beam zeroes in on a single color (in most cases black) and breaks up the pigments’ particles until they are small enough to be carried away by white blood cells.
The process is extensive, usually requiring many sessions depending upon the size and color of the tattoo. Removal may also cause scarring. “The big problem with tattoo removal is that it’s really hard to get the whole tattoo out,” Laumann says.
“Using a laser often leaves a coloration afterward, I mean it’s really hard. People get frustrated because it takes them so long and laser treatments are expensive. ” So maybe you should just get your mom a nice card instead of using ink to proclaim your love.
- 1 How does a tattoo actually work?
- 2 Do you bleed when getting a tattoo?
- 3 Are tattoos unhealthy?
- 4 Do tattoos shorten your life?
- 5 What is the best age to get tattoo?
- 5.1 How deep do tattoo needles go?
- 5.2 Do tattoos cause early death?
- 5.3 Do tattoos hurt more if you’re skinny?
- 5.4 What is the least painful spot for a tattoo?
- 6 How do tattoos become permanent?
How does a tattoo actually work?
What Happens When You Get a Tattoo? – Tattoos are permanent images in the skin, delivered by needles injecting ink into the dermis. This tissue is just underneath the outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis. The ink is injected into the dermis by a machine that delivers thousands of tiny pricks per minute via needle.
The ink-filled needles push color into the skin, allowing the tattoo artist to create permanent designs, images and masterpieces. Modern tattoo machines work quickly; they can pierce the skin to inject ink at a frequency of up to 3,000 pricks per minute.
It’s important that these pricks allow the ink to be injected into the deeper dermis, rather than the epidermis, because this outer layer of skin is always shedding. A tattoo in the epidermis wouldn’t last – it would likely disappear in just a few weeks.
The dermis is very sensitive. This delicate layer is comprised of collagen fibers, nerves, glands and blood vessels and can experience trauma when ink is injected. Some of the larger ink particles are spread into the dermis to create the tattoo, while others will be swallowed by cells called fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts produce collagen, which is essential to the healing process. Because the tattooing process essentially creates tens of thousands of tiny wounds into a deep layer of skin, the procedure pushes the immune system into overdrive. When in healing mode, the body rushes a team of blood cells called macrophages to the site of the tattoo to remove the foreign substance (ink particles) that are now in the dermis.
This process is complex: Macrophages are why tattoos fade over time AND part of what makes them permanent. Some macrophages swallow ink particles and send them out through the lymphatic system. However other macrophages remain in the dermis and allow the injected ink to remain visible.
This process can help explain how tattoos fade over time. Regardless of whether you love your tattoos or you wish them away, understanding the scientific process behind your tattoos will help you make sense of what’s going on beneath your skin. Interested in getting a tattoo removed? Read more about the process on our page.
How long do tattoos last for?
So you’re considering your first tattoo. That’s cool—but don’t rush it. You need time to think about what you want needled into your skin, how badly you want it, and how to get it done safely (namely, by someone who knows what they’re doing). Since there are so many things to consider before you get a tattoo, we presented a few common ink-quiries to Tiffany Tattooz, owner and tattoo artist of Ink Gallery Tattoo Shop in Woodland Park, NJ, and mainstay of Black Ink Crew on VH1.
- If you’re in the market for your first ink, read through her starter’s guide;
- It’ll inform every decision you make about the emblem you’ll soon wear for (hopefully) the rest of your days;
- What are the least (and most) painful body parts to tattoo? Everyone has a different type of pain tolerance when it comes to tattoos, but most seem to experience the least amount of pain in the arm and thigh areas;
These areas of the body have more fat tissue and less nerve density, which in turn causes less discomfort. The most painful will have to be the ribs, feet, and middle chest. There is less fat, the skin is very thin, and the bone is closer to the surface of the skin, allowing one to feel the sensitivity of the needle more.
What actually happens to the skin while receiving a tattoo? Basically, ink is being deposited and penetrated into the dermis layer of the skin. The pigments are too big to be fought off by our white blood cells, so they just pretty much stay in the dermis layer of our skin forever.
How should someone prepare for a tattoo? It’s recommended that you wash the area of the skin or take a shower before coming in to get the tattoo, especially if you work with paint, construction materials, garbage, or sewage. Although it’s my job as an artist to make sure the area is cleaned, cleaning up beforehand does help reduce the risk of other unclean body parts contaminating the clean area.
On site, I always make sure to first clean the area being tattooed. I’ll then shave the customer’s skin and then spray it with alcohol to make sure the skin is fully sterile. How long do tattoos take to heal? Tattoos need about two weeks to heal, on average, although sometimes it can take more time, depending on the client’s skin and how long it took to complete the tattoo.
I tell my clients to keep the bandage on for 8-12 hours, because it allows plasma—our body’s natural way of healing itself—to regenerate skin tissue, thus allowing a quicker healing process and preventing scabbing. Once the wrap is taken off, I tell clients to use a fragrance-free antibacterial soap to wash the tattoo.
- They should use lukewarm water—never hot water;
- However, after completely washing the tattoo, they have to pour cold water on the skin to close up the pores;
- How should someone care for their tattoo immediately after inking? Wash the tattoo twice a day for the first three or four days, since tattoos are pretty much an open wound at this point;
After washing the tattoo, pat it dry with a paper towel. (Don’t use a cloth towel, because cloth towels hold bacteria. ) Wait 15 minutes and then apply a light coat of moisturizing ointment with clean hands. Apply the ointment twice a day (morning and night) for two days.
Less is better: Using too much ointment will cause problems with healing and fade the tattoo, since thick ointment can clog the pores. After the second day, switch to a fragrance-free lotion and apply 3-5 times a day depending on the consistency, for up to two weeks.
Do not pick or scratch your tattoo during the healing process. Hands should always be cleaned when applying any ointment or lotion on skin. You will have to avoid being in the sun or pool for two weeks, and, most important, in order for the tattoo to stay vibrant for many years, you should always use sun block when outside.
How often do people typically need to get their tattoos touched up? It really all comes down to how they take care of their tattoos and if there were any scabs that have formed. If there were any issues during the healing process, then you will be able to tell within two weeks whether or not a tattoo needs to be touched up.
If there are no issues, then I would say a tattoo can hold up well for 10 years before seeing that it needs to be brand new again. As you get older, so does your ink. If one is always in the sun it will dull out the ink in your tattoo way sooner than someone who is never in the sun.
What’s your advice to someone who isn’t sure if they should get a tattoo? Don’t do it until you wake up one day and say, “I’m ready and I know what I want. ” I never recommend someone to get a tattoo if they’re unsure of their ideas or whether or not tattoos are for them.
It’s a permanent procedure—so you want to make sure that you’re confident having something etched on you for the rest your life. If you finally find yourself ready to get tattooed, then the next big step is to find an artist who “specializes” in the “style” you want.
Review their portfolio to see if you like his or her work, and then you can set an appointment. How do you know if your tattoo artist is legit? You can tell by their recognition, their portfolio, how long their wait is, and their prices.
How do prices vary for tattoos? Some artists charge hourly, or some charge by the piece. For larger tattoos, however, some will charge by the day (half-day sessions might be $400-600, or full-day sessions around $1,000 or more). 10. Is it easy to remove a tattoo? Painful? Laser tattoo removal is a painful process and requires many sessions. How has tattoo technology progressed in recent years?
- Ink: There are now quality ink brands that last longer on the skin throughout the years. Some black inks are so dark, I can’t even use them for shading in a realistic tattoo—I can only use them for solid black work like tribal tattoos.
- Machinery: New tattoo machines called “rotaries” make no sound while tattooing and feel lightweight on the wrist and hand, which decreases the chances of tendinitis and carpal tunnel for the artist. It almost feels like you’re tattooing with a pencil.
- Cost: I now even have a “wireless power supply” to run my tattoo machine—it actually keeps track of how long I’ve spent with the client, and how long I’ve been actually “tattooing” them. This never existed nine years ago. The power supply even shows me how much my clients should pay based off the time I spent on them.
- Needles: Previous needles required different machines to use. Now, there are needle cartridges that you can attach and detach so it can all be done from one machine.
- Resources: Even social media, YouTube, and online podcasts have made it much easier to learn and grow as an artist quickly. The resources are enormous.
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Why do tattoos last forever?
Guess how tattoos stay there forever, even as your skin cells die and are replaced? French researchers say they have found the answer, and it’s a little bit surprising. They found that immune system cells called macrophages eat the ink, and then pass it to their replacements when they die.
So the tattoo ink doesn’t stain skin cells, as many people had believed. Instead, microscopic blobs of ink are passed along from one generation of macrophages to another, according to the report in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
“We further demonstrated that tattoo pigment particles can undergo successive cycles of capture–release–recapture without any tattoo vanishing,” Anna Baranska of the French research institute INSERM in Marseille and colleagues wrote. A devotee wears a Buddhist amulet over his tradtional tattoos during an annual sacred tattoo festival, at the Wat Bang Phra temple on March 3, 2018 in Nakhon Chaisi district, Thailand’s Nakhon Pathom Province. Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP – Getty Images They were doing experiments aimed at understanding the action of immune cells in the skin of mice. They created genetically engineered mice whose macrophages could be killed easily, and were monitoring how and when they were replaced by new macrophages.
They used tattoos in the mice tails to track this. Researchers have known that immune system cells are involved in helping the body take up tattoos. The ink doesn’t simply stain skin cells, because these cells die over the years and are replaced.
But it was assumed that the ink was staining skin cells called fibroblasts, which make up the connective tissue, and that the ink was continually replaced by macrophages. Instead, the French team found that macrophages took up the ink, released it when they died, and that fresh macrophages then gobbled it. It’s not surprising that macrophages might be involved in this process. The name comes from the Greek for “big eater. ” It’s their job to eat outside invaders. “Owing to their strategic positioning at body barriers, macrophages capture a wide range of exogenous (outside) particulates,” Baranska and colleagues wrote. Their findings may open a better way to remove tattoos, they said.
“We demonstrated that the pigment particles that remain at the site of injection and cause the long-term tattoo color were exclusively found within dermal macrophages,” they wrote. They found no colored fibroblasts.
Lasers can be used to take off unwanted tattoos by activating other immune cells that carry the ink away. But it can be a less-than-perfect process, depending on the type of ink used. Former England captain David Beckham shows his tattoo after he was asked to by students at Peking University during his visit on March 24, 2013 in Beijing. Reuters file Dermal macrophages don’t move around the body like some other immune cells do, so the trick may be to activate other immune system cells that can grab the ink and take it off to the lymph nodes, to be carried off in lymph fluid. Some kind of trick to kill off the ink-noshing macrophages for a while, so that other immune cells can take away the ink, may be the secret, they said..
How painful is having a tattoo?
How bad do tattoos hurt? – There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much pain you’ll feel when getting tattooed. But if you’re wondering what type of pain to expect, Caranfa says the experience is comparable to the feeling of a cat scratch or a sunburn.
- “Long periods of irritation and tenderness are what make you feel any discomfort,” Caranfa says;
- “The sensation of a tattoo needle is very dull compared to a syringe [and needle], it isn’t the needle that causes discomfort as much as it is prolonged tenderness of being tattooed;
” Importantly, different people will report varying experiences of pain based on their individual nervous systems and pain thresholds , says Channelle Charest , a California-based tattoo artist and Co-founder of tattoo scheduling platform Tatstat. Other factors that could affect pain during tattooing include:
- Age: Studies suggest aging decreases your pain sensitivity , meaning elderly people might experience less pain when getting tattooed. Researchers have yet to determine why this happens but note that the size of parts of the brain that process pain decreases with age.
- Sex: People who are biologically female are more likely to experience greater pain intensity, a lower pain threshold, and a lower tolerance for induced pain compared to people who are biologically male. However, research is still emerging.
- Psychological expectations : If you go into a tattoo expecting it to be an excruciating experience, this might affect how much pain you actually feel. Studies suggest that people who feel anxious about and “catastrophize” pain before a procedure often experience higher levels of pain intensity and distress than people with “neutral” pain expectations.
Fortunately, most of the discomfort you feel while getting tattooed will end when your tattoo artist puts down the tattoo gun. “The sensation is only when the needle is in you,” Caranfa says, adding that while it’s typical to experience some soreness, swelling, and itchiness in the days after getting tattooed, it’s “not debilitating.
Do you bleed when getting a tattoo?
– You’ll know you’re experiencing a tattoo blowout within several days of getting a new tattoo. Some people experience mild blowouts, while in other cases, blowouts are more extreme. In all cases, tattoo blowouts cause the lines in your tattoo to blur, and the ink used to create the lines usually moves well outside the edges of the tattoo.
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.
Do tattoos shorten your life?
the MPR take: – Having a tattoo may mean an earlier death, says a new report in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Investigators compared the deaths of people with and without tattoos and found that people with tattoos appeared to die earlier than people without (mean age of death: tattooed: 39yrs; nontattooed: 53yrs).
What is the best age to get tattoo?
What Is the Best Age To Get a Tattoo? – The legal age to get a tattoo would be 18. There are some areas that allow this to be done at a younger age with parental consent. However, we don’t recommend anyone getting a tattoo younger than 18. As long as you’re over the minimum required age, there’s no right or wrong age to get a tattoo.
Do black tattoos turn green?
Why do old tattoos turn green? – As the pigment in black ink is slowly removed by your body, it can turn a green/blue color as it fades. The color itself doesn’t change, it’s just the density of color pigments slowly reducing.
How deep do tattoo needles go?
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.
Do tattoos cause early death?
Abstract – Objectives: At autopsy, tattoos are recorded as part of the external examination. An investigation was undertaken to determine whether negative messages that are tattooed on a decedent may indicate a predisposition to certain fatal outcomes.
- Methods: Tattooed and nontattooed persons were classified by demography and forensics;
- Tattoos with negative or ominous messages were reviewed;
- Statistical comparisons were made;
- Results: The mean age of death for tattooed persons was 39 years, compared with 53 years for nontattooed persons (P =;
0001). There was a significant contribution of negative messages in tattoos associated with nonnatural death (P =. 0088) but not with natural death. However, the presence of any tattoo was more significant than the content of the tattoo. Conclusions: Persons with tattoos appear to die earlier than those without.
There may be an epiphenomenon between having tattoos and risk-taking behavior such as drug or alcohol use. A negative tattoo may suggest a predisposition to violent death but is eclipsed by the presence of any tattoo.
Keywords: Autopsy; Drug overdose; Forensic sciences; Suicide; Tattooing; Violence. Copyright© by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Why is getting tattoos addictive?
– Your body releases a hormone called adrenaline when under stress. The pain you feel from the tattoo needle can produce this stress response, triggering a sudden burst of energy often referred to as an adrenaline rush. This might cause you to:
- have an increased heart rate
- feel less pain
- have jitters or a restless feeling
- feel as if your senses are heightened
- feel stronger
Some people enjoy this feeling so much that they seek it out. You can experience an adrenaline rush from the process of getting your first tattoo , so adrenaline may be one of the reasons people go back for more tattoos. Some adrenaline-seeking behaviors might resemble compulsive or risk-taking behaviors often associated with drug addiction.
You may have even heard someone call themself an ” adrenaline junkie. ” But there’s no scientific evidence supporting the existence of adrenaline addiction, and the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” doesn’t list it as a diagnosable condition.
Part of the reason you want another tattoo could be that you enjoy the rush you feel when going under the needle, so you may want to take some extra time to make sure you really want that ink. If getting another tattoo doesn’t cause you distress or put anyone else at risk, go for it.
Do tattoos hurt more if you’re skinny?
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process. Tattoos are among the most common body decorations globally. According to a 2010 study , a whopping 38 percent of people 18 to 29 years old have been inked at least once in their lives.
- A natural question to ask is, “Does getting a tattoo hurt?” While most people will say yes, in reality this is a complex question to answer;
- Tattooing involves repeatedly piercing your skin’s top layer with a sharp needle covered with pigment;
So getting a tattoo is generally always painful, though people may experience different levels of pain. People who are biologically male tend to experience and cope with pain differently from those who are biologically female. In addition, the various parts of the body experience different levels of pain when tattooed.
While there is no scientific evidence that says which areas of the body will feel the most and least pain when getting inked, we gathered anecdotal information from sites run by people in the tattoo industry.
Here’s the general consensus: The least painful places to get tattooed are those with the most fat, fewest nerve endings, and thickest skin. The most painful places to get tattooed are those with the least fat, most nerve endings, and thinnest skin. Bony areas usually hurt a lot.
Where do tattoos hurt the most?
What Are The Top 10 Most Painful Places To Get a Tattoo? – Tattoos are great, but they are not pain-free. People differ on pain tolerance, so it is essential to consider which part of your body you will display your tattoo on. Here Are The Top 10 Most Painful Places To Get a Tattoo.
Migraine hurts. So, imagine when needles are constantly piercing your head, not a great feeling. According to tattoo experts, the head or area on the skull is one of the most sensitive places to have a tattoo. In general, having a head tattoo might cause scorching and stinging feelings.
- Rib Cage And Chest
Tattoos on the ribs and chest always look great, and they are generally big. However, it can bring quite a lot of pain. The ribs are regarded as one of the most painful areas to get a tattoo since the skin is thin and immediately over the bones. The skin surrounding your ribcage is fragile, with less fat than in most other regions of your body.
Individual experiences vary greatly, so considering your unique pain threshold may be a better way to determine how much your tattoo head will hurt. The ribs have very little cushioning and are just underneath the skin.
Thus the needle’s discomfort will be felt by the nerve ends. Furthermore, your chest and ribs move while you breathe, making a tattoo here much more uncomfortable. The pain may be excruciating on the rib cage or chest. Be sure to bring a squishy ball to squeeze with you 🙂
Pain from stomach tattoos can vary from gentle to rigorous. The stomach may be a painful location to get tattooed since the stomach’s skin is highly elastic and readily stretches. However, everyone has a unique physical form. People who weigh more tend to have looser skin on their stomachs than those who weigh less.
- Nipples and Breasts
Getting a breast tattoo may be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Because nipples and breasts are susceptible regions with many nerve endings, tattooing can cause significant discomfort. In general, nipples and breasts are among the most sensitive areas of the body; having a tattoo on them is bound to hurt.
- Face, and Ears
Many nerve endings are located on the face and ears and can be aggravated during a tattoo that may cause significant discomfort. Furthermore, there is not much fat on the face, cheeks, or ears. Therefore there is no adequate cushion for the tattoo needle here. Face and ears are sufficiently erogenous to be called an erogenous zone. As a result, faces, ears, and nearby locations are regarded as harrowing places for tattoos.
Lip tattoos are one of the most painful locations to get a tattoo done. Because the surface on the lips is relatively thin and flexible, with many nerve endings, the pain when being tattooed here is likely to be pretty intense. Furthermore, you will most likely bleed more than with other tattoos. Most people have described the sensation as stinging, while others have described it as “skin ripping.
- Hands, Fingers, Feet, and Toes
Tattoos are commonly placed on the tips and centers of the hands, feet, and fingers, and toes. They are, nevertheless, painful regions. As previously said, a large number of nerves in your hands and feet will be disrupted, resulting in painful spasms. Being tattooed on your fingers and toes may be excruciatingly painful. The skin here is relatively thin, and it holds various nerve endings that can create discomfort when a needle is penetrated.
A person with tighter skin over their stomach is more likely to feel minor discomfort than someone with looser skin in this location. ” It is also conceivable that you will appear to have been punched in the mouth since your lips will bruise and swell.
Furthermore, the skin on the extremities is thin. Another issue to consider is that it is pretty difficult for a tattoo artist to achieve a clean, accurate tattoo on parts that are so tiny and curved as the fingers and toes.
- Neck and Spine
Since the neck and spine are such sensitive regions, neck and spine tattoos are most painful. Neck tattoos are unpleasant because the movement of the tattoo needle might stimulate big nerves on the back and sides of the neck. Also, the cervical nerve is positioned in the neck, and you may have discomfort spreading into your back. In addition, numerous nerves are running on your spine, and the bones are pretty near to the skin.
- Groins and Genital Area
The groin area has many nerve endings and lymph nodes beneath the skin, making it a compassionate place to tattoo. Even though the groin area above our nether regions appears to be a tiny meatier portion of the body compared to other locations, it is no less painful to have tattooed since the bundled nerves of the genitals go up through the entire groin area.
One of the most painful locations on the body to receive a tattoo is on the armpit. The axillary nerve travels through the armpit and is essential for shoulder and arm sensation and movement. Armpit tattoos are typically a solid nine on a scale of 1 to 10 for the pain level. The pain you will feel when getting tattooed here is excruciating.
As a result, having a tattoo along your spine might feel like the tattoo artist is whacking your bones with a hammer. Because this is also the location of glands and lymph nodes, the healing process will be lengthier and more painful than with a typical tattoo.
In fact, most tattoo artists advise their clients against having armpit tattoos. Least Painful Places to Get a Tattoo. On the contrary, some places are considered the least painful to get a tattoo. You may consider getting inked on these body parts if you want to have a tattoo but are still a first-timer.
- Upper Outer Thigh
If you are worried about tattoo discomfort, one of the most incredible locations to be inked is on your top outside thigh. Having a tattoo on the upper outer thigh provides additional advantages. This region of the body is fat-padded and has fewer nerve endings. The upper outer thigh is one of the least challenging areas to acquire a tattoo, with most individuals experiencing discomfort that ranges from moderate to light.
One of the less sensitive areas to get tattooed is the forearm. The region is pleasant and plump, with little sensitive bone or nerve ends. Forearm tattoos usually do not hurt as much as other body regions, but they might cause some discomfort, just like any other form of body art tattoo.
- Outer Shoulders
Usually, shoulders have thick skin and few nerve endings, and they are one of the least painful locations to have tattooed. The process of getting the outside forearm tattooed is not particularly unpleasant. In fact, most patients rank it as a 2 or 3 on a 1-10 scale of discomfort. Since there are fewer nerve endings in this arm area, the needle’s activity feels like a small but constant pinch—no significant issue.
- Outer Bicep
If you opt to be tattooed here, the entire outer-bicep region is typically reasonably pain-free. The outer bicep contains a bunch of muscle without several nerve endings, making it an excellent site for a painless tattoo.
Anywhere with more muscle tends to hurt less because the muscle works as a trauma absorber, and the legs are usually pretty muscular. Since the calves have a bundle of fat and muscle and have fewer nerve endings, calf tattoos are usually uncomfortable.
- Upper and Lower Back
It might be one of the least painful tattoos you will ever have. Because your top and lower back skin is packed and has fewer nerve endings, placing a tattoo on your upper or lower back generally gives low-moderate pain. As the general rule goes, the farther you tattoo from the bones and veins endings, you will experience less pain.
- This is because this area of the body contains a thick layer of fat with few nerve endings;
- The discomfort of getting a tattoo here is typically mild;
- Getting a tattoo will always be painful, and because everyone has a different pain threshold, the precise amount of discomfort will vary from person to person;
As a result, it’s difficult to estimate how painful your tattoo will be. If you want to prevent the pain, select a location for your tattoo that is not taut, over a bone, or in a region with many nerve endings. It would also be beneficial to get advice from professionals on taking care of or tips on how your tattoos can be less painful.
What is the least painful spot for a tattoo?
Least painful to tattoo – The least painful places to get a tattoo are areas of your body with fewer nerve endings. Think outer shoulder, calf, buttocks, and outer arm. While people generally focus on the location on the body, Stanley Kovak , a cosmetic physician, theorizes that pain is more about size.
Are tattoos actually permanent?
As we all know, once you get a tattoo, it is pretty difficult, and sometimes even impossible to get rid of it. Tattoos are permanent body art, which will last you a lifetime. Unless you go for a laser tattoo removal procedure, the ink you get is there to stay with you forever.
Now, as amazing as this sounds on its own, one cannot help but wonder why are tattoos permanent. What makes the seemingly indestructible in the skin and how does something as ink color manage to last for dozes of years? These are the kinds of questions that just pop into your mind out of nowhere.
And, once the questions are there, you cannot stop thinking about something so obvious but easily overlooked. Therefore, if you want to know what are tattoo permanent, you’re at the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore the reasons why tattoos last forever and hopefully provide you with a satisfying answer.
What is the science behind tattoos?
Annabelle Townsend of Maple Grove, Minn. celebrated her eighteenth birthday with a trip to the tattoo shop. It was not a spontaneous decision. “I designed the entire thing over a few years,” she says of the three-quarter sleeve that now adorns her right arm.
(A tattoo sleeve, like the sleeve of a shirt, covers the arm. ) “I drew it over and over until I had perfected it. ” Townsend wanted the tattoo to be a collection of many things that were meaningful to her.
“Every component was picked for a reason,” she says, including Big Ben, musical notes and one of her favorite quotes. Annabelle Townsend spent years designing the three-quarter-length sleeve that adorns her arm. Annabelle Townsend Turning her design into body art took a major commitment of both time and money. “It took four sessions — 13 hours total — over a few years to completely finish it,” she says. That’s because her arm needed time to heal between sessions.
All those hours in the tattoo shop also didn’t come cheap. She saved up for years to pay for her sleeve. Townsend is one of many young adults sporting inked body art. Researchers estimate that about four in every 10 young adults aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.
More than half of them have two or more. As tattoos have become more common, scientists have begun to study their health impacts. This body art might appear cool, but it can pose risks. Some people react badly to the inks — substances that aren’t meant to go on or in the body.
Other people may have trouble getting certain medical tests after a tattoo. And not everyone is as thoughtful as Annabelle Townsend when selecting their design. Many people get inked on a whim — and later want that permanent art removed.
It can be done, but it’s a long and painful process. Still, research now indicates tattoos aren’t bad for everyone. In people who heal well, getting a tattoo may prime their germ-fighting immune systems for action — and in a good way. The rub: Until someone gets a tattoo, there’s no way to know if they will be someone who benefits or instead be harmed. Tattoo ink is injected into the dermis — the thick middle layer of the skin. National Institutes of Health When a tattoo is done right, that ink winds up in the dermis. This layer of skin lies beneath the epidermis , the outer layer that we see. The epidermis is always growing new skin cells and shedding old ones. If tattoo ink were placed there, it would last only about a month before disappearing.
If you hate getting shots, then tattoos aren’t for you. When a person gets a tattoo, a needle injects ink into the skin, over and over and over again. But cells of the dermis don’t replace themselves in the same way.
That’s what makes this thick layer of skin the ideal spot for installing a permanent image. The dermis also is home to nerve endings, so you can feel each needle prick. Ouch! Finally, this part of the skin receives the area’s blood supply. So things can get messy as ink is injected into the dermis.
Normally, the body’s immune cells would react to being pricked and injected with ink. After all, getting a tattoo means putting foreign particles in the body. The immune system should respond by removing them — or at least trying to.
But the molecules of tattoo ink are too big for those cells to deal with. That’s what makes a tattoo a permanent piece of body art.
How do tattoos become permanent?
NARRATOR: It’s an art form that’s been around for thousands of years. It shows no sign of slowing down. If you don’t have them, chances are your friends, or at least your favorite barista, does. Tattoos. This week, we’re all about that ink. So think carefully about what you want on your body permanently.
- Then tattoo some knowledge to your brain;
- Thousands of years ago, when hipsters of that era were getting tattoos, many different ingredients were used for inks;
- Different colors came from ground-up natural products like copper, ashes, graphite, tree bark, and woad;
JOEY: Woad! NARRATOR: Today, our inks have evolved. Quick fun fact– we still use so many different pigments for colors that if you have two different tattoos from two different places, there’s a chance that ink in your right arm is made up of different stuff than that ink in your left arm.
- No matter what the ink ingredients are, it’s a straightforward recipe;
- A solid pigment creates the color and is suspended in a liquid carrier;
- Liquid carriers can include any one or a combination of the following– water, witch hazel, glycerin, propylene, and alcohols, anywhere from ethanol to vodka to even Listerine;
There’s a wide variety of pigment ingredients, too. Here’s some of the different forms of blacks, browns, reds, greens, blues, violets, yellows, and whites. So why are tattoos permanent? As you might know, skin cells live for about two to three weeks, but tattoos last forever.
- And if you’ve ever thought that tattoo on your inner lip will disappear after six months, well, you’d be dead wrong;
- It will never disappear;
- All right, then;
- To explain why tattoos are permanent, here’s Rachel Feltman from the Washington Post’s “Speaking of Science;
” And, conveniently, she’s in the middle of getting a tattoo. RACHEL FELTMAN: So right now, the tattoo needles, which have ink stuck between them, are puncturing my skin about 50 to 3,000 times a minute. They’re going through the epidermis and into the dermis.
- And when they’re making holes there, capillary action is actually drawing the ink down into the dermis;
- The tattoo becomes permanent when my immune system tries to save me from all of these wounds that I am suffering;
Basically, every time the tattoo needle makes a hole, macrophage cells will start to go towards the wound to try to close it up. And because the ink is a foreign invader, the macrophage cells gobble it up to try to get rid of it. But instead, those macrophage cells with bellies full of ink get stuck in the gel-like matrix of the dermis.
- And they stay there pretty much forever, which is why the tattoo stays visible and permanent;
- NARRATOR: She makes it look so painless;
- So when your tattoo is brand new, the ink is in both the epidermis and the dermis layer of your skin;
But as the skin heals, the wounded epidermal cells are shed and replaced with new, ink-free cells. This is why your tattoo looks more vibrant before it’s done healing. Your epidermis regenerates in about two to four weeks. Over time, tattoos will fade as a body’s immune system slowly breaks down the alien pigment particles and the macrophages take them away to be destroyed.
Does your body fight tattoo ink?
Tattoos are a form of body modification where ink is inserted into the skin to create words and art. Tattoos have long been a form of self- and cultural expression. They have been found on mummified skin dating as far back as 3,000 BCE and are represented in ancient art from as far back as 4,900 BCE.
- While many people tattoo themselves to show individuality and creativity, in some cultures tattoos reflect social and political rank, power, and prestige or honor the history of a culture like the tattoos of the Māori;
The skills used to create tattoos have, in some traditions, been passed from parent to child (often father to son) for generations. Humans have been creating tattoos far longer than they have understood the body’s reaction to them. Even today, we rarely think of what is taking place “just below the surface” when receiving a tattoo and the different body systems involved.
- How do tattoos stay in place if the body’s cells are constantly dying and being replaced? Why are they so difficult to remove? Let’s take a look;
- When you get a tattoo, the ink is inserted via needle into the dermis (the second layer of skin);
Your body sees this ink as a foreign invader, and activates the immune system to seek out and destroy the unfamiliar material. As part of this process, special white blood cells called macrophages envelop the ink and try to break it down with enzymes to a size small enough to be disposed of through the body’s lymphatic system.
(When the tattoo needle introduces bacteria at the same time as introducing ink, a similar macrophage response takes place. If the bacteria multiply faster than the white blood cells can destroy them, you will get an infection).
However, large tattoo ink droplets are not broken down by these enzymes. Once taken in by a macrophage, the ink molecules are stuck there. It is this trapped ink that you see when admiring your or your friend’s latest tattoo. But like nearly all cells within the human body, macrophages don’t live forever.
- Scientists have found that when a macrophage dies (white blood cells last for a few days to just over a week ), the ink is once again released into the dermis;
- But almost immediately, a fresh new macrophage arrives to destroy the freed ink, and once again, the ink is trapped;
And this process continues over time, which keeps the tattoo in place. That said, some smaller droplets of ink over time become small enough that a macrophage is ultimately able to remove them through the body’s lymph system, making tattoos fade slightly as the years pass.
Now, what if you have the name of your loved one tattooed on your arm but the relationship has soured? What can be done to get rid of the tattoo? Because of the macrophage death/renewal process, removing tattoos can be difficult.
Lasers are used to break up the ink droplets into small enough sizes that the body can successfully remove. This process often takes multiple costly visits with the service technician. However, scientists’ knowledge of the way that macrophages preserve tattoos may help in their eventual removal.
- If we can somehow stop the arrival of new macrophages to the area where a tattoo is being removed, it could speed along the laser process and allow the lymphatic system to more easily drain the fragmented particles;
But there is still much research to be done before we can make this a reality. One question that arises when thinking about the body’s reaction to a tattoo is: If someone is immunocompromised, is it safe to get a tattoo? The jury is still out. There have been instances of immunosuppressed people having severe muscle pain and swelling after receiving a tattoo.
- But it is not clear if these instances were caused by the tattoo process or by something else (e;
- , an injury) that coincided with getting the tattoo;
- It seems plausible that a body already struggling to fight infections could be overwhelmed when a tattoo is added to the equation;
But until more research is completed and shared, we can’t be sure. Other research has shown a possible link between tattoos and a strengthened immune system. As noted above, when you get a tattoo, the body’s immune system immediately bolsters itself to fight off infection, but research has found that this happens not just at the “injured” tattoo site but throughout the entire body, and the response has shown to be cumulative.
- In addition, as part of the body’s endocrine system, levels of cortisol (the hormone known to produce the “fight or flight” response in times of stress) seem to decrease during subsequent tattoo creations;
When cortisol levels are too high over a period of time, blood pressure and the processing of food can run amok, causing diabetes, and anxiety can become uncontrollable. These decreased moments of cortisol post-tattooing can, thus, be beneficial to overall health.
So, while tattoos seem only “skin deep,” research continues to show us that they affect numerous body systems, including the immune, lymphatic, and endocrine systems. Remember this the next time you pass a tattoo parlor or admire someone’s ink.
To learn more about the human immune system and how it is used, check out the following resources: • Khan Academy Inflammatory Response Video • LabXchange The Immune System Pathway.