The process of tattooing involves the insertion of pigment into the skin’s dermis. Traditionally, tattooing often involved rubbing pigment into cuts. Modern tattooing almost always requires the use of a tattoo machine and often procedures and accessories to reduce the risk to human health.
1. Modern Tattooing
The most common method of tattooing in modern times is the electric tattoo machine, which inserts ink into the skin via a single needle or a group of needles that are soldered onto a bar, which is attached to an oscillating unit. The unit rapidly and repeatedly drives the needles in and out of the skin, usually 80 to 150 times a second. This modern procedure is ordinarily sanitary. The needles are single-use needles that come packaged individually. Prices for this service vary widely globally and locally, depending on the complexity of the tattoo, the skill, and expertise of the artist, the attitude of the customer, the costs of running a business, the economics of supply and demand, etc. The time it takes to get a tattoo is in proportion to its size and complexity. A small one of simple design might take 15 minutes, whereas an elaborate sleeve tattoo or back piece requires multiple sessions that may consist of several hours at a time ranging over months or even years.
2. Dyes and pigments
Early tattoo inks were obtained directly from nature and were extremely limited in pigment variety. In ancient Hawaii, for example, kukui nut ash was blended with coconut oil to produce an ebony ink.Today, an almost unlimited number of colors and shades of tattoo ink are mass-produced and sold to parlors worldwide. Tattoo artists commonly mix these inks to create their own unique pigments.Modern tattooing inks are carbon-based pigments that have uses outside of commercial tattoo applications.
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3. Studio hygiene
Proper hygiene requires a body modification artist to wash his or her hands before starting to prepare a client for the stencil, between clients, and at any other time when cross-contamination can occur. The use of single-use gloves is also mandatory and disposed of after each stage of tattooing. The same gloves should not be used to clean the tattoo station, tattoo the client, and clean the tattoo.
4. Training and certification requirements
While specific requirements to become a tattooist vary between jurisdictions, many mandates only formal training in bloodborne pathogens and cross-contamination. The local department of health regulates tattoo studios in many jurisdictions Tattoo artists and people with tattoos vary widely in their preferred methods of caring for new tattoos. Some artists recommend keeping a new tattoo wrapped for the first 24 hours while others suggest removing temporary bandaging after two hours or less to allow the skin to breathe. Many tattooists advise against allowing too much contact with hot tub, pool water or soaking in a tub for the first two weeks to prevent the tattoo ink from washing out. In contrast, other artists suggest that a new tattoo is bathed in the very hot water early.