The Risks and Rewards of Getting Tattoos

Tattoos Vs No Tattoos

Tattoos appear on nearly a third of Americans. Some people take months to decide on a design, and get the tattoo in a reputable shop. Others get inked impulsively.

But a lot of people who get tattoos don’t consider the risks. A prick of the needle triggers an immune reaction that can cause infections or lead to other health problems.

Why Do People Get Tattoos?

For some people, tattoos are a form of self-expression. They want to celebrate the beauty in their lives, share memories, or even commemorate a loved one. For others, they’re a way of healing. People who have survived sexual assault, for example, may feel that their body has become a foreign object owned by their perpetrator and can’t regain control of it. Tattooing can be a way to reclaim their bodies and finally feel autonomous, free, and comfortable in their own skin.

Some scientists have also theorized that tattooing may have an evolutionary purpose. They suggest that, in the past, it acted as a way of bolstering the immune system so you could survive a dangerous infection or injury. This would make you more likely to pass on your genes and continue the human species.

Are Tattoos Painful?

Although tattoos are not painful for everyone, the pain they cause varies depending on where on the body you get your ink. Some spots on the body are more sensitive than others, especially areas with less fat and more nerve endings. Tattoos that are close to bone, like ribs, usually hurt more than tattoos on the arms or shoulders.

Some people describe the pain of getting a tattoo as sharp and stinging, almost like a bunch of tiny bee stings. It can also be uncomfortable to sit for a long session, especially if you aren’t feeling well.

Having a good night’s sleep, eating a meal and staying hydrated before a tattoo session can help you feel better during the process. You should also avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen before your tattoo, as these medications thin the blood and can make you more sensitive to pain. Lastly, don’t ever try to self-tattoo yourself or have someone else tattoo you without sterilizing their equipment. This increases your risk of infection and can lead to serious medical problems.

Are Tattoos Permanent?

When tattoo ink is applied to the skin it causes a wound that the body’s immune system tries to heal. It sends white blood cells called macrophages to the site of the ink. These cells eat the pigments of the ink but they cannot completely dissolve them so they remain visible in the skin.

Tattoos can also lose their sharpness or blur over time. This can be caused by age, sun exposure or if the ink was applied too deep.

If you decide to get a tattoo, make sure it is done in a clean studio by a trained professional. Sharing needles and ink or going to an unclean studio can lead to infection.

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, remember that it will be with you for the rest of your life. It is a permanent mark on your body and it may impact your employment opportunities or relationships in the workplace.

Are Tattoos Safe?

Tattoos may seem superficial, but they affect more than just your skin. They can also affect your immune and lymphatic systems.

Tattoo ink contains carcinogens and other harmful chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. This can lead to allergies, rashes and other complications like fevers and chills.

In addition, if a person is allergic to the metal nickel (used in some pigments), they can have a granulomatous reaction, which looks like bumps and nodules under the skin. Infections can also occur if needles and tattoo equipment are not sterilized properly. For example, if a tattoo is done in an unclean studio or by a non-sterile needle, it can cause infections like hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Despite these risks, many people choose to get tattoos. For some, it’s a matter of self-expression or commemorating loved ones. For others, it’s a way to make themselves feel strong. They can be a reminder of their achievements, dreams and goals.

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