iD magazine - - Nature -

Whether it’s by ma­chine in a tattoo par­lor or by hand, as is tra­di­tional among aboriginal peo­ples, a sharp ob­ject ac­com­pa­nied by some color is re­peat­edly rammed into the skin. Mod­ern ma­chines use mul­ti­ple par­al­lel nee­dles to quickly pen­e­trate the skin and con­vey the ink. De­pend­ing on the equip­ment the tattoo artist uses, this can form a fine line, a wide bar, or shad­ing. Color “clings” to the nee­dles and gets de­posited in the skin. The choice of color is cru­cial be­cause there are no sci­en­tific com­pat­i­bil­ity stud­ies, only ex­pe­ri­ences. And, de­spite as­sur­ances of steril­ity, stud­ies show ev­ery tenth ink tank teems with bac­te­ria.

IN­SER­TION AN­GLE The nee­dle, which is housed in a steel cas­ing, must pen­e­trate the skin at ap­prox­i­mately a 45-de­gree an­gle. This way the tattoo artist can still see what he or she is work­ing on and so can pre­cisely place the pig­ment. DEPTH EF­FECT The thrus

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