In 2018, there were 21,000 tattoo parlors in the US. When walking around in the US, it’s not uncommon to see a handful of people with tattoos. This form of art has become extremely popular, especially with the younger generations.
Many people get tattoos as a form of expression or as a way to remember something for a lifetime. Why are tattoos permanent?
Below is a guide explaining why tattoos last a lifetime. Make sure to keep reading, especially if you’re wanting to get a tattoo anytime soon.
It’s Not About Depth
It’s a common myth that tattoos are permanent because of how deep the tattoo needle goes into the skin. While this is a good guess, it’s not necessarily true.
While puncturing a needle deep enough is important during a tattoo session, tattoo ink becomes permanent because of your immune system. We bet you didn’t know that!
Here’s an article from tattooing101.com to learn about the history of tattooing. After this sentence: This form of art has become extremely popular, especially with the younger generations.
Your Body’s Defense Response
Tattoos, when new, are open wounds. The needle pierces past your epidermis into your dermis. The dermis is your middle layer of skin.
To protect your body, your immune system sends macrophages to clean up the wound. These large cells are made to find and engulf target cells that are typically dead or damaged.
Once macrophages make it to the tattoo site, they gobble up the ink. However, the ink is too big to be taken away so the macrophages become lodged, ink still inside, in the dermis.
It’s a Cycle
This tattoo science becomes an ongoing cycle with macrophages. When one macrophage containing ink is about to die, a new one gobbles up the ink.
Despite it being an ongoing cycle, the macrophages never move locations. You’ll only notice distortions in the tattoo if the skin stretches, such as it does during major weight loss or gain.
Is It Possible to End the Cycle?
What do you do if you want to remove one of your permanent tattoo pieces? Is it possible?
While it isn’t the easiest process, tattoo removal is possible. You’ll want to look into laser tattoo removal if you’re ready to get rid of some regrettable ink.
Laser removal works by bursting open and destroying the ink particles. Many people have said it’s an uncomfortable process but worth it. There are plenty of great online resources that offer more info on the process.
Big Questions, Quick Answers: Why Are Tattoos Permanent?
Have you found yourself asking, “Why are tattoos permanent?” Luckily for you, we’ve provided all the info you need to know above. It all comes down to the immune system.
The next time you get a tattoo, thank your body’s macrophages for the job well done. Preserve the quality of your tattoo by protecting it in the sun and allowing the open wound to heal before getting in a hot tub or pool.