The new age phenomenon
You have undoubtedly seen them. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some of them are multicolored while others are only subtle. Some are there for all to see whereas others are private and discreet. Some of them have deep meaning whereas others are just for entertainment. Some are cherished for life and others inspire regret and disappointment. You guessed it - I am talking about tattoos!
The facts are clear - in the last several decades, the popularity of tattoos exploded as they became the tolerated norm rather than a sign of mal-adjustment. It is not uncommon for a person to have more than one tattoo and some have more body covered with tattoos then not. In the past, tattoos were seen as a vanguard but now they are much more accepted and part of normal variation of human behavior and skin ornamentation. Cosmetic enhahcement is not just Botox, Juvederm, Collagen, Radiesse, Selphyl, SoftLift, Hair Removal, Liposuction, NeckTite or BodyTite – tattoos are there for all to see, wonder and admire.
What is tattoo?
Tattooing is an ancient art and only very recently has become a very popular cultural phenomenon. A tattoo represents a multitude of tiny ink particles that have been deposited into the dermis. The most common ink is black but, more recently, more and more colors have become available and gained popularity. Although some ink is removed by the bodies defenses and immune system, some remains producing visible effects. Over time, our immune system tries to remove foreign materials such as tattoo ink making older tattoos lighter and less defined.
Tattoos can be intentional or unintentional.
Unintentional tattoo can happen because of an injury such as knee scraping during a bike accident or "road rash" during running, or a car or motorbike accident. In these cases, dirt particles are imbedded in the skin and when the skin heals over, the remaining particles produce skin staining. Furthermore, some tattoos can occur when accidental injury is caused by a pen or pencil.
Intentional tattoo can be produced by amateurs or by professional tattoo artists. These two groups differ greatly in the way that the tattoo is produced. In particular, professionally produced tattoos are generally more uniform with the texture as well as the depth of ink particles whereas amateur tattoos have ink that is irregularly placed in the skin.
Why do we tattoo our bodies?
The reasons for having tattoos are so varied that it is impossible to discuss them all. At the same time, some of the reasons for having tattoos are:
Status symbols - In historical times, persons of increased status and position adored their bodies with symbolic emblems. These indicated their special and unique stature, status and power.
Religious reasons - Some people feel very passionate about their religion and wish to demonstrate this by having appropriate tattoos with deep meaning or religious texts.
Punishment - In some instances and cultures, prisoners are tattooed to indicate their guilt. Such tattoos are meant to further punish the bearer in the eyes of others. The burden of the tattoo is for all to see and clearly shows the guilt of the person.
Symbol of bravery or courage - These tattoos are sported by many different groups including soldiers, firefighters and others where unique bravery is required. These tattoos are meant to bond those who have gone through challenging times and experiences together.
Identification with unique group - This meaning of tattoo relates to quick recognition of the bearer's affiliation with specific group of people such as music band, sport team, military unit or criminal gang.
Sentimental reasons - This is one of the most common reasons for having a tattoo as the tattoo can have a very lasting personal meaning. It does not have to be chic but rather it has to represent a deep personal memory. One of the more common reasons for a sentimental tattoo relates to loved ones such as children, spouses or other deceased persons.
This form of tattooing is very popular and it refers to tattoos that achieve similar results to the skilled use of makeup. Instead of using makeup to enhance the lip contours or eyelid outline, tattoos in these locations can result in a great look 24-hours a day. One can shower, swim, sweat and exercise without worrying about any makeup misfortunes. One can be confident that the tattoo will appear the same in the evening as it did in the morning. At the same time, it is important to make sure that the tattoo artist is qualified to do a great job as crooked eyebrows, lip outline or eye line are also very difficult to correct. Furthermore, it is very important to understand that tattoos lose their sharp edges over time necessitating corrections. Without such corrections, the tattoo can look less than desirable. It is for this reason, that I feel that a person has to be 100% sure that they want to have a tattoo performed by a tattoo artist of outmost excellence. I have seen great cosmetic tattoos and I have also seen horrible cosmetic tattoos.
What can I say - buyer beware!
This form of tattooing occurs when tattoo reconstruction is providing illusion of normality in medically indicated cases. Probably, one of the most common circumstances when such treatment is performed is with breast nipple re-creation after breast cancer surgery. In these cases, some part of the breast is removed to treat cancer. Subsequent breast reconstruction can achieve great contours but without appropriate nipple area coloration. In such cases, an areola (the pigmented region around the nipple) can be tattooed re-creating the region based on the other remaining breast. Patient satisfaction following such reconstruction is frequently very high making this procedure very rewarding for both patient and the tattoo artist alike. Some of the Edmonton Tattoo artists are truly spectacular and one of the best ways to getting a great tattoo is to find the tattoo artist that treats tattooing as an art form with its due care and precision.
Tattooing, an ancient art, has gained so much popularity that it is considered mainstream rather then being practiced on the fringes of society. There are many reasons why people have their bodies tattooed. Although most people like and cherish their tattoos, some seek to have them removed. In the next article, we will look at the various methods of tattoo removal as well as examine their benefits and risks. Until now, please make double sure that your are 100% positive when getting a tattoo.
The information provided on this website is for Canadian patients only and is meant for information and education that is based on experience and research.