Monday 28 September 2015

The Dangers of Tattoos

Tattoos are a great way of expressing what you love and who you are. Unfortunately they also carry a few risks.

It is often forgotten that tattoos are actually wounds. A needle is piercing the skin multiple times per second, leaving behind ink, something that is not naturally in the body. As all wounds they need time to heal, improper care of a new tattoo can lead to infection and discolouration. This is why the healing time is the most important part of getting a tattoo. To prevent the tattoo getting infected it will be covered before you leave and the tattoo artist will also tell you how to properly look after the new tattoo during healing.

There are other, more dangerous, risks associated with tattoos. Getting a tattoo means piercing the skin causing you to be at risk of catching diseases carried in the blood. This includes HIV, tetanus and hepatitis. To prevent this tattoo artists are required to only use needles once and to sterilise any equipment that must be reused. It is very important to go to a proper tattoo artist to prevent any infections or diseases that could be caught. 

Tattoos can also be linked to other skin related diseases/infections. When you get a tattoo you also cannot give blood for 12 months. 

Thursday 24 September 2015

How Tattoos Are Done

This post is going to be about how tattoos are done and how they work. As everyone knows, tattoos are permanent but not many people know how they are permanent.

Tattoo Gun
Tattoo artists use a variety of equipment when tattooing someone. Of course the most important tools are the tattoo gun and the ink. Tattoo guns work almost like a sewing machine. The needle in the gun repeatedly goes up and down, into the skin and then out again. The ink is inserted, by the needle, under the skin. Tattoos are permanent so the needle goes all the way into the dermis which is the deeper layer of skin containing the hair roots and sweat glands. This prevents the tattoo fading or moving during a persons life.

As the needle is puncturing the skin repeatedly, it cannot be reused. A new sterile needle must be used for every tattoo, as well as new ink and ink containers. Tattoo artists use an autoclave to sterilise equipment as do professional piercers.

Tattoo On The Lower Leg

Since tattooing involves a needle puncturing the skin multiple times a second, getting a tattoo is guaranteed to hurt. Some parts of the body hurt more to get tattooed than others. Usually areas close to the bone hurt more than more fleshy areas. For example getting a tattoo on your shin would hurt more than on your thigh. The level of pain will also depend on your individual pain tolerance as well as the tattoo artist.

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Saturday 12 September 2015

Tattoo Inks

In this post I will be discussing the different types of ink that can be used for tattooing and what they consist of.

Tattoo inks are usually a mixture of the pigment (powder) and a carrier. The pigment is the colour of the ink and the carrier is the liquid in which the pigment is dissolved. Tattoo artists can either buy the pigment and carrier separately, then mix them together themselves or buy it pre-made.

Powdered Ink Pigment
The pigments are in powdered form and can be obtained from different materials, depending on the desired colour of the ink. For example blue ink can be made from cobalt and red from mercury. Most ink pigments are made from heavy metals which can be quite harmful to the body. Manufacturers are also not required to list the ingredients used in their pigment/ink.

 The carrier is the liquid part of the ink and is usually just water or ethyl alcohol. The carrier enables the ink to be used on the skin and keeps the colour even. Other alcohols such as methanol or rubbing alcohol can be used for this, as well as glycerine.

Glow in the Dark Tattoo
Glow in the dark ink is another option. This ink works by retaining light when exposed and then reflecting it back in the dark. Blacklight ink is similar to this but gives a slightly different look.

Henna is a another type of ink used in tattooing although it is only semipermanent. Henna dye can come from the henna plant but can also come from other similar plants. The leaves of the plant are crushed and then mixed with other substances to make a paste. This paste is then applied to the skin directly, usually with a cone, similar to icing cakes. It is applied in a design and is then left to stain the skin. The longer the paste is left on the skin the darker the colour of the stain will be. The colour of the stain also darkens over the first few days before eventually fading away.

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Monday 7 September 2015

A Brief History

For my first post I am writing about the history of tattoos. Although tattooing seems like a modern practice it can be dated back as far as 6000BC. 

The Iceman's wrist tattoos
Image source
In Europe the earliest example of tattooing would be Otzi the Iceman, found in 1991 in the Otztal Alps. 'Otzi' died in the Alps but his body was mummified and preserved by the ice. He has 61 tattoos, mainly lines, dating back to around 3300BC. These tattoos were not done the same way modern tattoos would be, instead the skin was cut and charcoal was rubbed into the wound. This method of tattooing was very common as well as pricking the skin with a needle to insert the dye under the skin, which is similar to the modern method. 

Modern Henna Tattoo
Image source
In ancient times the reasons for tattooing were different in different parts of the world. In China criminals would be tattooed with words such as 'prisoner' and slaves were marked as a sign of ownership. Tattoos were mainly seen as a form of punishment and were not common. However in many other places, such as Japan and India, tattooing was just a form of decoration. In India henna was very popular for body art. Henna is semi-permanent and is still widely used today. 

It is believed tattooing was used as a form of ancient medicine in Egypt. Mummies have been found with markings or scars that appear to have been therapeutic 'tattoos'. In 1898 a doctor named Daniel Fouquet wrote an article about medical tattooing in ancient Egypt. He believed the scars found on ancient mummies were of medicinal use, the specific ones he studied, for a pelvic condition. There has also been discussion over whether 'Otzi's' tattoos were an ancient form of acupuncture. 

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Thursday 3 September 2015


Hello, my name is Farhah and this is my blog about tattoos. I chose to write about tattoos because I am interested in the subject and I wanted to research and learn more about it.