Tattoos: Are They Safe? Understand risks and precautions

Last updated on August 21st, 2018 at 09:37 pm

If you’re thinking about having a tattoo, doing your research to ensure you know as much about it as possible first is crucial.

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A tattoo is on your skin forever; it is essentially a scar that starts out as a wound. You shouldn’t take having a tattoo lightly!


Tattoos for couples; image source: healthiack.com

How Is A Tattoo Done?

The majority of artists use a tattoo machine. The ink has to get into the tissue underneath the outer layer of skin. The outer layer is called the epidermis, and the ink must get to the dermis.

Thousands of tiny pricks in the skin are made by the machine used; the machine is held by the tattoo artist and has a needle fixed to it. The needle will be dipped in ink, and the artist will power the motor that powers the machine. The needle then pricks the skin quickly and repeatedly.

Tattoo needles can vary from place to place. They can have 3 to 25 ends, and different needles can achieve different effects. A machine can pierce the skin anywhere from 50-3000 times per minute.

The ink must get down into the dermis, as the outer layer of skin is always shedding and repairing itself. This means the tattoo wouldn’t last very long at all in the epidermis. However, if the tattoo is pierced too deeply into the skin, if too much pressure is applied by the artist, it will not only be extremely painful, but look distorted and ugly as it scars your skin.

This is why you must have a reputable tattoo artist who knows what they are doing.

What Sort Of Ink Is Used For Tattoos?

There are different brands and types of ink, and the type used can depend on which parlour you go to for your tattoo. It could be worth enquiring about the type of ink used, as they all contain different chemicals that go into your body. Many parlours now use vegan inks.

Inks contain different ingredients, such as glycerine, pigment, water, titanium oxide, and more. It will vary depending on the colour.

Some brands may even include dangerous materials in their inks to save money. Things like mercury, zinc, tin, and nickel can be found in certain inks. Red tattoo inks are thought to be the most dangerous.

The Risks and Precautions Of Having Tattoos

There are many risks and precautions to consider when having a tattoo:

  • Not liking the design forever
  • Infection
  • The ink bleeding into other areas
  • Ink coming out of the tattoo and having to have it done again
  • Keloids (raised scarring)
  • Bloodborne diseases if contaminated equipment is used; tetanus, hepatitis, and more.

How To Care For Your Tattoo

Caring for your tattoo is of the utmost importance, even if you go to a great parlour.

  • Listen to the artist – only use recommended creams.
  • Leave the covering alone for the prescribed amount of hours (usually 2-6).
  • Wash gently and pat dry.
  • Avoid sun and sunbeds.
  • Don’t pick scabs.

Always do your research on tattoo parlours and artists, pouring over their portfolios and listening to experiences and reviews to find the right one for you.

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Going to somebody who does tattoos at home, or doesn’t take hygiene seriously, could scar you for life.

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