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How does a tattoo work?- The science behind a tattoo

by Furqan Ashiq 14 days ago in body

Tattooing has been around for thousands of years

Tattooing has been around for thousands of years, some evidence showing it being a practice from around 3370 years before Christ. We all know that to get a tattoo, a fine needle has to be punctured into the skin with ink, but what’s the science behind this? How are they permanent? Your skin sheds, so the automatic assumption is that the tattoo would eventually fade and move to the top layer of skin until it eventually comes off completely.

The hidden secret is within the particles in the tattoos ink pigment. Read on to find out how a tattoo works.

If you’re looking to get a tattoo, why not try Tattoo Numbing Cream for a pain-free experience?

How does a tattoo work? - What happens within the skin?

During a tattoo session, a needle gets punctured into the skin. Before puncturing the skin, ink is applied to the end of the needle ready to be pushed into the skin. When the ink is inside the skin, the ink cannot escape anywhere, leaving it secured into the skin for years.

The principle is simple, but the science behind it is more interesting than you might think.

The particles in the tattoo ink are of a particular size, which is the reasoning behind why the tattoo stays in the skin for so long. When the ink gets injected into the dermis layer or second layer of the skin via the needle, the body responds with white blood cells. These white blood cells go to the area of injection as they see a foreign object enter the body and the mission is to get the foreign object out of the body. They do this by absorbing the ink and disposing of it in the bloodstream. However, when the white blood cells attempt to absorb the ink (foreign object), they are unable to do so because the tattoo ink particles are simply too big. This means that the tattoo ink will sit in the skin for the years to come.

How does a tattoo work? - The process


Before the act of tattooing occurs, a 15-minute process is necessary to make sure that the area and the equipment are clean. This is because of the fact that tattooing is essentially making small incisions in the skin and if the right process in sterilization does not occur, it will be more likely that the tattoo will become infected.

Best efforts to ensure that the risks of becoming infected are minimized need to be put into place every single time. To make sure that this happens, the majority of tattoo materials including ink, ink cups, gloves and needles are single-use items that are pre-sterilised. The other equipment is sterilised before use, like the needle bar and tube. The sterilisation method that takes place happens in an autoclave which is a machine that heats up the equipment to get rid of any bacteria that may be present.


Before working on a client, the tattoo artists will wash and inspect their hands for cuts and abrasions and then complete a series of tasks to make sure the area is clean like:

  • Using an EPA approved viricide to disinfect the area.
  • Placing plastic bags on spray bottles to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Explain the sterilisation process to the client.
  • Remove the equipment while the client is watching so that they feel safe.
  • Shave and disinfect the area that will be tattooed.
  • Some artists will offer you Tattoo Numbing Cream to ease the pain.
  • Let the client know the process of how a tattoo works.

Getting tattooed

The tattoo artist will then place a stencil on the client’s skin so that the art is accurate in size and isn’t distorted. This is the tricky part for the artist, as they have to maintain beautiful artwork while taking into consideration how deeply to pierce the skin. Piercing too deep can cause excessive bleeding while puncturing the skin too shallow can cause the lines to be uneven. The process will start off with the outlining and blackwork, then shading, then colour and touch ups.

After the tattoo

The artist will then ask you if you are happy and bandage up the tattoo with a clingfilm like substance. They will then explain to you how to take care of your tattoo, some will even give you a leaflet with how to care for your tattoo. This will include using specific tattoo soap and moisturizer.

Thank you for reading this blog ‘How does a tattoo work’. If you are getting a tattoo and want to experience the tattoo pain-free, take a look at Tattoo Numbing Cream today.


Furqan Ashiq

I am an SEO specialist and committed professional who has the ability to run remarkably successful digital marketing campaigns in the most competitive sectors, using a unique blend of technical and creative expertise.

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