Everything you wanted to know about tattoos

Nowadays, the world is still divided on the art of tattoos. There are some that think they’re the worst things since unsliced bread (which means they really hate them), while there are others who plan to one-day adorn their whole body with intricate pictures of their choosing – and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Yet, whether you love them or hate them, there’s nothing wrong with learning a little more about them. So, because we’re feeling extra generous today, here is everything you wanted to know about tattoos…

Tattoos have been around for a while…

While most people believe that tattoos are a relatively new addition to the world of cosmetic enhancement, it seems as though tattoos have actually been around for thousands of years. In fact, new research has found 5,000-year-old Egyptian mummies with their own form of tattoos embalmed on their bodies – but the name ‘tattoo’ was not introduced until the 18th Century! Before that, the process of tattooing was known as staining, scarring or painting. While it’s now known that tattooing was used in Ancient Egypt, the first written reference only made itself known thanks to the work of Joseph Banks, who was aboard the HMS Endeavour with Captain Cook.

There are different types of tattoos

Because tattoos have been around for so many centuries, the process and types of tattoos have drastically changed over the years. Of course, most of the modern world now know tattoos as the kind you choose in the tattoo parlor, but the American Academy of Dermatology have actually noted that there are three different types of tattoos: nature tattoos that occur because of injury or scarring, amateur tattoos, professional tattoos, cosmetic tattoos and medical tattoos. Over the years, these tattoos have been used as a source of personality and identity, personal trauma, religious associations, rites of passage, identification and more.

The process is pretty simple

Unlike temporary tattoos that only stay on your body for a short space of time, the process of real tattooing is actually pretty different – but not too complicated. Tattooists inject a pigment under the skin’s dermis – which is a layer of tissue located below the epidermis (or your top layer of skin). After the initial injection, the pigment becomes a part of the dermis and seems to fall ever deeper as the years go by. This is why some tattoos seem to fade as the person and the skin ages.

There are a few health risks

Like any form of body modification, there will always be health risks – however, with the use of modern technology and medication, these risks are decreasing every single year. Because tattooing pierces the skin barrier and injects a foreign pigment into the skin, there is always a risk of infection and even allergic reactions to tattooing, although this rarely happens in a professional environment. In un-sterilized environments such as prison cells, or during amateur tattooing sessions, the risk of spreading infections such as HIV, Tetanus, herpes and other infections is increased.

They can be removed

One of the main reasons people refrain from getting their bodies tattooed is because they think it is a permanent process – and while that is the main aim for those who get them, tattoos can be removed. Laser treatment is used to remove these tattoos and can be both costly and painful but can be done if the person is not happy with the marks on their skin.

We will probably never live in a world where tattooing is thought to be an everyday occurrence because people always have different views, but being clued up on the history and the process of tattooing can really help you make a judgment not based on personal opinion or tattoos you have seen in real life!