What Layer Of Skin Does Tattoo Ink Go Into?
– 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 Does tattoo ink get in your bloodstream?
- 0.2 Is tattoo ink toxic to the body?
- 1 How do I know if my tattoo artist went too deep?
- 2 Is tattoo ink cancerous?
- 3 What are the long term effects of tattoos?
- 4 Can I have an MRI if I have a tattoo?
- 5 Can tattoos interfere with getting an MRI if yes how?
What layer of skin is the tattoo ink under?
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 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.
Does tattoo ink get in your bloodstream?
How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay In Your Blood? – The tattoo ink is never and will never be injected directly into the bloodstream. However, the ink is injected into the dermis when tattooing, which is the second layer of skin. This layer of skin contains tiny blood vessels that could carry some of the ink particles through the body.
Is tattoo ink toxic to the body?
‘Tattoo inks and permanent make up (PMU) may contain hazardous substances — for example, substances that cause cancer, genetic mutations, toxic effects on reproduction, allergies or other adverse effects on health,’ an ECHA statement reads.
What happens if a tattoo needle hits 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?
How deep do u go when tattooing?
How Ink REALLY Gets Into Skin – Tattoo Overview : Episode 8
So, Where Should The Needle Go? – The tattoo needle should go into the dermis layer of the skin. This layer lies in the middle, and is the perfect spot for ensuring the ink will stay in the skin, and not ‘bleed out’ as the tattoo heals. The epidermis is not a good ink location since it is too exposed and too outward, while the hypodermis is too deep into the skin, which means the ink won’t be as visible and the pain during tattooing would be twice as intense.
- Also, if the needle penetrates the hypodermis, the client will most certainly experience an infection;
- So, how deep, to be exact, should a needle go into the skin? The answer is – approximately 1/16th inch deep into the skin;
This means that the ink will be placed exactly between the 2mm of the dermis layer. If you’re wondering how a tattoo artist knows where the dermis layer is in the skin, we’ve got you covered with that as well. Before the tattooing process begins, the tattoo artist adjusts the tattoo machine and the needle in regards to the parameter of the dermis layer location.
- So, the dermis layer is approximately 1/16th inch deep into the skin;
- With that knowledge, the tip of the tattoo needle is adjusted to only enter the skin at such depth, not a millimeter shallower or deeper;
This means that the tattoo needle should not stick out the tattoo machine more than 2mm, or less than 1mm.
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 are the long term effects of tattoos?
When you think about the health risks of getting a tattoo, problems that reveal themselves right away come to mind—like infections and allergic reactions. Now, one later-in-life consequences should worry you too. Toxic particles from tattoo ink penetrate beneath the skin and travel through the body, and that may have implications for long-term health, according to a new study.
- Writing in the journal Scientific Reports , German and French scientists describe their finding during autopsies of four individuals with tattoos: Using X-ray fluorescent technology, they were able to identify nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, a common ingredient in white and colored tattoo pigments, in those individuals’ lymph nodes;
The role of the lymphatic system, which the lymph nodes are a part of, is to remove toxins and impurities from the body. So it makes sense, the researchers say, that the lymph nodes would collect some of the ink particles injected into the skin. In fact, they wrote in their paper, ” pigmented and enlarged lymph nodes have been noticed in tattooed individuals for decades.
- ” But their new discovery, that ink particles are found in the lymph nodes at nanoparticle sizes (smaller than 100 nanometers in diameter) is especially disturbing, they say;
- Particles that small can behave differently in the body and pose different health threats;
Even in non-nanoparticle form, tattoo inks made with titanium dioxide (especially white pigments) have been linked to problems like delayed healing, skin elevation, and itching. In addition to titanium dioxide, the researchers also found a broad range of other tattoo-related nano-scale chemicals in the lymph nodes, as well.
To be clear, the research does not provide evidence of any specific health problems that could be linked to tattoos. But it’s one of the first studies to show that nano-scale pigments—some of which are made of toxic elements and preservatives—do migrate and accumulate within the body.
And the authors point out that chronic health effects, like the development of cancer, are difficult to link to events like tattoos, because they only emerge after years or decades of exposure. More research is needed to further understand the true implications of these findings, they scientists say, and to develop guidelines for safer tattoo procedures.
- For now, if you’re thinking of getting inked, know that a lot of unanswered questions exist, says first author Ines Schreiver of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment;
- “It is important to know that there is not much regulation on tattoo inks in the world that would allow one to state that tattoo inks are generally safe,” Schreiver told Health via email;
“The ingredients have never been approved for the injection into skin, and there is a significant lack of data to explain the so far known side effects like allergies and granuloma formation. ” “There might be more risk associated with tattoos then the ever increasing trend of tattooing might imply,” she added.
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).
Why do I feel sick after a tattoo?
The Composition of the Tattoo Ink – To understand why people feel sick after laser tattoo removal, you first have to understand that tattoo ink is composed of metals, metal oxides, and chemicals. These metals, metal oxides, and chemicals could be poisonous/toxic to the body when they enter the blood. They may not be poisonous in the dermis, but once they enter the blood they become threats. During laser-assisted tattoo removal treatment, the tattoo ink pigments are shattered into fragments so they can be flushed out of the body. These ink fragments (which are potentially toxic, remember) linger in the blood for days or even weeks as they make their way to the kidney and liver where they are identified as toxic foreign bodies and flushed out of the system through urine or sweat.
Can I have an MRI if I have a tattoo?
The health and well-being of patients is our primary concern. Click here for our full COVID-19 response. Update for RAI/CHAI Hamilton: The office will be closed on Saturday, 8/6 due to building maintenance. RAI Lawrenceville will be open with normal hours of operation for walk-in X-Ray services. Tuesday, 26 February 2019 108854 Hits Tattoos are gaining in popularity these days, with four in ten Americans sporting at least one tattoo, according to Statistica. People are more likely to get ink nowadays because tattoos do not carry the taboo they once held. Many people avoided tattoos because they worry that such body art might prevent them from getting a job. Today, some people worry about getting a tattoo out of fear they might suffer side effects when they undergo certain medical procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- We apologize for any inconvenience;
- Websites, such as Healthline , warn that there is a slight risk that MRIs could interact with tattoos to cause swelling and itchiness;
- The site suggests the risk is higher with the use of lower-quality tattoo pigments and older tattoos;
In a new study, researchers from the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, part of Queen Square Institute of Neurology at University College in London explored whether people with tattoos are at a higher risk of side effects. The scientists considered if doctors and other medical professionals could conduct imaging studies on people with tattoos without hesitation.
They also wondered if any restrictions for imaging might apply to tattooed patients. What they found might surprise you. The researchers found that the risk of experiencing tattoo-related side effects from MRI is very small.
This means people with tattoos can safely undergo MRI without worry.
How does tattoo ink stay in the skin?
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- The reason tattoo ink stays in skin forever has to do with the immune system.
- When you get a tattoo, the ink flows down the tattooing needle into the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis.
- That creates a wound, which your body tries to heal by sending macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to the area.
- The macrophages swallow the ink in an effort to take the foreign particle away from the wound.
- But the pigment in the ink is too large for the macrophages to remove, so the macrophages — with the ink inside — end up stuck in the dermis.
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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.
What happens if a tattoo is too deep or too shallow?
Ink distortion and blurring – Tattoo artists have to be very careful with the depth they go to with the needle. Too shallow and ink will seep out. Too deep and the ink will disperse into surrounding areas. It’s this dispersing that leads to ink looking smudged or blurry. .