Unraveling the Science Behind Tattoos


A single permanent tattoo might seem like a simple felt pen line on a whiteboard or a delicate flourish of the paintbrush by an artist on a canvas. Even though this is how many people feel about tattoo art, there is so much that goes on to make a tattoo a permanent part of the body. Understanding the science behind a permanent tattoo will allow you to better understand how to take care of and maintain your tattoos for a lifetime.

Related Link: Here’s How Getting A Tattoo Works In Slow Motion

The most interesting thing about tattoos is the fact that they can survive the tornado activity that goes on under our skin. Normally, the top part of the skin, or the epidermis, will shed millions of cells per day. This means that a permanent tattoo must travel past the epidermis and sit in the deepest layers of the skin in order to avoid this shedding process.

Science Behind Tattoos

How do tattoos work?

A tattoo gun contains a needle that penetrates the skin and deposits dye at the rate of 50 to 3000 times per minute. The intruding dye triggers an inflammatory reaction and a corresponding immune response from the body so as to clear the foreign substance that is the dye.

The cells in charge of digesting the foreign dye have trouble cleaning up since the dye particles are bigger than regular pathogens. The residual dye soaks into the surrounding skin cells which creates the beginnings of your body art that will hang around for as long as you live, unless you try to remove it.

Since tattoos entail introducing foreign bodies into your system, there is always a concern for inflammation or ink rejection. A simple tattoo could increase the risk of skin infection in people who turn out to be allergic to the ink used in the tattoo process. This coupled with the fact that every type of ink is different and no tattoo expert actually knows the ink’s true ingredients makes tattoo just what they are—a rebellious act.

Proper aftercare is important

Apart from the possibility of an allergic reaction, poor tattoo aftercare can result in a serious inflammation and skin infection. According to a survey from New York, over 10 percent of the people surveyed had some form of skin trouble after getting a tattoo.

Remember that a tattoo is an open wound that needs proper care. Doing what the tattoo artist tells you to do in the few days following the process could save you a lot of pain and trouble.

What if you want it gone?

Regretting your tattoo and want it gone? You will have to invest in a tattoo removal procedure, the most common approach being laser tattoo removal. The procedure uses laser light pulses to break down the tattoo ink and trapped cells so that the two are small enough for the body to naturally remove them.

Laser tattoo removal is effective and safe but it might leave some scarring or scabbing on your skin. It can also be incredibly painful and some dermatologists even put patients under a mild local anesthesia before the procedure.

Tattoo removal creams

There is a wide range of tattoo removal creams that will actually get the job done in a cheaper and more convenient way. Even though you might have to use the tattoo removal cream for a longer period of time, the end result is will leave you with the desired results. The amount of time and product you’ll need will depend on the colors and size of the tattoo.

Choosing the best tattoo removal procedure for your situation requires a lot of research. Figure out your budget and what the safest and most effective option is for you. Always consult with professionals before settling on any of the above removal options.

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