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How Tattoos Are Made

Many times when we think of tattoos, we think of a very long and painful process. This is often a very frightening thought. A lot of people wouldn’t even think of getting a tattoo simply because of their idea of what the process involves.

To understand what getting a tattoo means, we have to first take a quick look at a small part of the human anatomy. The skin is made up of two layers; the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of skin; the part we can see and touch. The dermis is the deeper layer, or secondary layer.

When a tattoo is applied, the ink is injected deep into the dermis. As the epidermis sheds an enormous amount of cells every day, the dermis is a much more appropriate place to inject ink. Otherwise, shedding occurs causing the tattoo to be only temporary. When injected into the dermis, the tattoo ink lasts a lifetime.

The method of creating a tattoo has not changed much since the beginning. It is believed that designs were created in the skin using sharp pieces of bone in the distant past. Today, needles deliver the ink into the dermis. These needles can produce up to 30,000 punctures per minute.

Tattoos are made by a process similar to stippling. A series of dots creates the image of the design. More dots closer together creates a darker or more solid in appearance picture. Spread apart, the dots make a lighter image or a shading effect.

The tattoo machine that the artist uses to create the design consists of three main parts. An ink source that contains the special ink of the chosen color is typically connected to the machine. A tube connects the ink source to the machine. The needle is the part of the machine that pierces the skin administering the ink.

Most tattoo artists use single use or disposable needles. Sterilization is one of the most important things with tattoo art. These needles should always be completely sterilized prior to being used on a person. Needles are then discarded after use.

The tattoo ink comes in a wide array of colors. Virtually any design with any color combination can be created. Tattoo artists and parlors have samples on display but can always change aspects of a design to fit an individual’s preference.

With the chosen design and color choice, the tattoo machine with selected needle type and the decided location on the body, the tattoo is administered by puncturing the skin while the ink is injected. The time frame that it takes to get a tattoo varies depending on the intricacy and size of the design.

Pain can be a part of the experience. However, it isn’t often as bad as expected. Many people with tattoos describe the procedure as annoying more than painful. Many times the most uncomfortable part is having to sit still in the same position for the given length of time.

After care is an important part of the tattoo process. Bandaging will be necessary, some bleeding may occur and care will need to be taken to reduce exposure to sunlight and excessive water. Rubbing and scratching the newly created tattoo can cause scaring. It can also cause the image to distort permanently.

Pain can vary depending on the individual’s pain tolerance. Where the tattoo will be applied on the body can also be a variable in the amount of pain. Overall, the process is fairly quick and painless when compared to the end result.

What to Expect When You Get Your Tattoo

To many people, tattoos are exotic and daring things to get into. It’s such a huge decision as the design, whatever it may be, will be permanent. Not only might this seem daunting but the actual process of getting a tattoo can be frightening to those who have never experienced it.

Most people know that tattoos are created with a needle that delivers ink into the skin by the use of a special tattoo gun or machine. Beyond that, many are clueless as to how the procedure might actually carry on. It is important to realize that every tattoo artist and parlor varies in their techniques.

The first thing to be prepared for is choosing a design. If you have a copy of something in particular, be prepared to discuss it with your tattoo artist. He or she may be able to make recommendations to make the image look its best on your skin.

If you do not already have a design, the tattoo artist can assist you. The design will depend on where you want the tattoo on your body and if you prefer all one color or multiple colors. The tattoo artist can assist with making decisions based on your personality, size preference for that tattoo and the aesthetics of the design.

Once the design has been decided upon, the tattoo artist creates a stencil. This stencil is laid out on the skin and traced. Some artists will draw the stencil straight on the skin freehanded. The general design can be visualized at this point on the skin.

When the design is decided upon, the tattoo process begins. This is where things can start to change a bit. Depending on the location where the tattoo will end up, the customer is typically seated in a position as comfortable as possible to make for easy access to the skin by the tattoo artist. Obviously the sitting position will vary accordingly.

The time frame is another variance. As is easily guessed extravagant, intricate and very large tattoos will take a longer amount of time than a smaller, simpler design. Tattoos that are excessively large, such as designs covering the entire back often require repeat visits to the tattoo parlor.

Generally, for an easy and small tattoo of one color, one can typically expect to it to take about an hour or less for the design. Some can take as little as thirty minutes. If there are a lot of color changes or intricacies the amount of time will increase.

Price can vary depending the geographical location of the tattoo parlor. Other factors that are reflected in the price include the size of the tattoo, difficulty and color variations. Many parlors charge by the hour with a general range of between $40 – $150 per hour, again depending on location and the design. For very large tattoos, prices might change accordingly switching from a per-hour fee to a set fee for the entire process.

Once the design is finished, expect to be taught how to care for the tattoo afterwards. It may be dressed in a bandage that will need proper care for the days following. The tattoo artist will discuss all after care instructions with the customer prior to letting them leave the parlor.

Getting a tattoo can seem a lot less daunting when you know what to expect. Getting to know your tattoo artist can help one feel more at ease with the whole procedure. Meeting the staff before hand might also go along way to ensure comfort with those working around you.

Possible Side Effects of Getting a Tattoo

We’ve all heard stories of people getting a communicable disease from an infected needle at a tattoo shop. People have been reported for becoming very sick from unsanitary tattoo parlor practice. Many people get tattoos every day; however the news only reports those incidents that go wrong.

So how can we know what are the real potential effects of getting a tattoo? We do some research. Talk to the tattoo artist about your concerns. Make sure the parlor you are going too practices sanitary measures, sterilizes equipment and uses new needles for each and every customer.

The CDC, or Center for Disease Control reports that if cleanliness and sanitation are maintained, then the transmission of communicable diseases isn’t likely to be widespread. Many specialists have determined that commercial tattoo parlors are quite safe but prison tattoos are where the problems are occurred. Another problem is encountered with amateurs and those who do their own tattoos.

The Food and Drug Administration has said that the colored ink used in tattoos technically isn’t legal as it hasn’t been approved by them for use. However, problems have not been reported with the colored inks aside from minor cases.

One type of minor case may include a reaction to the ink. These theoretically can occur in anyone with any tattoo, but does occur more with the colored ink. Delayed reactions are possible and may not happen right away. Some dyes in the ink are created with cosmetics and other chemicals that are not approved for being injected into the skin, creating a reaction.

Infections at the tattoo site are rare but do happen. Tattoo parlors that are unclean and do not practice good sanitation measures are reported to have the highest incidents of reported infections. The FDA does not regular tattoo shops so it’s easy for these places to get away with these practices.

Because of unsanitary shops, the APT, or Alliance for Professional Tattooists formed in 1992. Membership isn’t required but is encouraged among tattoo artists. Seminars are provided throughout the year for continuing education for the tattooists. Sanitary measures are regulated and encouraged to members of APT. Tattoo parlors that can prove membership are more likely to have a reduced risk for tattoo site infection.

Hepatitis C is a scare to many who are considering a tattoo. This is a disease carried through the blood and is transmitted through infected needles. Tattoo shops that reuse needles put the customer at a higher risk. These are become few and far between, however as most parlors today use disposable or single use needles.

Overall, tattoos are relatively safe. As mentioned before, we only hear about the bad news on television when someone has contracted a disease or infection for a poorly taken care of tattoo facility. If the parlor practices proper sanitary measures, risks are diminished. All equipment should be sterilized between each customer. Needles should be used once before disposing of them. General cleanliness of the facility itself is always a key aspect to watch for as well.

Choosing Your Tattoo Parlor

Once you have made the decision to get a tattoo you’ll need to find a qualified tattoo parlor. This is a very important decision, as it can easily make or break your tattoo. Before you decide on a tattoo artist or tattoo parlor, you must first see if they are qualified. There are hundreds of thousands of tattoo parlors out there, some better than others. If you go to a less than perfect tattoo parlor, you could very well end up with an infection that can cause you more trouble than you ever thought possible. Finding out how long a parlor has been in business is very important – as this will tell you how much business the parlor receives.

When you look for the best parlor you should always watch for those who have the best history with keeping their equipment clean. Clean equipment and a clean studio is without a doubt the most important consideration when dealing with tattoos. If the artist isn’t licensed or not a professional there will be little to no guarantee that the equipment is clean. Health is a big concern with tattoos for most people, and for good reason. If you are looking to get a tattoo you should always make sure that the artists are licensed, the parlor is clean – and the equipment is sanitized and cleaned after each and every tattoo.

The best tattoo parlors will welcome you in with open arms, anticipating your business. When you meet the tattoo artist, he should be friendly and not intimidate you at all, nor should he at any time attempt to push a design on you. Under no circumstances should the artist try and talk you into getting a more expensive tattoo design if all you want is something small and simple.

Pushy sales and unfriendly salesmen are common pitfalls with most businesses. Tattoo parlors should always be friendly and open to what you want. Although the more experienced tattoo artists will offer their opinions, they shouldn’t try to push you around. If a tattoo artists thinks there will be a problem with your design or if he thinks he can do anything to improve it, he will more than likely let you know. If he is able to save you some money, the higher quality tattoo artists won’t think twice about doing so.

Before you decide on a tattoo parlor to do your tattoo, you should always compare what’s available to you and weigh out your options. The higher quality tattoo parlors will cost quite a bit of money, more than the other parlors. This is to be expected, as the higher quality studios cost more to pay their artists and keep their parlor nice and clean. These parlors are among the best in the world, with sparkling floors and a clean interior. The tattoo artists here ensure that their rooms are clean, with most wiping down their equipment and materials every chance they get.

The ideal way to find tattoo parlors in your area or close by is to use the Internet and search or just open a local phone book. If you look for the keyword tattoos, you’ll find several that are relatively close to you. Once you have found some addresses, simply drive out there and take a look around. If you like what you see, you can always come back. You shouldn’t rush your decision – but instead look at what each tattoo parlor has to offer you.

How to Find a Good Tattoo Artist

Let’s say that you’ve considered all the effects of having tattoo. It’s been considered that it’ll be a lifelong commitment and is a permanent mark on the body, aside from having it surgically removed. You know what type of design you’d like to have created. You know exactly where on the body you’d like it imprinted. Now, you’ve got to find a good place to have it done.

The first thing to do is some research. Ask friends and family members who currently have tattoos where they got theirs done. Find out what their experiences were like. Ask if it was a clean environment, if it was comfortable and if the designs turned out to their satisfaction. Many times, tattoo parlors will be able to refer names of customers who can recommend their services.

While word of mouth is typically the best advertisement, you can also simply try opening the phone book. Locate local tattoo parlors and give them a call. They should be more than willing to answer any questions you might have. At best they should allow you to come and visit the facility to become comfortable with the surroundings prior to committing to becoming tattooed.

During a tattoo parlor visit, first determine the cleanliness of the facility. Make sure tools are sterilized between each customer and disposable and single use needles are indeed disposed of after each use. General cleanliness is just as important; if care isn’t taken with building upkeep, then it can be believed that care won’t be taken elsewhere in the business.

Chat with the tattoo artists and the staff members. If you don’t feel comfortable asking any questions or expressing concerns with them, chances are you won’t feel comfortable having them put a permanent mark on your body. You should feel completely at ease as it’s possible that a large amount of time may be spent with them.

Check the designs of particular tattoo parlors. One very helpful tip is to compare art with an actual tattoo to compare how closely the tattoo resembles the tattoo itself. It’s wise to inspect what kind of design range the tattoo artist is capable of. One might have a hundred different photos of skulls and crosses but it can be very different than having a butterfly, rose or a name tattooed on. Be sure the artist is very flexible.

The Internet can be a very useful too when it comes to business searching. Simply type in “tattoos” and the name of your geographical location into any search engine and you should be given a list of choices for places to check out. The Internet can also prove helpful to get opinions on certain tattoo parlors through blogs, forums and chat rooms. Information obtained from the Internet should always be double checked and checked again for confirmation as opinions will widely vary.

When finding a tattoo artist in your area, it’s important to always be comfortable with your decision. While it is understood that the tattoo will be a permanent mark on the body and great thought should be put into the design and the location on the body in which it will be placed, it is also imperative to be sure you are completely comfortable with the tattoo artist. After all, you’ll want to be positive that this lifelong design will be done accurately and correctly.

Laser Tattoo Removal

Research has shown that nearly half of those between the ages of 18 and 40 have a tattoo or several tattoos. The problem here is that a majority of those who have tattoos have later decided that they don’t want them anymore. The biggest complaint to tattoos is dissatisfaction, which has led to a recent increase in tattoo removal. It’s been proven in the past that women research their removal options more than men – due to the fact that men have less of a stigma when it comes to tattoos.

Often times, the ink that is used during tattoos can lead to infection, simply because the type of ink being used isn’t regulation for tattoo parlors. Clean equipment is also essential with tattoo parlors; otherwise someone can end up with hepatitis B, C, and various other infections. There are many serious diseases and other sicknesses that can occur if a tattoo parlor doesn’t keep their materials and parlor clean.

In the event of infection or if someone just doesn’t like their tattoo, there are ways to get them removed. Skin grafting and dermabrasion are good examples of tattoo removal, although the most popular and most common these days is laser removal. Laser removal is the fastest and by far the most preferred. With this surgery, the laser being used will zap the metal ions that are found in the pigment of the tattoo, fracturing the ink into very small pieces that the body can easily dispose of.

There are several great things about laser tattoo removal, although there are some bad things as well. In some cases, where infection is involved, the surgery will be a bit different. First, you’ll need to get the infection out of the area before the tattoo can be removed. Depending on how bad the infection is, you may end up staying in the hospital for a few days. For this very reason – you should always make sure that the equipment is clean and sterile before you ever get a tattoo.

Laser tattoo removal can be very painful, depending on the area that you have the tattoo on. Almost all surgeons will use numbing ointment and local anesthetics before they do the removal, so you experience little to no pain. Even though you may think that you have a high tolerance for pain and can deal with the treatment, you may still want to take any type of numbing that you can get.

Before you decide to get a tattoo removed with laser removal, you should always make sure that you choose a surgeon you can trust. Lasers can be very dangerous, and there are always side effects and risks involved. Although laser tattoo removal is certainly an option for getting rid of a tattoo – the best thing to do is think long and hard before you get one to begin with.

Celebrities and Their Tattoos

When deciding on whether or not to get a tattoo, the first thing to think about is how the tattoo will be a permanent mark on the body. The next thing to consider is what the preferred style might be. Most tattoo parlors have samples of previous designs that can be altered to suit the customer. But what many people enjoy is sampling and mimicking what many of those whom we idolize might have already had created.

Today, celebrities influence much of what is done in society. Clothing styles, hair dos, things to eat, places to hang out and, yes, even tattoos are often influenced by many celebrities. There are more famous people that have tattoos than what has been originally thought. Some may be quite surprising.

As many people know, Angelina Jolie is one of the most popular tattooed actresses today. She flaunts over a dozen tattoos, each with their own meaning. Angelina Jolie is such a fan of tattoos that there are always plans for more in the future. In fact, she’s made the tribal dragon tattoo the most popular among women.

When it comes to tattoos and famous actresses, it’s certain that Pamela Anderson’s name will be brought up. The arm band was made popular almost entirely due to Pamela Anderson. She also put an emphasis on the barbed wire tattoo as it’s one of her most well known marks.

Mike Tyson sports a facial tattoo that is of Maori influence. While the tattoo didn’t exactly cause a boom in applied facial tattoos, it does prove interesting among tattoo enthusiasts.

Johnny Depp is one highly acknowledge actor for having tattoos. He’s decorated with over twelve known tattoos all with stories behind them. Depp’s tattoo on his right bicep is the most well known. When Johnny Depp and Wynona Ryder were together, he had “Wynona Forever” tattooed on his arm. When the relationship ended, it was modified to say “Wino Forever.” A good example of why tattoos should be thought through before taking the leap.

A group tattoo was made for those actors in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each actor received a tattoo of the word “nine” written in Elvish script. Tattooed on different areas of the body, and a first tattoo for some, each member now has a permanent mark commemorating the making of the movies.

Other movie celebrities where we will find many tattoos to admire or copy include Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Gillian Anderson, Alyssa Milano, and Christina Ricci. We can also find tattoos in music artists such as Billy Idol, Eminem, Henry Rollins and Brittany Spears. Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Anna Kournikova, and Stone Cold Steve Austin make up just a few of the sports models that flaunt their own ink.

This is just a sampling of a few of the tattoos that are likely to be found among celebrities. These people are acknowledged and admired for their style and personalities. Many of them have caused booms in the tattoo trends throughout the years with special emphasis on designs that closely resemble their own. It’s not unusual or unheard of by tattoo artists to receive requests for a tattoo that looks just like one sported by the hip celebrity of the times.

Problems Associated With Tattoos

Although getting a tattoo is generally safe, there are a few risk factors and potential problems which one should be aware of. The largest risk factor is that of acquiring a communicable disease. While more strict health regulations and most tattoo artists’ compliance with these regulations has significantly reduced these risks, it is still important to be aware of them. In the distant past, lack of appropriate sanitary conditions in some tattoo parlors led to an uprise in communicable diseases, primarily syphilis, which in turn led to some locations banning tattoo parlors and making the practice illegal.

These days, tattoo artists are required to be licensed, and the cleanliness of their studios must be maintained. In the interest of keeping both the artist and the customer safe from contracting disease, ever since AIDS began to be well-known and feared, most artists have taken on the practice of wearing sterile gloves while tattooing their customers. As acquiring a tattoo does involve some degree of bleeding, wearing these gloves is an important safety-precaution for both the customer and artist alike. Preventing the spread of AIDS and other diseases is also why reputable artists use disposable tattooing needles, as well as disposing of any leftover ink which has been taken from the original tube; whatever was not used on the specific customer must be thrown away.

One risk which is always present is that of infection. Having a tattoo done only by a licensed artist is the most important way to reduce this risk. Unfortunately, the so-called “jailhouse tattoos” popular with inmates has become common amongst other people also. People who cannot afford the high cost of having a tattoo done at a studio frequently attempt to tattoo themselves. Regardless of whether they know what they’re doing or not, they do not have the same sterile conditions as a licensed studio. Even more distressing is that this is also in practice amongst the younger generation– kids who are not old enough to have a tattoo done legally at a studio attempt their own artwork, not only without appropriate sterile conditions but also without the necessary professional equipment. This practice significantly increases one’s risk of serious infection, and can also lead to blood poisoning.

Not knowing the facts about proper care of a new tattoo can also cause problems. Reputable artists caution their customers to not allow a new tattoo to be saturated with water from bathing or swimming, nor to expose it to direct sunlight for a certain number of days. Many either provide their customers with special skin-care solutions or advise them to purchase and use it. Although there are products specifically designed to promote the healing of tattoos, the triple-antibiotic topical cream called Bacitracin is still one of the most widely used and effective means of protecting and healing skin which has been damaged by receiving a tattoo. The proper care of a new tattoo is not difficult, but neglecting to do so can increase one’s risk of infection and permanent damage to the skin.

Although health complications would generally be considered the most important risk, many people who decide to get tattoos do not think about the potential impact on one’s everyday life. Regardless of one’s personal opinion on the subject and how affected one may be by it, it is a fact that having tattoos can be detrimental to a person’s success in the business world, and also have an effect on one’s personal or social life. In most areas, and in most lines of work, having visible tattoos can be a barrier to getting hired for a job. The common sense way of dealing with this is to simply adopt a professional attitude and wear clothing which covers the tattoos. In some locations, where tattoos are thought to be something favored only by particular groups of people, for others to have tattoos may cause them to be wrongly judged or categorized. Keeping a positive attitude is the key.

Tattoos: Not Just For Bikers Anymore

In the distant past, tattoos had the smallest modicum of acceptance, primarily based on the people who wore them. When military men came back to the States after serving overseas, it was difficult to express too much negativity about the names of their sweethearts or “Mom and Dad” emblazoned on their arms. It’s likely that the acceptance was more for the wearer than the tattoo, though, for tattoos had not attained a degree of respectability with the American public in general. As syphilis became more widespread, and with the less-than-sanitary tattooing procedures adding to its increase, New York City eventually banned tattooing, and did not make the practice legal again until 1997.

As disdain for the military began to spread across the United States, so did a new counter-culture. To most Americans during that time-period, the word “tattoo” was synonymous for those who were outside of the mainstream of America, thumbing their noses at society. It brought to mind the fringe-element of undesirables, from the widely-movie “Easy Rider” to the infamous Hell’s Angels. Greasy individuals who rode motorcycles and displayed obnoxious artwork on various parts of their bodies– bikers were only “cool” amongst their own kind, and thought of in a very unfavorable light by most of the American population. In general, tattoos were limited to that range of individuals; and both the bikers and their “sleeves” was something the population at large preferred to do without.

Although in some locales, especially those with Navy bases, tattoos continued to enjoy a moderate degree of acceptance throughout the ‘seventies, they still were not considered a respectable means of personal expression within the mainstream population. The younger generation who lived in these areas, with the usual curiosity of youth, often frequented tattoo parlors and began to make tattoos a part of their lifestyle. As these were usually young adults whose lifestyle included drug use and too much alcohol, their embracing the practice of tattoos did not assist in convincing the older generation that there was anything positive about it. One tattoo artist who practiced in the Navy town of Port Hueneme, California, remarked that the types of individuals whose lifestyle included tattoos were the kind of people who “don’t usually make it to forty years old.”

Also commenting that tattoos are “a fever,” he shed some light on the most negative aspects of this practice. Even though by law artists were not supposed to do such artwork on individuals who were in any state of intoxication, his clients were usually in either of two categories: those who requested tattoos while seriously under-the-influence, and the fainters. His tattoo studio had a large couch for the benefit of the latter. Young drug users and Navy men made up the majority of his customers.

It was not until the early eighties that tattoos began to gain positive exposure. With the Long Island based band “The Stray Cats” appearing on the cover of the music magazine Rolling Stone, not only did this bring the rockabilly music style back into popularity it was also one of the first steps in helping tattoos gain widespread appeal. In stepping away from the coarse music of that particular time-period, the Stray Cats’ scope was that of good clean music and good clean fun; and tattoos were a part of that image. Suddenly everybody wanted to be a part of it all, including the tattoos; and although it was often to the chagrin of the older generation, tattoos began to have less negativity attached to them.

As tattoos ceased to be solely connected to the counter-culture, they started to appear on everybody. In the following years they started showing up on average Americans all across the United States. Tattoo studios sprung up in cities that had colleges and universities, making tattoos an accepted part of life for students. As the people in that age group became older, their tattoos remained, as well as the interest in tattoos developing amongst the newer younger generation. In most parts of the United States they are now commonplace, and considered to be just a basic form of self-expression.