Today, we discuss an interesting topic: the body art known as the tattoo.
Tattoos are repeated programmatic skin piercings with epidermal pigment ingredients that result in text or an artistic image permanently applied to the skin.
You can find tattooing used in various contexts: religious, political, military, decorative, erotic, group (gang/tribal) identification, thematic provocation, racist branding, post-mortem eulogical memorials, and profoundly personal forms abound, including "body vows".
There are a multiplicity of reasons given by people for getting a tattoo, including being wasted drunk, and tattooing tends to imply being talkative, gregarious, eager to share stories and offer opinions, in short: to be entertaining and interesting.
Rarely will it be said of a tattoo "It means nothing" or "I don't know what that's supposed to be", except with jilted lovers occasionally. But if a tattoo sours on the wearer of it, it can be removed. Painfully and with mixed results, but it is attempted by some.
Generally, a person wants a tattoo because they have a strong message, group identity, individualization, or ideology they want to promote, a communication that is personally felt and transmitted by their very person, the self as billboard, blog, or bistro.
Adding to what nature gave them, enhancing, illustrating, graphically embellishing the surface of the only body they'll ever own.
To wear body art, one must first have an artistic tendency, an appreciation of color, design, and symbol.
Tattoos seem to impart a sense of pride, identity, and self-definition to the bearer thereof. Those opposed to tattoos on principle often call tattooed people "walking comic books" or "epidermal art galleries", which does not sink in nor offend happy tattooed persons.
For rebellion, defiance, and dissent have been historically powerful purposes for the tattoo. In some cultures, tattoos are forbidden, or strictly regulated for purposes of the local cult, which enforces the feeling of elitism, non-conformity, and secrecy.
Tattooing, like everything else, has some downsides.
Hygiene at the tat shop is important. Safety of instruments and ink is key. Healing the wound, I mean tattoo, is vital and bandaged aftercare is a top priority.
Addiction to the ink needle is a possibility. Some people feel a need to entirely cover their body with skin art.
In certain cases this may be aesthetic totalism, but in other cases, obsessive-compulsive disorder may be to blame. As some are not happy unless they're constantly garbed in new, up to the minute fashionista clothing, some are not satisfied unless they've got a new tattoo to show to everybody and discuss its origins and objectives.
You may someday not wish to be so readily identified (hopefully not a criminal reason for this!). Or you might not want to blatantly broadcast a incendiary sign in a particular situation or amongst a certain set of people.
Even worse, your fundamental belief system may change from the one symbolized on your arm.
One day you realize that the cross, dragon, star of David, swastika, hammer and sickle, lotus, dove, scorpion, gang sign, A in a Circle, AC/DC, etc. doesn't represent you anymore, and may be the exact opposite of what you now believe in or like. You've become a walking advertisement for the opposition, or at best, an irrelevance.
So most of us are familiar with romantic, tribal, Navy, biker, spiritual, industrial, Mom, life slogan, esoteric symbol, rock band, and abstract tattoo. We see them every day, every where we go.
But have you ever considered the tattoo as it's used for medical patients?
WebMD lists how the medical tattoo is used by doctors and hospitals.
* Patients with medical conditions or chronic diseases, such as diabetes, may use a tattoo to alert health care workers in case of an emergency.
* Doctors often use tattoos to mark specific sites for repeated application of radiation therapy.
* After breast reconstruction surgery, a tattoo may be used to simulate the nipple. This use may also be considered a cosmetic tattoo.
In the same article, WebMD gives advice on evaluating the hygiene and professional standards of a tattoo parlor.
TAT SAFETY TIPS
If you're going to get a tattoo, remember that getting a permanent tattoo is an invasive procedure that requires breaking the skin and coming into contact with blood and body fluids.
Make sure the studio is as clean as a doctor's office. (Hint: Check the bathroom. If it's dirty, get out of there.)
Check the artist's business license to make sure it's up to date. And check the tattoo area: Look for a separate area for tattooing with a clean, hard surface and no random items contaminating the work area.
- Don't drink alcohol or take drugs (especially aspirin) the night before or while getting a tattoo.
- Don't get a tattoo if you're sick.
- Make sure all needles are removed from sterile single-use package before use.
- Make sure the studio has sterilization equipment to clean instruments after each use.
- Make sure the artist washes his hands and puts on sterile gloves; many tattooists are required to take training in the prevention of bloodborne illnesses.
- Make sure the work area is clean and clear of nonsterile objects (water bottles, purses, etc.)
- Get a list of the specific pigments used, including color, manufacturer's name, and lot number.
- After getting a tattoo, carefully follow healing instructions -- including use of antibiotic ointment.
The most serious risks are life-threatening infections, such as HIV or hepatitis C, from unclean needles. Other infections, such as a staph infection called impetigo or MRSA (shown here), or deep-skin infection cellulitis may develop.
It is important to note the FDA has not traditionally regulated either tattoo inks or tattoo removal, but is currently studying the issue.
Notice how the FDA is, as usual, asleep at the switch and at the bottom of their game. Tattooing is similar to dentistry, in fact it's basically a medical procedure, much like cosmetic surgery, botox, breast implants, etc.
Since the tattoo has been associated with outcasts, rebels, sailors, pirates, bikers, criminals, mystics, rock bands, welders, miners, and other rowdy folk, society is still marginalizing it, postponing public safety "until our studies are finally completed and analyzed".
Tattoos have been around a long time. Why is the FDA still looking into ensuring the safety of inks and practitioners? It's ridiculous bureaucratic ineptness at your (highly paid) service once again.
How does that make you feel? Rebellious? Is it time to get a tattoo, if only to protest the marginalization and prejudice against tattoos? Go for it.
Korn member rock band tattoos.
Thai tattoo parlor.
Russian mafia tattoo.
Russian mafia tattoo.
Computer geek tattoo.