Tattoo’ is a mark, patch, or design made on the human body using inks, pigments, or dyes. They are either permanent or temporary by nature and are inserted into the dermis layer of the skin.
Tattoos are becoming very popular these days as a style statement among youngsters, especially in the age group 18-25. They are an offspring of western culture but today tattoo studios can be found on every other street in India as well.
Humans have practiced these art forms for thousands of years, as amulets, love declarations, and religious or status symbols. Egyptian mummies had tattoos too!
Types of tattoos
There are zillions of tattoo styles being created in different corners of the world these days. But, the majority of them have been derived from a few basic classic styles:
Portraiture Tattoo- In this style, people get tattoos in the form of portraits of famous leaders, role models, etc. designed on their body eg. Lincoln, Gandhi, etc.
These tattoos look very realistic and accurate. Tattoos can be either colored or black and gray.
- Japanese Tattoo Style-
It is also very popular to get a Japanese tattoo. Common designs in this style include flower patterns, animal designs, or Samurai symbols. They are huge images that cover either the back or the limbs. They are pure masterpieces and look very attractive.
- Classic American Tattoo Style-
It is an old-school design with bold boundaries and a dark color scheme. It symbolizes female figures, animals, hearts, and natural elements like the ocean, roses, etc.
- Black and grey tattoos-
They have a very broad theme and no specific subject matter. Different shades of black and gray are typically used to make these tattoos. They are very famous all over the world.
- Geometric tattoo-
Geometric shapes and elements are the basic design elements of these tattoos. Sometimes they are also used along with some organic elements. Such special features make them unique. They are becoming very popular these days.
Facts about tattoos
- The skin gets pierced 1500 times on an average per minute by a tattoo machine.
- Tattoo ink is used on the dermis. It is the second layer of the skin. It is very sensitive.
- Diamonds were used to make the most expensive tattoo on Earth.
- In the past, tattoo ink used to be mixed with urine.
- It is most painful to get tattoos on the hand and head
- The oldest tattoo ever made dates back to c.3251 BC.
- One can donate their skin canvass when they die.
- A tattooed Barbie doll exists. It was revealed in the 1990s.
- Some people have allergies to tattoo ink.
What to know before getting a tattoo
- Be careful-
Getting a tattoo is a big decision. It must be made carefully and with a lot of thought and attention. It is a painful process, where a needle is sometimes used to inject ink into the dermis.
One should enquire with their friends and family about a tattoo artist they know, who is trustworthy. The selected tattoo artist must be skilled enough to take complete care during the process.
- Be safe-
One must ensure that the needles and other instruments being used by the artist are clean and hygienic. They must not be infected, as it can cause severe health issues if left unchecked.
- Give generous tips-
We must be generous enough to appreciate the artist’s creativity. It acts as a good motivation for them to be better each day. It is also valued highly in the tattoo industry.
- Be ready to bear some pain. Have strong willpower, once you have decided to get it done.
- Be very particular about the aftercare schedule given by the tattoo artist. It is very important to heal faster.
Aftercare for Tattoos
- Get the new tattoo covered with petroleum jelly and bandage as soon as it is finished.
- One can remove the bandage after 24 hours. The tattoo can then be washed with soap and water and then dried.
- Avoid swimming till it has healed.
- Tight clothing must also be avoided.
- Immediately consult a tattoo artist or doctor, if you see any symptoms of an infection.
- Apply Vaseline twice or thrice a day, without a bandage.
- One can use moisturizer to heal that part of the skin quickly.
- Try not to rub that area for a few days, as it might cause infection.
- Try to ensure that the newly made tattoo doesn’t get much sun.
Tattoos and myths
- A tattoo leads to Cancer-
Doctors say that some health issues might arise, however, no strong evidence suggests that they cause cancer.
- Tattoos cause HIV-
This is the case only when contaminated instruments are used to make the tattoo. Else, they are usually very safe due to legal regulations in place.
- Tattoos are not affected by scratching-
One needs to be very careful about this. Scratching and peeling should be avoided completely. They can cause reactions on the skin and increase pain.
- Too much ointment leads to faster recovery-
This is a common myth. Vaseline and other ointments should be applied only as per the instructions of the tattoo artist and the doctor.
- People having a tattoo cannot donate blood-
This is completely untrue. Having a tattoo doesn’t affect the ability of a person to donate blood. One is advised not to donate blood for a year following the tattoo, after that they are free to do so.
Tattoos rule the fashion industry these days and the main target group remains adolescents and young adults. It is very important to make them aware of all the facts and precautions related to tattoos. One is advised to undertake proper and extensive research before getting a tattoo done. If the decision is taken carelessly, it might cause health concerns. The cosmetic industry is making strides and thousands of creative designs are coming up. They have become agents of self-expression and beauty.
It is no longer limited to a few countries. It is an art form being practiced all across the globe, cutting across national, cultural, religious, and social boundaries.