Beauty & Fashion >> Body Art >> Tattoo Design

How Did Tattoos Originate?
Believe it or not, some scientists say that certain marks on the skin of the Iceman, a mummified human body dating from about 3300 B.C., are tattoos. If that's true, these markings represent the earliest known evidence of the practice. More widely recognized are tattoos found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dating from about 2000 B.C. Classical authors mention the use of tattoos in connection with Greeks, ancient Germans, Gauls, Thracians and ancient Britons. But with the growth of Christianity, tattooing was forbidden in Europe. The practice continued in the Middle East and other parts of the world. (Interestingly, tattoos seemed to be missing among populations with the darkest skin colour and in most of China until more recent centuries.)

What is a tattoo?
Tattoos are created when colour is injected into small holes made in the dermis, a deep layer of the skin. Today most tattoos are applied with an electric tattoo machine, which has needles that rapidly puncture the skin with an up-and-down motion.

Following things to consider:
  • Regard tattoos as permanent. Whatever picture or design you decide on, you'll probably have to live with it for the rest of your life.
  • Removing tattoos is painful and expensive. What's more, tattoos don't always come off. Attempts to remove them may result in scarring, skin thickening, discoloration, or other problems.
  • Be sure you're not allergic to any tattoo inks or dyes. If you are, your body could react adversely to them.
  • You cannot donate blood for a year after getting a tattoo.

Is Tattooing Safe?
Tattooing is safe if proper sterilization and infection control standards are practiced. Basically, this means anything that comes in contact with blood / body fluids must either be disposed of (single - use) or sterilized. However, there are some serious health concerns. Needles and other equipment used for tattoos or body piercing that are not sterilized or disinfected, or are used inappropriately among clients, increase the risk for transmitting infectious diseases such as hepatitis, tetanus, and even HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Researchers say the infection can be passed through the reuse of needles or dye and poor sterilization practices and techniques, such as when a tattoo artist pricks the back of his hand with a needle to determine if it's sharp enough. Scarring, swelling, infections, discharges, skin thickening, allergic reactions, and other complications may occur if procedures are done incorrectly or the skin is not cared for properly.

Precautions to be taken:

  • First of all get yourself immunised against tetanus and hepatitis B.
  • Check if the tattoo parlour uses disposable needles?
  • Check if the tattoo parlour is clean.
  • Check if the tattoo parlour uses disposable inks.
  • Never tattoo yourself or allow your friends to do it. Deal only with experienced parlours.
  • Ask what procedures are used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Tattoo artists should wear surgical gloves to help maintain a germ-free environment near your skin.
  • Ask how needles and inks are used. Needles and inks used on one person must never be used on another. Reputed and experienced tattoo parlours will always use new needles. But still it is safe to verify.
  • Make sure that the artist unwraps the needle in front of you.
  • Every ink used in your tattoo should be poured into a small cup specifically for your tattoo. Any leftover ink should be thrown away after your tattoo is finished.
Does it hurt?
Yes it does. Tattooing hurts since the needles in the tattooing machine rapidly pierces your skin. Some people describe the sensation more as a vibration than a deep pain. Some say the pain level depends on the needles used; that the sharp sensation from needles used for outlining a design are more difficult to endure than the needles used to shade the design. You can use the local anaesthetics if you want to.

Caring for tattoos:
Make sure you take good care of your skin afterward. Follow the tattooist's instructions and recommendations. Keep the area clean and moisturized to help your skin heal faster and to reduce the chance of scarring or infection.

If you experience any signs of infection, contact your health care practitioner immediately.

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