Essays about Tattoos
It seems like everyone has one these days. What used to be the property of sailors, outlaws, and biker gangs is now a popular body decoration for many people. And it’s not just anchors, skulls, and battleships anymore, from school emblems to Celtic designs to personalized symbols; people have found many ways to express themselves with them. Maybe you’ve thought about getting one. Well before you head down to the nearest tattoo shop and roll up your sleeve, there are a few things you need to know.
So You Ask, What Exactly is a Tattoo?
A tattoo is a puncture wound, made deep in your skin, that’s filled with ink. The tattoo is made by penetrating your skin with a needle and injecting ink into the area creating some sort of design of your choosing. The thing that makes tattoos so long lasting is the fact that they’re so deep, the ink isn’t injected into the epidermis (the top layer of skin that you continue to produce and shed throughout your lifetime). Instead, the ink is injected into the dermis, which is the second, deeper layer of skin. Dermis cells are very stable, so the tattoo is practically permanent.
Most tattoo shops these days use a tattoo machine, which is a handheld electric instrument that uses a tube and needle system. One end is a sterilized needle, which is attached to tubes that contain ink. A foot switch is used to turn on the machine, which moves the needle in and out while driving the ink about 1/8 inches into your skin. Getting a tattoo can take several hours, depending on the size and design.
Does it Hurt to Get a Tattoo?
Getting a tattoo can be very painful, but the level of pain can vary, depending on your pain threshold, how good the artist is with the machine, and the location of the tattoo. Because getting a tattoo involves being stuck multiple times with a needle, it can fell like getting a bunch of shots or being stung by a hornet multiple times. Some people describe it as “tingling. ” But again, it all depends on your own personal pain threshold as to how it will feel to you. If You’re Thinking About Getting a Tattoo…. There’s one very important thing you must keep in mind, getting it done safely. Although it looks a lot cooler than a big scab, a new tattoo is also a wound and like any other scrape, puncture, cut or penetration to your skin, a tattoo is at risk for infections and disease.
You need to make sure you are up to date with your immunizations (especially hepatitis and tetanus shots) and plan where you will get medical care if your new tattoo does become infected. Signs of infection include excessive redness or tenderness, prolonged bleeding, pus, or changes in your skin color around the tattoo. If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin disorders or any condition that affects your immune system or are prone to infections, you should ask your doctor before deciding to get a tattoo.
Also, if you are prone to getting keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of the wound), it’s probably best to avoid getting a tattoo altogether. Avoiding Infection It’s very important to make sure the tattoo studio is clean and safe, and that all equipment is disposable (needles, gloves, masks, etc. ) and that everything is sterilized. You can call your state, county, or local health department to ask for recommendations on licensed tattoo shops, or to ask about any complaints about a particular studio.
Professional studios take pride in their cleanliness; here are a few things to check for: Make sure the studio has an autoclave which is a device that uses steam, pressure, and heat for sterilization. Check to make sure the tattoo artist is a licensed practitioner; if they are they should be able to provide you with references. Be sure the studio follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Universal Precautions. These are specific rules and regulations that outline procedures to be followed when dealing with bodily fluids such as blood.
If the studio looks unclean or if anything looks out of the ordinary, or if you feel in any way uncomfortable, you should find another place to get your tattoo. What to Expect Here’s what you can expect from a normal tattooing procedure: The tattooist will wash his or her hands with germicidal soap. The area to be tattooed will be cleaned and disinfected. The tattooist will put on clean, fresh gloves and maybe a mask. The tattooist will explain the sterilization procedure and open up the single-use sterilized equipment. With the tattoo machine the tattooist will begin drawing an outline of the tattoo under your skin.
The outline will be cleaned with antiseptic soap and water. Sterile, thicker needles will be installed on the tattoo machine, and the tattooist will start shading the design. After cleaning the area again, color will be injected. A new bottle of ink should be opened for each individual. Any blood will be removed by a sterile, disposable cloth or towel. When finished the area will be cleaned once again and a bandage will be applied. Taking Care of your New Tattoo The last step in getting your tattoo is very important; taking care of the tattoo until it fully heals.
Follow all of the instructions the studio gives you for caring for your tattoo to make sure it heals properly. Also, keep in mind that it’s very important to call your doctor right away if you see or feel any signs of infection such as pain, spreading redness, swelling, or drainage of pus. To make sure your tattoo heals properly: Keep a bandage on the area for up to 24 hours (depending on the recommendations given at the studio) Avoid touching the tattooed area and do not pick at any scabs that may form. Wash the tattoo with an antibacterial soap (do not use alcohol or peroxide-they will dry out the tattoo).
Use a soft towel to dry the tattoo – just pat it dry and be sure not to rub it. If you do not have an allergy to antibiotic ointment, rub some into the tattoo. Don’t use petroleum jelly this can cause it to fade. Put an ice pack on the tattooed area if you see any redness or swelling. Try not to get the tattoo wet until it fully heals. Stay away from pools, hot tubs, or long, hot baths. Keep your tattoo away from the sun until it’s fully healed. Even after it’s healed, it’s best to keep the tattoo out of direct sunlight to keep it from fading. So Is It Worth It? Is getting a tattoo worth the money and hassle? It’s entirely up to you.
Some people really enjoy their tattoos and are happy to keep them for life, whereas others might regret that they acted on impulse and didn’t think about it long enough before they got one. Getting a tattoo is a big deal, especially since they’re designed to be permanent. If you’ve thought about it and do decide you want a tattoo, make sure you do a little detective work and find a clean, safe, and professional tattoo shop. Also, remember that getting and maintaining a tattoo involves responsibility; after you leave the tattoo shop; it’s up to you to protect and treat it to prevent infections and/or other complications.