Tattoos: The good, the bad and the bumpy

funky sleeve tattoo
funky sleeve tattoo

A lot of people consider their bodies as an artistic canvas for permanent ink drawings. Without knowing that the colored pigments they contain are not developed to be used in tattoos and they can lead into causing harmful reactions to some people.

Annabel Townsend out of Maple Grove, Minn, celebrated her 18th birthday by taking a trip to a tattoo parlor. This was not a spontaneous decision.

“I designed the whole thing over the period of a few years” she said out of the three quarter sleeve that now reside on her right arm. (like the sleeve of a shirt, sleeve tattoo covers the arm.) “I drew it over and over until the design is perfected.” She wanted the tattoo to be apart off a meaningful collection to her. “Every component inside of it has been selected for a reason,” She says, that includes big Ben, musical notations, and her favorite quote.

full sleeve tattoo with details
The full sleeve tattoo with details.

It took a major commitments turning her design into body artwork consuming both time and money. ‘It took her for sessions-a total of 13 hours-over a few years to be completed,” she said. That’s because the scan needed to heal between sessions. Also those hours spent in the tattoo parlor didn’t come cheap. She save money for years just afford her sleeve.

Townsend is among the many young adults who owns inked body art. A research conducted estimates that about 4 and every 10 adults aging between 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo, half of that have two or more. As tattoos are becoming more and more common, scientists begun to study their effects on health.

This artwork on your body Mike to be a cool, but it can be a health risk. Some people develop a bad reaction to the substances that are embedded into the ink, which are not meant to go inside our bodies. Other people might have some difficulties getting the certain medical tests after a tattoo. And not everyone is as thoughtful as Annabella Townsend when it comes into selecting their own design. Many people get inked at the whim-add later on they want that permanent artwork gone. It is a long and a painful process, but it can be done.

These days some researches indicates that tattoos are not bad for everyone. In some cases, people who take their time to heal from getting a tattoo come on may boost their immune system fighting germs-in a good way.  The point is until someone gets a tattoo there’s no way to know if it’s going to benefit them or harm them.

What is skin?

dermis tattoo anatomy
The dermis tattoo anatomy.

If you hate getting injections, then tattoos are not for you. When getting ink I need to go screw your skin and injects a small amount of ink, over and over again

The ink is injected into the dermis – which is the thick middle layer of the skin

When a tattoo is done the right way, then the ink reaches the dermis. Where this layer of skin lies beneath the epidermis, and is the outer layer that we see. New skin cells are generating in the epidermis while disposing the old ones. If tattoo ink is placed there, then it will last for about a month before completely going away.

Cells in the dermis do not get replaced at the same speed. That will make part of the skin an ideal location for placing a permanent image. Also the dermis is the home of nerve endings, which will make you feel each needle prick entering your skin. Finally, this part of the skin is where the blood supply is received. Things would get messy when when the ink is injected.

Cells of the dermis don’t replace themselves in the same way. That’s what makes this thick layer of skin the ideal spot for installing a permanent image. The dermis also is home to nerve endings, so you can feel each needle prick. Ouch! Finally, this part of the skin receives the area’s blood supply. So things can get messy as ink is injected into the dermis.

 Normally the body’s immune system reacts to being pricked and injected think. After all, getting a tattoo means having foreign particles installed inside her buddy. Which will lead the immune system response to remove them –  or at least tried to.  The molecules off tattoo ink are too big for the immune system cells to handle them. And that’s the main reason why tattoos is a permanent piece off body art work.

Inky issues

Organic chemicals contain carbon, and inorganic chemicals do not. Where the ink used in tattoos can be either inorganic or organic. A dermatologist called Tina Alster, a Skin specialist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington D.C.  who also direct the Washington Institute of Dermatological Laser Surgery. Minerals are used to make inorganic inks including salt the natural metal oxidizer.  Inorganic ink colors can be black, red, yellow, white, or blue. Some organic colors contain loads of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Wear synthetics are used in tattoo ink which means manufactured but not natural. Organic inks have much wider spectrum of colors than the inorganic ones.

sleeve inking process
Sleeve inking process

Tattoo inks are created to be injected into someone’s skin. But the pigments that give the inks it’s color were either made for printer toner or car paints –  not for people, Alster explains. The FDA has issued a set of rules about what kind of colors can be added to food, cosmetics, and drugs. Couldn’t issue a tattoo ink regulation, it has not done that until this moment so there is no ink out there that is currently approved for humans to use on their skins, Alster adds.

However, this may change, but the FDA is currently researching and conducting studies on the health risks of tattoo inks. The reason you say? It is because the number of reports of people developing harmful reactions to the inks are growing more and more every day. Some people are developing tender and itchy skin after getting a tattoo. This is usually caused by an allergic reaction just some ingredients inside the ink color.

That may change, however. FDA currently is studying the health effects of tattoo inks. The reason? More and more people have been reporting harmful reactions to them. Some tattoos make a person’s skin tender and itchy. This usually is due to an allergic reaction to some ingredient in colored inks, such as chromium or cobalt, Alster says. Red and yellow inks are most likely to cause such reactions, she says. But green and blue can cause reactions, too.

Some people their skin around the tattoo gets bumpy and scaly. “It is caused from the information and invitation as a reaction from the tattoo ink,” Alster says. Inflammation is the pain, swelling, and redness that is a result of an injury. It “ it could also indicate an infection,” she points out.

These reactions are not the sole problem that can be caused from the tattoo. Tattoos that are done with metal inks can affect an MRI scan. Which is short for magnetic resonance imaging, Doctors use this type of imaging to look inside the human body. The strong magnets inside the MRI machine canned heat the metal inside the tattoo ink. Also it doesn’t usually cause a problem, such eating can cause burns under the skin. Also tattoos can cause a distortion to the images created by the machine. We are not saying that people with tattoos should avoid MRIs if the doctor request them. But they do need to disclose that information to their doctors.

Priming the immune system

These are some of the risks that getting inked can cause. Recently, research has uncovered some good news. Many people are not experiencing any problems from their tattoos. Where reports have shown that the inking process has boosted their immune system helping individuals to stay healthy.

This is the finding of the study done by Christopher Lynn and his team of researchers at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Lynn is an anthropologist, who studied social habits and behaviors of people. He was interested in the idea that tattoos might transfer someone’s good health to others.

women sexy full sleeve
Full sleeve

In recent years’ tattoos have become more and more popular, reaching around 40% of the people aging between 18 to 29. The buddy artwork on this woman has a different color range that is provided by organic inks.

Most people healed smoothly, that is a fact. Still, it is as stressful action to get a tattoo, he notes. And can be dangerous to a certain point: people can get infections from dirty equipment. Also they can suffer from the allergic reactions. And some cultures that use the old and traditional tools to create large tattoos, distress and pain levels in some cases had led to death. Lynn says,” people use the tattooing method as a toughening ceremony of the body and make it stronger.

The tribes of people that live in areas that are infested with the infectious diseases can cause the big threats to them while they are having a ritual tattoo ceremony, Lynn notes. These tribes considered tattoos as an advertisement off good health, he adds. To discover weather fees tattoos really are a sign of good health, Lynn and his team looked at this stress and immune systems responses in people who got tattooed up recently.

The researching team recruited to 29 people who are planning on getting a tattoo. Before the inking process had begun, a swab was placed under his or her tongue for about two minutes for each candidate.  It took the saliva around two minutes to get the swab soak before placing it into the collection tube. It was to be analyzed on a later stage. Also each person repeated the same procedure of placing the swab under their tongue collecting it after getting their tattoo done.

Lynn’s group then analyzed the saliva samples for cortisol. It’s a hormone. The body makes more of it when someone becomes stressed. No surprise: Everyone had an increase in cortisol after a tattoo. Getting this body art is, after all, stressful. But cortisol went up less in people “with lots of tat experience,” Lynn found.

Researchers has also taken a close look at the levels of an immune protein call IgA. Which is short for immunoglobulin A. IgA is an extremely important defender against germs, such as the virus that is causing common cold. IgA protein is found in the digestive system and the body’s upper airways. Its job is to attach itself onto germs and other materials the Buddy wants to lay to waste. IgA’s raises flags on such invaders so the white blood cells know how to track and take them down.

When people get stressed out, cortisol levels lowered their immune response, Lynn explains. He suspected that this stress that was caused by The tattoo might show up in the IgA levels. And that is exactly what he and his team has found: IgA levels went down after getting the tattoo. This was highly noticed in people who got their first tattoo.

Went through the experience before had a lesser drop in their IgA levels. And shortly after that their protein levels returned to normal quicker those with many tattoos has shown a minimal change.

“India time the body adjusts and get used to getting tattooed overtime and with each and every tattoo added,” Lynn explained. In these people, IgA dips slightly using the process of tattooing. This implies that their bodies start to heal more quickly, he explains. His team gave this quick recovery and name “priming” of them union system. In other words, Lynn explains, a tattoo gets The immune system alert and ready to face other challenges at a faster response rate.

Does priming affect other areas of health –  such as helping people fight infections? Well, Lynn doesn’t know yet. “I think it would go beyond the tattoo experience,” he says. The stress response is very general, he notes. “so basically the system is vigilant.”

So people with extensive tattoos claim to be resistant to cold and can heal quickly from minor injuries. Such reports are generated from individual stories and are not yet proven to be true. These claims had prompted Lynn to start and use scientific investigation. It will be aimed to check out whether such results extend beyond the tattoo parlor.

Not-so-permanent art

The old friend is that people who got tattoos have them for life. Removing them was somehow possible but that requires the usage of painful methods, like driving off the outer layer of skin would salt or a wire metal brush. Nowadays, dermatologists have discovered that lasers are much more effective in tattoo removal. The process has been used commonly in the last 30 years.

This is a good news for people who receive dirt tattoos in the heat of the moment –  or whole now would like to get rid of the name off an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

Back tattoo removal before and after
Back tattoo removal before and after

This woman’s “permanent” tat was completely removed after conducting several sessions of laser treatment.

To remove it, doctors directed short bursts of laser Energy at the ink. Each burst lasted only for a nanosecond (that’s one billionth of a second). Dee’s short bursts of focused light contains higher energy then the laser that beams light continuously. This high energy light can damage nearby selves. Yet the doctors do require such a high energy bursts to break apart and the particles inside the tattoo ink. By keeping each burst of laser light extremely short it seems to have the maximum effect of breaking up the tattoo particles while doing a minimal damage to the skin.

Shorts-wavelength light has the best results for breaking up red, orange, and brown pigments. Longer wavelengths can be used for other colors such as a green, blue, and purple. Any wavelength of flight has the ability to break up the black pigment. That’s because the black color absorbs all colors of flight.

When the tiny particles are taken apart, the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels that helps the body gets rid itself off unwanted materials, absorbs them.

It takes time to remove the tattoo. Typically, it takes 4 to 8 sessions the person with the larger tattoo or with a tattoo that has many colors might require more time. Sessions are usually one or two months apart. That should give the skin a good amount of time to heal between sessions. These sessions are not cheap either. In each one can cost around hundred and $150. However, they are very effective. I don’t 95% of the tattoo can be removed. Most of the people who received the treatment cannot spot them anymore where they were on their skin when the treatment is done.

And keep in mind just because the technology exists to remove tattoos does not mean you should run out and get one, though.

Avoid getting a tattoo impulsively. Don’t get it under the influence or anything like that, or from some random tattoo artist you never heard of.

Alster also cautions people to choose a tattoo artist carefully. “Be wary of who is performing the tattoo, the facility where the tattoo is being applied, and what tattoo inks are being injected,” she says. “keep in mind at that tattoo parlors might be licensed as a businesses, they are not regulated for safety.”

Townsend agrees. “You do get what you pay for,” she says. If you decided going to have someone’s artwork forever embedded on your body, then you better make sure it looks good on you! Find a reputable tattoo artist that you like his style and who can be honest with you and guide you through how you’re plan design will turn out to be, she adds.

“The hardest part is finding a design that is meaningful,” Lynn says. You should find what’s will stay meaningful to you, and what that artist can do it well.” You can take Annabel Townsend’s tattoo as a good example as it took her years planning it out.

“Every tattoo tells his own story,” Lynn says, “but what is worth the trouble to tell that story is that good to experience you went through and you are proud off not the one you wish you could cover up afterwards.”


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