What makes a tattoo permanent?

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HAVE you ever really thought about the chemistry of tattoos? What exactly is in those inks, and how safe are they?

Tattoo application uses a mechanised needle to puncture the skin and inject ink into
the dermis or second layer of skin just below the epidermis. The process involves damaging
the skin, causes a tiny wound.

Your body responds to all wounds by sending macrophages to close the wound and swallow up any foreign invaders and dispose them in the blood stream.

In the case of tattoo ink, the pigment particles are too large for the macrophages to
destroy, so they get stuck in the dermis.

A tattoo will fade if your immune system ever succeeds in breaking up the pigment particles, yet that is not usually the case.

Tattoo inks are solutions comprised of a carrier and a colourant. The carrier is the fluid that is used to transport the colourant to the application location. It may contain glycerin,
water, isopropyl alcohol, and witch hazel.

Tattoo colourants are typically pigments intensely coloured compounds that can reflect light in the visible region of the light spectrum. Now make you wonder are there very real risks involved with inks and the tattoo process? Yes they do.

The most common risk is an infection. Other known adverse reactions are allergic hypersensitivity and auto-immune reactions, inflammation, and interferences with medical
diagnoses and treatment.