Basicwomen's Blog

{November 9, 2010}   Tattoos

by- Nidarshana Sharma




Celebrities flaunt it. It thrills youngsters. Some derive a masochistic pleasure out of it. Whatever may be the reason, a tattoo, today is the biggest fashion statement. Right from Aums, angels, butterflies and slokas to dragons, bulls and tigers, tattoos are the major rage.


According to Wikipedia, a tattoo is a marking made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment for decorative or other reasons. Interestingly, tattoos have been around for centuries. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples and among certain tribal groups in the Taiwan, Philippines, Borneo, Mentawai Islands, Africa, North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, Japan, Cambodia, New Zealand and Micronesia. Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the art continues to be popular in many parts of the world.

Essentially, the skin’s dermis is injected with pigment. This dermis is the layer of dermal  tissue underlying the epidermis. Subsequently, this pigment is dispersed throughout a damaged layer through the epidermis and upper dermis. The immune system, due to the presence of foreign particles, produces phagocytes which engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis flakes away and deep down in the skin collagen growth converts granulation tissue into connective tissue. The upper dermis thus gets mended, where pigment remains trapped within fibroplasts, ultimately concentrating in a layer just below the dermis/epidermis boundary. It usually stays stable but over the years the pigment tends to sink in deeper which lead degradation in its detailing.

The electric tattoo machine is the most-preferred method of tattooing in modern times. It inserts ink into the skin through a group of needles that is soldered onto a bar, which is attached to an oscillating unit. The needles are rapidly and repeatedly driven in and out of the skin, about 80 to 150 times a second. The tattoo artist must wash not only his or her hands, but must also wash the area that will be tattooed. Gloves must be worn at all times and the wound must be wiped frequently with a wet disposable towel of some kind.

The prices of tattoos vary depending upon their size, complexity, the tattoo artist etc.

Although some concerns are expressed about the safety of tattoos, they are primarily considered safe. The needles used are single-use ones and the equipment is also sterilized after each use. The tattoo artists in some countries are also required to have blood borne pathogen training. However, if needles are not disposed of properly and are repeatedly used, the person being tattooed may run the risk of developing skin infections, tetanus, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, tuberculosis and even HIV.

A simple alternative is the temporary tattoo which is popular among children. It usually comes in a sticker format and can last anytime between a few weeks to a little more than a month. Some temporary tattoos use vegetable dyes which have a quality similar to adhesive and last for almost three weeks.

Whatever maybe the reason or the procedure, tattoos have redefined fashion and have become immensely popular among fashion-conscious circles around the world.



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