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Scientific explanation on how to make a tattoo

The scientific aspects of tattoos may be the only aspect of the world of tattoos in which little or nothing has stopped. In innumerable opportunities we have talked about the artistic and symbolic aspects or the process of creation, design, care or healing of a tattoo; but never about what at the cellular level is happening in the body.

So today I am going to explain it to you: did you ever wonder what happens with the body and at the cellular level while you how to make a tattoo? What technologies should be used and how do they work?

How to make a tattoo – The process of tattoos

Let’s start with the most basic and obvious: a tattoo is made by injecting ink into the skin through a tattoo machine, which works very similar to a dental drill. Through a system of gears, this machine moves a solid needle up and down at different powers. So the needle, loaded with ink, pierces the skin (approximately one millimeter deep) and leaves there tiny drops that the skin could not dilute.

see also: How to find the right design for your tattoo?

The needle enters the skin between 50 and 3000 times per minute, depending on the power and every time it penetrates loose one of those drops of ink. This machine was invented by the American artist and inventor Samuel O’Reilly in the late 1800s and although a huge amount of new technology has been developed, the mechanism has varied almost very little.

Today every tattoo machine has: a needle; especially sterilized, a tube system (that transports the ink through the machine), an electric motor (that makes it work) and a pedal, which as in sewing machines regulates the vertical movement of the needle.

How to make a tattoo – Ink and skin

The cells in the dermis, the second layer of the skin, are much more stable than those of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin), which is why the ink must be lodged there. By placing the ink in the dermis, it can remain there for longer without deteriorating, disperse or discolor, being the best place to capture the tattoo.

The video that I am going to leave you next has a very bad sound quality, however, in it you will have a graphic sample of the process and it will be of great help to better understand the science of a tattoo …

How to make a tattoo – Materials and sterilization


Sterilization is a fundamental part of any type of tattoo, since any type of puncture wound in the organism has a potential risk of infection and transmission of diseases. Then, to make a tattoo you need a previous sterilization of the materials. These should always be disposable and in addition, both the artist and everything around him must be meticulously and properly sanitized.

All these disposable materials (have only one use) must be packed in a sterile envelope and must be opened only once in front of the client. Reusable materials (such as the needle bar or tube) should always be sterilized before each tattoo and this can only be done through a complex technological system called an autoclave.

How to make a tattoo – The autoclave

The autoclave consists of a metallic container that sterilizes these elements through a mechanism of exposure to heat, steam and pressure (generally used in hospitals). To do this, they are placed in the machine at a temperature between 121 and 132º C, for 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the weight of each one.
The work of the tattoo artist

Until now, all this is part not only of the work but also of the responsibility of the tattoo artist. And if any of the details that I indicate here are not met, do not hesitate to stop everything immediately; It is your health, your body and even your life that may be at stake. However, with all this in proper development and ready to start the tattoo, now everything is in the hands of the tattoo artist, who will only be able to prove whether he is an artist or not.
Each tattooist has its techniques, its forms and styles to puncture your skin to deposit the ink in the dermis and thus create art. The delineation of the design, the shading, the application of the color and the final touches of each design, only have to do with the way in which the tattoo artist carries out his work.

These aspects of the tattoo seemed very important to me and the whole process, from the sterilization of the needles until the last puncture, is really interesting, do not you think? Did you know all these details how to make a tattoo? Have you ever had any experience other than this when getting a tattoo?

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