Tattooing has changed and grown rigorously over the past couple centuries. The practice of tattooing is an ancient one dating back to about 4000 B.C. and is worldwide in its distribution (Roenigk 179). Tattooing has grown to now be considered a mainstream activity and is no longer confined to prison populations, sailors, and gang members. Tattooed bodies now include adolescents, career women, and college students (Millner 425). Throughout all these years, tattoos have been used as protection against danger, as love charms, to restore youth, to ensure good health and long life, to accomplish fertility, to bring about the death to an enemy, to cure an illness, to insure a happy afterlife, and even to acquire supernatural power.
Although countless studies have been implemented to try to reign in just how much tattooing is widespread, Atkinson sums it all up when he says, For the most part, though, we still know very little about contemporary tattoo enthusiasts’ fascination with this body project, cultural sensibilities about the practice, or collectively shared understandings of tattoo art.
(4). Tattoos, being complex visuals of body art, have a different meaning to each individual that is deeper than what it appears, whether it be a symbol of survival, a memorial, a memory, or a result of a drunken stupor; however, not all permanent markings are ones that should be shared and forever imprinted on your body.The operational definition of tattooing is the insertion of ink or some other pigment through the outer covering of the body, the epidermis, into the dermis, the second layer of skin (Schlibkrout 4). To do this, professional tattoo artists use a sharp utensil, such as a special electric needle or battery of needles, to inject tattoo pigments into the dermis at a depth of one to two millimeters and at a rate of fifty to three thousand times per minute. If getting a tattoo by an amateur, with which you may or may not be aware, they often use objects such as pens, pencils, knives, needles, or straight pins and inject substances such as India ink, carbon, charcoal, or mascara (Millner 426). To achieve various colors you must use certain pigments or even a mixture of pigments. Some pigments would include: Carbon, Cinnabar, Cadmium selenide, Sienna, Cobaltous aluminate, Chromic oxide, Chromium sesquioxide, Cadmium sulfide, Ochre, Iron oxide, Manganese, and Titanium dioxide. Although puncturing the skin is usually painful, preoperative sedation by heavy alcohol intake helps to mask the pain (Roenigk 180). Fading occurs in some tattoos, but other designs may persist for life. Bacteria living on needles, and other instruments used for tattooing, and the risk of infections can lead to multiple health risks. Some reported medical complications of body art include bleeding, tissue trauma and scarring, bacterial infections, tetanus, viral infections, and in some cases even oral and dental injuries (Mayers 29). Multiple health risks associated with non-sterile tattooing practices include the blood-borne infectious diseases of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis D, and hepatitis C (Millner 426). Syphilis is a widely known infection that can be acquired directly from the tattooing needle. Primary syphilis may appear in a tattoo in the form of a chancre, a painless ulceration most commonly formed during the primary stage of syphilis, due to direct transmission of the organisms from an open lesion in an infect tattoo artist (Roenigk 180). Pyogenic infection is another possibility when using unsanitary technics which can cause various types of pyoderma, ranging from mild erythema to sepsis and gangrene leading to amputation. The most frequent complications of tattoos are the development of allergic hypersensitivity reactions to the chemicals used to produce the various colors in the tattoo (Roenigk 181). At the time, a person’s tattoo of choice may have been a brilliant idea; however, feelings change and sometimes people want to rid themselves of something so permanent. Tattooed individuals seek to remove their tattoos for multiple reasons, some personal and others professional. Improvement of self-image, correction of immature judgement and/or an amateurish tattoo, getting out of a gang, and moving on from a failed relationship are all but some of the reasons (Millner 428). Early methods used to remove tattoos included mechanical, chemical, or surgical procedures (Roenigk 183). Most tattoos can be removed to some extent with standard laser treatment, while others are removed by others means, such as dermabrasion, salabrasion, chemical cauterants, surgical resection, excision, infrare coagulation, grafting, and cryosurgery. Double tattoos, tattoos overlaid with second tattoos, are the most difficult to remove and appear to be associated with an increased risk of scarring. (Millner 428).Between February and May 2001, a questionnaire was offered on a voluntary and anonymous basis to undergraduate students, designed to be brief, nonintrusive, and easy to complete in order to ensure a high response rate. A total of four hundred and fifty-four out of four hundred and eighty-one students completed the survey. Respondants were made up of two hundred and eighteen male students and two hundred and thirty-six female students. Per results, forty-seven of two hundred and eighteen males and fifty-nine of two hundred and twenty-eight females were tattooed. Twenty-nine male students had hand/arm tattoos with two removed by the time of the survey, sixteen males had back tattoos, twelve have shoulder tattoos, and five ha chest tattoos, none of these had been removed. Thirty-four female students had back tattoos with one removed, twelve had foot/leg tattoos with none removed, and ten had tattoos on the abdomen with none removed. Among one hundred and six tattoos subjects, ther was a total of one hundred and forty-nine tattoos. Male athletes were significantly more likely to be tattooed than nonathletes. On the other hand. among female athletes, there was no significant difference by sport in the prevalence of tattooing. There were no reported complications of tattooing by any of the one hundred and six subjects. There was also no significant relationships between body art and height, weight, or body mass index by sex or athletic participation. In more recent times, images have become increasingly eclectic and the practice has become more mainstream (Laumann 1). There is absolutely no culture in which people do not, or did not paint, pierce, tattoo, reshape, or simply adorn their bodies. Body art has become an increasing phenomenon among adolescents and young adults, in some instances, their parents, in recent year (Mayers 29). Tattoos have not only increased tremendously in numbers but have also covered a broader range of social classes (Wohlrab 87). Based on studies to try to figure out why people obtain body modifications, researchers have subsumed a few broad-minded reasons to classify motivations. These reasons for body modification can include the want to embellish the body, achieving a fashion accessory and obtaining a piece of art. Others wish to create and maintain self-identity, being special and distinctive from others. Not only is tattooing a form of art, but is also a gateway to addiction. Some people state an impulsive rather than a long decision making process as a reason for acquiring a body modification (Wohlrab 91). Tattoos posses an addictive character, which might approximately be due to the release of endorphins, associated with the painful penetration of the body. Although mostly used for a visual symbol for body art, tattoos can mean much more or much less than that, and in some instances can be a youthful regret in decision making or an extreme risk to ones personal well-being.