Tattoos, the Antique Art Going Urbane

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Tatoos and Body Art

A tattoo is a design etched on one’s body with a choice of inks which last permanently or temporarily. The colouring ink pigment is placed into the dermis of the skin. Some of the permanent tattoos have been known to withstand even burns.

We humans get tattooed basically for ornamentation and spiritual purposes while animals are tattooed for identification and branding. The type of artwork and connotation of the tattoos varies geographically and culturally. It could connote the status of a person, clan, superstitious beliefs, emotions, etc.

Tattoos have been existent in the world for ages. Even mummies have been found with tattoos on them. The Berbers of Africa and Maori of New Zealand still sport facial tattoos today. This tribal art has today become very urbane and chic. High profile celebrities are sporting them.

Novel inks and innovative tattooing equipments have come by. The tattoo artists are also qualified as technical or fine arts professionals. Quality tattoos have started seeing the light of the day.

Types of tattoo:

Cosmetic: Permanent tattoos serve some cosmetic purposes like permanent eye brows, eye-liner, lip-liner, decorations around moles or discoloured skin, to make them look like part of the tattoo.

Medical: Tattooing is used in medical field to mark area for repeated insertions of medical instruments. During reconstruction surgeries when certain features of the body get defaced, tattooing is used to give form to these features, like areola during breast reconstruction, eyebrow during facial reconstruction, etc.

Trauma inducted: During any wounding when accidentally certain substances like gunpowder, coal dust, asphalt, graphite, amalgam, get into the skin, move deeper down the layers of skin and settle, they cause permanent discolouration.

Professional: When a qualified tattoo artists works on tattooing using modern equipments for tattooing following sanitary conditions, professional tattoos result. Even traditional artists can come out with professional tattoos using traditional methods.

Amateur tattoos: When non qualified self propositioned tattoo artists use naïve equipments and produce amateurish tattoos, they are called amateur tattoos. These are more prevalent amongst prisoners, hobos and punks. They stand to risk infection.

Flash tattoos: Mass produced copyrighted tattoos are called flash.

Tattoo procedure: While ancient methods of tattooing is still being practised, modern electric tattoo equipments use a multi-needle head to make around 80-150 pricks a second. Some simple tattoos need a single session while complicated ones need multiple sessions. Price for the procedure varies geographically and also depends on the largeness and intricacy of the tattoo.

Tattoo aftercare: The pricks made on the skin surface for making a tattoo take time to heal. Till then keeping the tattoo surface clean is of paramount importance. Water and sunlight could fade the tattoo. It is recommended to apply on the tattoo, cocoa butter, lanolin or salves.

Risk of infection: The risk of infection is more amongst those who do not follow modern techniques of tattooing. They risk Hepatitis C, Tetanus, Staph, Herpes, Tuberculosis, HIV and fungal infections. Modern tattooing is done using sterile single use needles. Tetanus injection is given before tattooing. Skin surface is sterilized before tattooing. Tattoo equipments are also sterilized.

Allergic reactions: Some react to the colouring pigments. They get inflammation or itching sensation on the skin. In some cases a clear liquid called serum trickles out of the tattooed skin. That is the reason why a patch test is to be performed before getting tattooed.

Permanent Tattoo removal: This can be done through laser treatment accompanied by salabrasion, dermabrasion, cryosurgery and excision. It is an expensive procedure. Removal of darker tattoos, are easier compared to removal of lighter ones.

Temporary tattoos: Water soluble sticker tattoos which can be transferred onto skin using water last till the next wash or are removable using oily creams. Temporary sticker tattoos made of vegetable dyes last up to three weeks. Henna tattoos too last up to two to three weeks. Temporary tattoos are also etched using stencils and airbrush spraying of ink.

Tattoo art is here to stay for a long time to come.