What is a Tattoo?

“A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.”


“A permanent picture, design, or other marking made on the skin by pricking it and staining it with an indelible dye”

Origin of the word

The word tattoo, or tattow in the 18th century, is a loanword from the Polynesian word tatau , meaning “correct, workmanlike” . The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of tattoo as “In 18th c. tattaow , tattow . From Polynesian (Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, etc.) tatau . In Marquesan , tatu .” Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as pricking, painting, or staining. Sailors on the voyage later introduced both the word and reintroduced the concept of tattooing to Europe.

Types of Tattoos

1- Traumatic Tattoo : a traumatic tattoo occurs when a substance such as asphalt is rubbed into a wound as the result of some kind of accident or trauma. These are particularly difficult to remove as they tend to be spread across several layers of skin, and scarring or permanent discoloration is almost unavoidable depending on the location.

2- Amateur and Professional Tattoo : Amateur Tattoos usually placed by non-professionals. These tattoos are again easier to removal then work done a professional tattoo artist. The ink or pigment used in amateur tattooing is deposited more superficially and with less density. Therefore, it typically is removed in only a few treatments.

Professional Tattoos are an art form. They are accepted and encouraged in certain cultures and are very popular in others. As opposed to amateur, professional tattoos are characterized by utilizing better quality ink (pigment), depositing it deeper in the skin, using multiple colors and stacking up layers of pigment on top of each other for better color density and longevity of the tattoo. All of these factors make removal of the professionally created tattoos more challenging. However, using the latest generation of tattoo removal lasers we can removal all types of tattoos, even professional tattoos.

3- Cosmetic: When used as a form of cosmetics, tattooing includes permanent makeup and hiding or neutralizing skin discolorations. Permanent makeup is the use of tattoos to enhance eyebrows, lips (liner and/or lipstick), eyes (liner), and even moles, usually with natural colors, as the designs are intended to resemble makeup.

4- Functional: Functional tattoos are used primarily for a purpose other than aesthetics. One such use is to tattoo Alzheimer patients with their name, so they may be easily identified if they go missing.

5- Medical: Medical Tattoos are a tattoos created by a medical professional for medical purposes. Medical tattoos are commonly used in radiation therapy to define treatment areas. They are small, superficial and relatively easy to remove.

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