Tattooing involves the placement of pigment into the skin's dermis, the layer of dermal tissue underlying the epidermis. After initial injection, pigment is dispersed throughout a homogenized damaged layer down through the epidermis and upper dermis, in both of which the presence of foreign material activates the immune system's phagocytes to engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis flakes away (eliminating surface pigment) while deeper in the skin granulation tissue forms, which is later converted to connective tissue by collagen growth. This mends the upper dermis, where pigment remains trapped within successive generations of macrophages, ultimately concentrating in a layer just below the dermis/epidermis boundary. Its presence there is stable, but in the long term (decades) the pigment tends to migrate deeper into the dermis, accounting for the degraded detail of old tattoos.[66]
Certain colours - red or similar colours such as purple, pink, and orange - tend to cause more problems and damage compared to other colours.[87] Red ink has even caused skin and flesh damages so severe that the amputation of a leg or an arm has been necessary. If part of a tattoo (especially if red) begins to cause even minor troubles, like becoming itchy or worse, lumpy, then Danish experts strongly suggest to remove the red parts.[88]
In Samoa, the tradition of applying tattoo, or tatau, by hand has been unbroken for over two thousand years. Tools and techniques have changed little. The skill is often passed from father to son, each tattoo artist, or tufuga, learning the craft over many years of serving as his father's apprentice. A young artist-in-training often spent hours, and sometimes days, tapping designs into sand or barkcloth using a special tattooing comb, or au. Honoring their tradition, Samoan tattoo artists made this tool from sharpened boar's teeth fastened together with a portion of the turtle shell and to a wooden handle.

The amount of time to get a full sleeve tattoo on your arm is completely subjective. The entire process, similar to the outcome itself, is highly subjective to plenty of variables. Factors that you must think about include the speed of the artist, the design, as well as your personal healing time. The main factor involved in how long will you be sitting on that tattoo chair is the complexity of the concept. Full sleeves that feature your traditional sailor-style tattoo artwork might take as little as 10 to 15 hours. Meanwhile, a photorealistic tattoo can take at least eighty hours to complete – Possibly even more.
You can also go for portraits of fictional characters considered by many as a badass. Examples of which include Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from Game of Thrones, Darth Maul (Ray Park) from Star Wars, the T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the Terminator films, and Blade (Wesley Snipes) from the Blade films. Be sure that the tattoo artist is well-experienced in the portrait department, though.
Perhaps the main difference between ancient and modern tattoos is that in the contemporary West, a given design’s message is often harder to decipher than those of tattoos rooted in specific cultural traditions. It was easy for fellow Maoris to read meaning in the markings on each other’s faces. But why, oh why, would you plaster your scalp with an picture of a continental breakfast, or ink a puking yellow mouse on your back, as certain bold souls showcased here did? (That’s not to suggest that tattoos have lost their tribal significance. Just look to the tattoos of prison gangs, skinheads, biker clubs, punk rockers, and other subcultures.)
The answers to those questions will determine whether you’re looking for a design or a specific image. A lot of guys are going for floral, geometric, or tribal designs just for the artistry. They add some flair to your skin. Other men choose images of religious figures, verses of Scriptures, or popular quotes to remind themselves and others what they believe in. Others feature tattoos of tigers, warriors, and dragons to show their strength. Still others get tattoos of skulls, an hourglass, or death faces to say, “I know it’s coming and I’m not afraid.” Finally, many men get tattoos of their favorite superheroes, movie characters, video games, or sports team logos as a sign of where their interests lie.

Because it requires breaking the skin barrier, tattooing carries health risks including infection and allergic reactions. Tattooing can be uncomfortable to excruciating depending on the area and can result in the person fainting. Modern tattooists reduce risks by following universal precautions working with single-use items and sterilizing their equipment after each use. Many jurisdictions require that tattooists have blood-borne pathogen training such as that provided through the Red Cross and OSHA. As of 2009 (in the United States) there have been no reported cases of HIV contracted from tattoos.[85]
According to George Orwell, coal miners could develop characteristic tattoos owing to coal dust getting into wounds.[10] This can also occur with substances like gunpowder. Similarly, a traumatic tattoo occurs when a substance such as asphalt is rubbed into a wound as the result of some kind of accident or trauma.[11] These are particularly difficult to remove as they tend to be spread across several layers of skin, and scarring or permanent discoloration is almost unavoidable depending on the location. An amalgam tattoo is when amalgam particles are implanted in to the soft tissues of the mouth, usually the gums, during dental filling placement or removal.[12] Another example of such accidental tattoos is the result of a deliberate or accidental stabbing with a pencil or pen, leaving graphite or ink beneath the skin.
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