Thinking of getting a tattoo but worried you might change your mind about something so permanent? Or perhaps you’re the other way, and want to ensure your precious new body ink is with you for life?
By understanding the tattoo process and how permanent, semi permanent and hand poked tattoos are created, it might help you make your decision, as well as keep your tattoo as fresh as the day it was inked.
The tattooing process explained
The skin is made up of many layers with three key sections: epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis. The first two are important to understand the tattooing process.
The needles of a tattoo gun inject the skin at thousands of pricks per minute, depositing ink to the second layer, the dermis. If it only went as far as the top epidermis, your beautiful new body art wouldn’t stay put. For the same reason, laser tattoo removal works by breaking down the ink into fragments, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream, metabolised and naturally passed out of the body.
Are tattoos permanent?
Yes, tattoos are permanent, although of course they can fade with time. The electric needle penetrates the skin by about 1-2mm and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture. The ink then goes past the protective epidermis layer to create the colours and lines you see on your finished tattoo. There is also such thing as the ink going too deep, which can create a blowout, shadowed effect.
Are stick and poke tattoos permanent?
Hand poked tats are just as permanent as regular tattoos. They still puncture and penetrate like regular tattoos, just without the electricity. The ink is deposited to the second layer of the skin in the same way and, if not taken care of, can fade just the same too.
"Hand poke tattoos are permanent just like machine tattoos, the ink is deposited in to the same layer of skin and the same needles are used as with machine tattoos so the permanence is the same!" explains Ellie of @sharp_pokes in Dorset.
"Aftercare is so important to making sure your tattoo lasts"
"I think hand poke tattoos can get a bad rep in terms of fading faster as lots of people will tattoo themselves or friends at home when they don’t know what they’re doing and won’t go deep enough so the ink will just fall out of the skin. But if you get a professional hand poked tattoo it will last you forever, but as with all tattoos the aftercare is so important to making sure your tattoo lasts and heals perfectly."
What about semi permanent tattoos?
As the name might suggest, semi permanent tattoos don’t have the same longevity. The most common types of semi permanent ink are micro bladed eyebrows, which tend to fade over 6-12 months, and temporary sticker tattoos which are made with materials designed to last 1-2 weeks.
How to help your tattoos last forever
Among the well-reviewed tattoo skincare collections from Stories & Ink, we recommend the non-greasy tattoo Aftercare Cream, which features everything you need to heal and calm your tattoo, whilst allowing it to breathe. If you’re looking to revitalise an existing tattoo, the Vibrancy Serum might be for you. What’s more, they’re both 100% natural, dermatologically-tested, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, vegan-friendly and suitable for all skin types.