HomeScienceWhat Makes Tattoo Ink Permanent in Your Skin?

What Makes Tattoo Ink Permanent in Your Skin?

A tattoo is a form of art on the dermis layer of the skin that could be temporary or permanent.

Tattoos have been used for thousands of years for a variety of reasons, including religious, cultural, and personal expression. Tattoos can be simple or complex, with a single color or multiple colors, and can be small or cover large areas of the body. They can be created using a traditional tattoo machine or using hand-poking methods.

Tattoos are a personal choice, and the design and placement of a tattoo are often symbolic and meaningful to the person getting the tattoo, or that have a meaning and tattoos that help us cover birthmarks or scars.

Temporary Tattoos

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Non-permanent tattoos, also known as temporary tattoos, are not injected into the skin. Instead, the ink is applied to the surface of the skin and can be removed relatively easily. There are a few different types of non-permanent tattoos:

Temporary tattoos are different and you can choose one depending on how long you want them to last.

The henna tattoo is made with special leaves of the henna plant and some type of acid that makes them last. The paste is left on the skin for several hours, and when it’s removed, it leaves behind a reddish-brown stain. The stain lasts for a few weeks before fading.

The Airbrush Temporary Tattoos last up to 7 days if it’s not in a very exposed area. The ink is water-based and can be easily removed with soap and water.

Stick-on tattoos are similar to temporary tattoos that children may use, they are applied to the skin using water and can be easily removed.

Semi-permanent tattoos are applied using a machine similar to a traditional tattoo machine, but the ink is not injected as deep into the skin, and the ink is less likely to be permanent and usually last from 1-3 years.

Pain Level of a Permanent Tattoo

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Next, we will discuss how painful tattoos are depending on where they are situated. A tattoo is generally painful, but in some areas of the body, they are quite tolerant. Of course, there are different levels of pain.

Starting with the least painful parts of the body for a tattoo that has a lot of fat and fewer nerve endings like the upper outer thighs, forearms, outer shoulders, outer bicep, and a low-moderate pain on the calves and on the back.

If you are still thinking about getting your first tattoo, it is recommended not to get them in these places because it is very painful. The armpits, ankles, nipples, elbows, hips, neck, fingers, feet, toes, stomach, face, and lips are the most sensitive parts for a tattoo and they are moderate-high pain depending on the complexity of the tattoo, your gender, your age, and your pain resistance.

The process of getting a tattoo can be painful, and it’s important to choose a reputable tattoo artist and to carefully follow the aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

What Makes Tattoo Ink Permanent?

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When the needle touches our skin, it injects the ink into the layer of cells below the epidermis at a frequency of 50 to 3,000 times per minute. The ink becomes permanent because it is deposited in the dermis, and the older skin cells are replaced with younger ones. These pigments are too large to be absorbed by the body, so they remain in the skin permanently. The dermis is the second layer of the skin and is a fibrous structure composed of collagen, blood vessels, glands, nerve endings, and hair follicles.

Starting with the first needle penetrating the skin, the body is alerted to begin the inflammatory process. Specialized blood cells named macrophages eat the ink in an attempt to heal the wound. As these cells travel through the lymphatic system, some of them carry the dye back into the lymph nodes while others remain in the dermis and are engulfed by dermal cells called fibroblasts. This trapping of ink particles within the fibroblasts is what makes tattoos permanent. Dermal cells remain in place until they die, then “eaten” by nearby younger cells, also transferring the ink, and so on.

Natural Fading

tattoo fading over years tattoo
Mathew Foster / Flickr

Researches show that the macrophages eat the ink and they pass it to the new cells when the first cells die, and so on, the ink never disappears, it only fades with years.

A complete epidermal regeneration requires a month, during which you must avoid sun exposure and swimming to prevent fading. UV light can break down the pigment of the ink and that’s why doctors recommend SPF as high as possible at every sun exposure.

According to the type of tattoo you choose, you need to think of it very well especially if you want a permanent one. Laser tattoo removal for tattoos is an expensive procedure and because of that, you need to love the tattoo you want to make so that in 10+ years you won’t regret it.

It’s important to note that tattoos are a form of body modification and should be given careful consideration before getting one. It is also crucial to choose a reputable tattoo artist and to carefully follow the aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Read more: Laser tattoo removal for tattoos

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