How tattoos work
How are tattoos made?
The machine that the tattoo-artists uses, is a drill with a thin needle at the top, that can move up and down from 50-3000 times a minute. The drill gets past the epidermis, the first layer of the skin and drives ink into the dermis, the inner layer of the skin. Right there, about 1 millimeter deep into the skin, a drop of insoluble ink gets deposited and that is how tattoos are made. After the ink is in your body, the cells, that are under the skin, start to consume the ink. These cells are called macrophages and fibroblasts. Macrophages repairs the cells that are racing to the wound, where the needle penetrates the skin. Its function is to clean up the inflammation process and because of that, they store the ink. Fibroblasts are skin cells, that consume the ink and stay in the dermis. After about a month, the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, starts to repair and reform itself from the damage the needle did to it under the tattooing. Around two to three months after your tattoo procedure, the epidermis is fully reformed. The ink is now fully in the dermis and not in the hole where the needle punctured the skin.
(Credit: Image by premiumtattooremoval)
(Credit: Image by badhabitstattoos)
Why are tattoos so painful?
You might ask you how tattoos can be so painful. Well, depending on the tattooed area, there is different levels of pain. A tattoo on your elbow is for example more painful than one on your shoulder. The pain chart is also different between women and men. But, tattoos that hurt the most are usually areas on your body where you have more nerves and less fat going through your skin. The pain from the tattooing process comes from the needle that needs to get past the first layer and into the second layer of your skin. And therefore, it is less painful when the first layer of the skin is protected with fat. Lastly, it is important to know that every person feels different levels of pain, so you may experience less pain than your best friend. But if you are too afraid to get a tattoo because of the pain you may experience, we have the strongest numbing cream on the market, Nopain! To learn more about how much Nopain you should use for your tattoo for optimal results, click here.
Why do tattoos last forever?
So, we have already explained that the ink stays in the macrophages and fibroblasts when getting a tattoo. But what happens when the skin cells die? Skin cells die after two to four weeks and the ink they have in them are passed on to the next generation of skin cells. There was a myth once that the cells simply get stained by the tattoo ink. But that wouldn’t explain how tattoos stay on your skin forever, as the skin cells die every two to four weeks. Then it was discovered that the skin cells keep the ink inside of them. If you want more details about why and how tattoos last forever, then click here.
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(Credit: Image by tattoomoisturiser)
Why does tattoo ink fade?
Even though the ink stays in your cells forever, the tattoo does fade eventually. While the answer to this is yet to be fully discovered, it is assumed that the skin cells move deeper into the dermis, the second layer of the skin. That would cause the cells to be less and less visible since the distance gets bigger and bigger to the first layer of the skin. Tattoos tends to fade faster in areas that are exposed a lot to the sun or experience a lot of friction. For example, socks cause a lot of friction on your feet which explains how tattoos are not lasting as long on your feet as they do on your shoulders. To learn about 5 parts of your body where tattoos are most likely to fade away, click here.
How do tattoo removals work?
If you really regret your tattoo and want to get rid of it, then you can always get a tattoo removal, but before the procedure it is good to know how tattoo removals even work and if they are safe. One downside of tattoo removals for example is, that the tattoo doesn’t fully go away. So, if you are getting a tattoo removal, you can’t expect the tattoo to be fully gone after the session. Under a removal session it is only the outer layer of the ink in your skin that are destroyed with the laser machine. This is why your tattoo is not completely gone after the first tattoo removal session. If you want to know how tattoos are completely removed, you need to know that that would take a couple of sessions to be completely done. Also, the darker the colour of the tattoo, the longer it will take to get it removed. Even though getting a tattoo removal is not as painful as the procedure of getting the tattoo, we still recommend using our Nopain cream. To learn about when you need to apply anaesthetic cream, read our blogpost about exactly that.
(Credit: Image by rejuvenemd)
We hope that you found our blogpost interesting and learned something new about tattoos in general and how tattoos are made and removed. If you are afraid of the pain that comes with getting a tattoo, you should take a look at our NoPain cream!