A tattoo, or design, is a form of body art on a person’s skin that is permanent. Across cultures and countries, tattoos have different meanings, and play important roles in forming the identity of an individual in that society. From history books, to modern day magazines, tattoos have been described in different contexts.
In terms of the technical process, the tattoo artist uses a specialized machine (like a sewing machine-that you would usually find in houses or industrial manufacturing plants) to complete the tattoo or design. In a nutshell, the actual process of tattooing involves having one of two needles piercing the skin simultaneously, the design is produced when permanent ink penetrates the surface of the skin.
This process is performed without using any form of anesthesia, which is painful, especially when it involves large designs which cover a significant portion of the body.
Although allergic reactions are not very common, they usually happen immediately after having one’s first tattoo completed. However, this rule of thumb is not applicable to all situations. Intricate designs can involve more than one color, and the risk of complication (such as an allergic reaction) is much higher than in monochromatic tattoo designs.
The itching caused by the allergic reaction, especially on the area where the tattoo has been made, can take years before it totally heals. But with proper medication, and after-care measures, it can be healed much faster.
Some common symptoms associated with an allergic reaction to a tattoo, include: redness, swelling, lingering pain, and a presence of pus on the affected area.
Granuloma is a medical condition where a localized portion of the body, especially on the surface of the skin, is filled with granule-like formations, thus the name. It’s basically characterized by the presence of tumor-like bulges around the affected area, which may or may not, cause distress to the individual.
In most cases, this condition doesn’t really cause any major pain. But, if this condition is associated with pain and discomfort, it’s best to consult a dermatologist. Your dermatologist will more than likely prescribe medication that will lessen the swelling of the granules, which will later lead to its total eradication.
Some people hate the idea (myself included) of having a keloid scar, or the type of scarring that leaves a permanent and embossed scar mark. Depending on the area of the tattoo, keloid scars can cause considerable discomfort if located in or next to a skin crevice.
To avoid keloid scarring there are some dermatologic techniques done in preparation, or immediately after, a tattooing procedure. If the preventatives are completed properly, it can lessen the chance of one developing a keloid scar. But in most cases, this type of scaring is genetically predetermined and in most cases, and is irreversible.
Illnesses acquired from blood contamination. If tattoo needles are used which contain contaminated blood, you can get blood-borne diseases such as: tetanus, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Of all the health-risks related to tattooing, the possibility of acquiring blood-borne infections are probably the most serious.
Since many illnesses acquired via the blood borne pathway can lead to life-threatening complications, it’s no wonder many people are scared to get inked.
There have been reports that some inks used in tattoos can lead to MRI related complications. Specifically, if the ink used for the tattoo is not MRI compatible, an MRI scan can cause burning or swelling on the skin.
In some cases, in which incompatible MRI tattoo ink was used, complete removal of the skin containing the tattoo was found to be the best solution. Yikes!
Think before you get inked!
One of the many reasons why individuals find themselves regretting their decision to have a tattoo is their failure to give it a thorough thought. Make sure that you’ve thought out your decision before you get yourself tattooed, or you will end up loathing the day you had your tattoo completed. You don’t want to see yourself on that situation! Do you?! (Wow, I sound like your mom! 🙂
Are you sure you want to have permanent markings on your skin? If you are unsure and hesitant, give yourself time to consider the idea carefully. Do not try and convince yourself to have a tattoo done just because your friends wanted you to, and avoid having ink done when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because, chances are, your decision-making abilities are severely impaired; and you could not come up with rational decision to save your life!
But, if you have really decided to have a tattoo done, choose the right location on your body where you want the design to be located. Also, consider whether you want your tattoo to be hidden, or visible.
To ensure your safety, answer these questions:
Who’s the artist?
Do not try to complete the tattoo yourself, render the tattoo design yourself, or enlist one of your friends to do either of these tasks for you (Only if your friend is a professional tattoo artist should you accept their help). To ensure results of the highest quality, go to a reliable and certified tattoo studio-with staff who are knowledgeable of what they are doing. Avoid freelance, or fly-by-night tattoo artists, especially if you have just met them online. Find out if they have a license to practice and perform tattooing.
Does the artist wears gloves?
Hygiene really matters in tattooing. Be sure that the tattoo artist that you just hired practices safe working environment and proper sanitation of equipment before any procedure.
One wants to employ a tattoo artist which holds equipment sterilization in the highest regard. One does not want a tattoo artist who is recycling needles, and facilitating transmission of a blood-borne disease to your body. Diseases such as the ones in the preceding paragraphs. Instrument hygiene is a very important aspect to consider before you settle into the tattooist chair, do not take any chances by settling on a sloppy artist. Don’t be afraid to assert your rights. If they are a true professional, they will not be offended if you quiz them about their sanitation and sterilization practices. In fact, they will probably be more than happy to talk your leg off about the cleanliness procedures which they practice in the profession which they are passionate about.
Enjoy the ride
Once you have prepared yourself, both physically and mentally, for your tattoo procedure; sit back and relax! Enjoy the process! Although it indeed can be painful at some points, once you see the product of your imagination and courage, you will realize that you made the right decision.