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A tattoo needle goes in your skin around a hundred times per second while you’re getting a tattoo. The ink from the needle goes in 1.5 or two millimeters below the surface of your skin to get under the outer layer of skin. Doing this gives tattoos their permanent quality because the outer layer of your skin is always changing.
It’s not just your skin that gets to exposed to ink. The lymph nodes that are closest to your tattoo get exposed too. The ink stays there because the nodes can’t break down the particles. A side effect of this is that your lymph nodes become the same color as your tattoo.
Your immune system is very protective of you, and getting a tattoo seems like a war to them. As soon as your tattoo starts to bleed, your immune sends its troops to that area.
Macrophages are special immune cells whose job is to eat foreign things in your body and clear them from your tissue. Although they struggle to do this with tattoo ink and end up overeating and staying where they are. It’s another reason why tattoos are permanent.
There are some possible skin reactions that aren’t common when the tattoo is done correctly but could happen.
One of these risks is skin infections. Like any other wound, a tattoo can get infected if not properly taken care of. Make sure you use a cream or balm with antibacterial properties to reduce the risk of infection.
You can also get an infection if nonsterile water is mixed with ink before injection.
The first two weeks are when you’re most vulnerable to infections. Look for symptoms like redness, itchiness, and discharge. If the infection gets too bad, it can lead to a fever. Use your antibacterial balm twice a day during the first two weeks but if it starts to look serious then seek medical advice.
You may get an allergic reaction after getting your tattoo, mostly due to the ink and not the needles. Yellow, red, blue, and green pigments are what people are most allergic to.
Tattoos can lead to scarring, especially if it doesn’t heal properly due to infection or allergy. You can get keloid scars, which are raised bumps of old scar tissue.
Know that your tattoo could hide possible signs of skin cancer or other skin conditions. Things like moles, red patches, and other symptoms can easily go unnoticed.
If your artist is using equipment contaminated with infected blood, which they never should, you can get diseases like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
While this all sounds scary, getting a tattoo is the safest it’s ever been. Make sure you research your artist and get to know them. Feel free to ask them any questions that you have so that you know all the info about getting a tattoo.