By: Cheryllin Low
Tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, into the dermis layer of the skin. Once the ink is deposited into the second layer of skin known as the dermis, the wound scabs over and the skin heals to expose a design under the new layer.
Tattoos fall into three broad categories: purely decorative (with no specific meaning); symbolic (with a specific meaning pertinent to the wearer); and pictorial (a depiction of a specific person or item). In addition, tattoos can also be used for identification purposes.
History of Tattoos
Tattooing has long been a way of ceremonial rites and passages in most cultures throughout the world. From Africa’s scarification process to the Celt’s inking griffins and monsters that were later found on their corpses, tattoos are worn to mark special events, to pay honor or respect, and even to unite body to body with ash remains that are later inked under the skin.
Tattoos tell a story and can be written in any language. From symbols depicting cultural images to words and font designs, if you dare to dream it, a tattooist can likely create it and tell your tale on a living canvas.
To celebrate life, choices, and to pay tribute and memorial to life’s purpose and companions, tattoos have the artful ability to speak volumes. Many people choose to remember those they love and honor traditions and life events with a tattoo. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Stigmatization against Tattoos
Throughout society, body piercings and tattoos are often seen as dirty, irresponsible, disgusting and trashy. Over time, tattoos have had various meanings. They have been used for religious ceremonies, world, by individuals for self expression and even military officials to commemorate their dedication to their country.
Tattoo and piercings have become increasingly popular as the years gone by, as more youths and young adults are trying to find themselves. They tend to give them a sense of individuality and often symbolize something important in their lives. Tattooing and piercing give people the freedom to express themselves creatively using body art.
In the past, tattoos and piercings were seen as indications of violence and illegal practices. Body art has become a mode of communication to those around us and it’s not something that indicates anything other than a creative mind.
Tattoos have transformed into an artistic expression and a cultural rebellion against standard, nuclear beauty norms.
As a society, transforming the professional workforce to accept these new, unfamiliar norms is not an easy task. Having a tattoo does not indicate their work ethic, skills or morals. Just because certain individuals choose to express themselves through their body image doesn’t make them one thing or another. People who put ink in their skin, or get piercings are every bit as unique as anyone else.
Judging someone for having tattoos, can be just as baseless as judging them for their body shape, what they wear, skin color or even choice of nail polish, which often leads to many undeserved assumptions. It is shallow consider of a person’s identity and only see them skin deep. Tattoos are a form of self- expression that shouldn’t serve as a reason to discriminate against someone.
Many people who wants a tattoo or piercing are worried about future employment opportunities that either won’t allow them to have the body art or that interviewers will reveal them negatively if they are shown and exposed. Now that the world is changing to be more liberal and artistic and creative than ever before, employers have become more open-minded to the idea of pierced and tattooed employees, but it’s still extremely stigmatized within the workforce.
Symbolization of Tattoo
Tattoo is a living legacy, which requires a lot of time and money commitment. I love to express myself through body modification and be the “outstanding” one among the rest of the people.
I had my very first body modification when i was 15years of age. I feel the most comfortable in my body art. I’m an Alternative Tattoo Model / Influencer. Being bullied at a young age, i was scarred for life. Having tattoo changed my life. People will tend to think twice before ever approaching up to me (mainly because i look fierce, with combination of my tattoos makes me look very intimidating)
My body art mainly comprises of Dark and Egyptian theme. Being born and raised in an Asian family with traditional parents, having body modifications is definitely out of the topic to begin with. As time goes by, they learn to adapt, understand and live with it. Tattoos are symbolic to me, which not only serves as a memorial of my life journey, but also portrays a unique aesthetic of me.
My Inspiration to get Tattoo
My inspiration to get a tattoo is from my idol – Kat Von D (Katherine Von Drachenberg). She is an American tattoo artist, model, entrepreneur, and television personality who is best known for her work as a tattoo artist on the TLC reality television show LA Ink. She is also one of the very firstfemale tattooers who is covered heavily in ink and still be able to rock the style.
I was mesmerized by her aesthetic and so i was inspired to get tattoos since at a very young age.
What makes me so outstanding from the rest of the people is that I’m the only woman that wears dark art and egyptian theme tattoo on my body, combined with my piercings, this creates a very distinctive and unique look that nobody has. I love dark, gothic and unearthly beings which is why my tattoos are more of the supernatural and undead. Because of my tattoos and the dark gothic aesthetic i portray, even my clothes, my makeup is all dark / gothic. Hence was given the nickname: Queen of Darkness / Angel of Death.
How Much Do They Cost?
Tattoos cost money. Just as you expect to pay a professional for beauty, hair and other professional services, tattoo artists set their own rates and expect to be paid fairly based upon the details of the design, and their professional skill level. The better and more well known the artist is, the more you will likely pay. Rest assured; all artists will discuss their rates prior to beginning work, or at least they should. If not, get out of there.
Things to Consider
Before you get a tattoo, proper time and consideration should be put into your piece to better avoid the chance of regret. Hasty tattoos are at the top of the list for tattoo removal, so don’t be so quick to jump the gun. Spend some time going over tattoo art styles to narrow down your personal style. With study, you will find that you are drawn to different styles as you begin to pay attention to body art.
Tattoo artist selection is also imperative in the tattoo process. Take your time and do some research on top tattoo artists. Watch a few of the latest tattoo reality shows to learn basic styles and techniques, and then develop an eye for the art.
Take your artistic eye to a more personal level by studying the works of modern artists and painters. Explore literature and mythology and begin to relate sentimental things that may apply to you into design interpretations. This is the fun part but, by all means, it can be a lifelong process.
What Are the Risks?
If you decide to get a tattoo, chances are everything will go as planned. Some people have allergic reactions to the tattoo ink, causing itching, bumps, and rashes that might happen days, weeks, or longer after the tattoo was placed. Tattoos might make eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions flare up.
Serious problems can happen if you try to do a tattoo yourself, have a friend do it for you, or have it done in any unclean environment. Skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can happen if the skin is not cleaned properly, or the ink or needles are contaminated. Sharing needles, ink, or other equipment without sterilization increases your chance of getting HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
Does It Hurt to Get a Tattoo?
Getting a tattoo hurts, but the level of pain can vary. It can feel like scratching, burning, stinging, or tingling. Some people feel sharp pains while others may describe the feeling as dull. The amount of pain you feel will depend on your pain threshold and other factors, including where on your body you’re getting the tattoo, the size and number of needles being used, and the artist’s style (some are quick and some work more slowly, some are more gentle than others).
Insist on safety precautions
To make sure your tattoo will be applied safely, ask these questions:
- Who does the tattooing? Go to a reputable tattooing studio that employs only properly trained employees. Keep in mind that regulation requirements and licensing standards vary from state to state. Check with your city, county or state health department for information on local licensing and regulations.
- Does the tattoo artist wear gloves? Make sure the tattoo artist washes his or her hands and wears a fresh pair of protective gloves for each procedure.
- Does the tattoo artist use proper equipment? Make sure the tattoo artist removes the needle and tubes from sealed packages before your procedure begins. Any pigments, trays or containers should be unused as well.
- Does the tattoo artist sterilize nondisposable equipment? Make sure the tattoo artist uses a heat sterilization machine (autoclave) to sterilize all nondisposable equipment between customers. Instruments and supplies that can’t be sterilized with an autoclave — including drawer handles, tables and sinks — should be disinfected with a commercial disinfectant or bleach solution after each use.
Taking Care of a Tattoo
Follow all of the instructions the studio gives you for caring for your tattoo. To make sure it heals properly:
Keep a bandage on the area for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the bandage and keep the tattoo open to air.
Avoid touching the tattooed area and don’t pick at any scabs that may form.
Avoid clothes that might stick to the healing tattoo.
Wash the tattoo with soap and warm water (don’t use alcohol or peroxide). Use a soft towel to dry the tattoo, just pat it dry and be sure not to rub it.
Apply antibiotic ointment, thick skin cream, or vitamin E oil to the tattoo 2 to 3 times a day for a week. Don’t use petroleum jelly.
Do not let the tattoo soak in water. Showers are fine but avoid swimming and baths until the tattoo is fully healed.
Keep your tattoo out of the sun until it’s fully healed.
Tattoos usually take about 2 weeks to heal. Even after it’s fully healed, wear a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. This not only protects your skin, but can help keep the tattoo from fading.
A lot of people love their tattoos and keep them forever. But others decide a couple of years down the road that they really don’t want that snake on their arm or their ex’s name on their chest. What then?
Laser treatment is the best option for tattoo removal. The laser sends short zaps of light through the top layers of your skin, with the laser’s energy aimed at specific pigments in the tattoo. Those zapped pigments are then removed by the scavenger cells of your body’s immune system.
Other less common ways to remove tattoos include dermabrasion, chemical peels, and surgery.
Although it’s called tattoo removal, completely removing a tattoo can be difficult depending on your skin type, how big and complex the design is, and the types and colors of inks that were used. It can take several treatments over months, and results are not guaranteed. Treatment can cause darkening or lightening of the skin, and scarring. It also can be expensive. It’s best to consult with a dermatologist who specializes in tattoo removal to get your questions answered.
Each and every individual has their own choice to make, to each of their own. I wouldn’t recommend anyone or everyone to get inked unless you have the time, money, love and dedication. Be proud of what you wear on your skin. Do what you love & love what you do.
Live your Life to the fullest and never have any regrets.
Contact Cheryllin through email or instagram
Facebook / Linked In: Cheryllin Low
Facebook Page: Cheryllin Chime
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