Tattoos: Types, Health Hazards, Precautions, and more…


Introduction To The World Of Tattoos

Tattoo is a term that needs no further explanation, everyone knows what it means. The practice of tattooing the skin is going on for thousands of years now. Some support it, others think it’s unnatural but the moral of the story is love it, hate it, you can’t ignore it. Basically, it depends from individual to individual as it is a personal choice like any other body modification that you see today. But don’t be under this misconception that it is only popular with youngster – it is not. Men, women, kids and that include celebrities too, are fascinated by the art and indulge in it. You even see tattoo sleeves that are not actually the real tattoos but artificial ones that you can wear on your arm.

Back To The Past: The Culture of Tattoo Designing

Briefly, tattoos are made by insetting ink into skin’s layer to change the skin pigment. It could be for decorative purposes or cosmetic reasons or even for identification depending on the nature and style. Whatever the reason may be, one thing is for certain that the practice is old. The name ‘tattoo’ comes from Polynesian word ‘tatau’ which was introduced to the English language as a loan word in the 18th century; though the art is a lot older than that. The history of tattoo is an extensive chapter as it is believed that the art has existed since the Neolithic times, centuries before any of us were born. European tribes, pre-Christian Germanics and Celtic profusely adapted the tattooing practices and every culture had their own way of tattooing the skin ranging from hand picking skin in order to inset dyes to rubbing wounds with ashes. The Western World got introduced to the art because of Polynesia after ‘tatau’ was discovered. European sailors picked it up from Polynesia and when they returned home with tattoos inscribed, it eventually got spread to North America and Europe. There are some very interesting stories about tattoos, tattoo ideas and designs if you want to dig up some more.

Image Source: Pak Fashion 

Types of Tattoos

So now you know how the term and the art came into being, let’s move on to the types of tattoos. Ask anyone and he’d tell you how difficult it is to categorize tattooing because the art is growing ever so fast. All the tattoo artists perhaps have their own distinctions based on the tattoo ideas and designs. American Academy of Dermatology has its own. It has characterized tattoos in 5 types – traumatic, professional, amateur, cosmetic and medical.


As the name suggests, these are not the tattoos that one gets deliberately, nor can you choose the tattoo design. The discoloration of the skin when a substance is rubbed into the wounds and causes permanent scars which makes them hard to remove as they tend to spread in different skin layers. Gunpowder, asphalt or coal dust usually causes this kind of discoloration while other times stabbing pen or pencil leaves a mark under the skin too.


Professional tattoo is an expert in every sense of the word. When a tattoo artist designs and makes this tattoo, he does it with an intent to make it last long. For that reason, just the right amount of ink is used and penetrated in the skin deeply. These tattoos are mostly colorful and hard to remove for the tattoo artist puts in a lot of effort to increase the years.


You will recognize an amateur tattoo when you see one. It is black, light and do not go very deep inside the skin, just enough to make it visible. Obviously, these are easier to remove and could be made using a needle or tattoo gun. The ink used could be organic, pen ink or simply charcoal ink. Any amateur can try his hand and become a tattoo artist but his work would be considered amateurish until he has the right experience and ideal equipment to carry out the task.


Cosmetic Surgery isn’t new to the world and neither is permanent makeup. Mostly, it is done to neutralize the skin discoloration or hide it. The eyebrows, lips and eyes are enhanced in order

to resemble make up but it is very permanent when you get that changed.


Medical tattooing has its own benefits. The tattoos ensure that the instruments inside are carefully placed for frequent radiotherapy session. Also, these are done to cover a disorder called vitiligo which is a skin pigmentation problem.

Image Source: Tattoos Beauty 

Besides these, tattoos are also differentiated based on different purpose and styles.

  • Abstraction: Abstraction tattoos don’t involve a lot of work. Emerging from the archaic tattooing style, it is mostly done in black or perhaps gray. You would see a lot of people with old English, Celtic or Chinese symbols around their navel, calves or chests – this is abstraction.
  • Naturalistic: Natural tattoos are made to look real or natural. They do have a high cost but they are actually very popular with the populace. Religious leaders and Native Americans are the common tattoos of this type. These tattoos include very minute details and the perspective, portrayal and shading is clear and as close to the reality as possible.
  • Dedication: These are inexpensive tattoos that are offered in a tattoo studio and are also called ‘pledges’. Sailor based ideas and tattoo designs such as an anchor with the ship name or heart and a banner, badges of military regiments are often the standard versions of tattoos you get in a parlor. They could also be used to honor the memory of a loved one by tattooing his name or picture.
  • Simplification: There are no boundaries to this category – all the tattoos could be classified as Simplification tattoos as long as they are stylized by a tattoo artist. From animals to flowers or hearts, the classification is too wide. Zodiac signs and lions being very famous custom-made and standard simplification tattoo designs respectively.
  • Complex: Complex Tattoos are the intricate ones as they involve a lot more designing than any of the tattoos. These are impressive designs, also called as combination tattoos. Unrelated images on the body or body suits made of Japanese symbols are two most loved complex tattoo ideas. What the artist does is combine images to make a picture.

Cover Up and Touch Up are two further types of tattoos. Cover up is what it means in English – covering up a tattoo like a name which used to mean something in your life but now it doesn’t. People creatively cover it up by changing the words or coming up with a design twisting the name somehow. It is a better option than going for a laser removal, way cheaper too. Touch up, on the other hand, is given to amateur or homemade tattoos which lose their essence after a while and need refilling by the ink.

Look at the statistics and you will know tattooing is a big hit everywhere in the world. About 25% Australians less than 30 years had tattoos in 2010. In UK in 2010, 39% already had tattoos and 32% more were thinking about getting one. Hence, you can do the math yourself. Although if you are amongst those who are fascinated by the centuries old art, don’t forget to take necessary steps. Think it through because you don’t want to end up looking at it and finding ways to get it off.


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