How deep does a tattoo needle go? Tattoos are applied by inserting ink with a needle into the subcutaneous tissue layer of skin, between two layers of fascia, so that it can be seen beneath the epidermis at the surface of the skin.
Tattoos become permanent when this process creates enough deposits of ink in the dermis layer of skin. The needle depth at which it penetrates your skin will depend on many factors, including what part of the body is being tattooed and which type of gun is being used.
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Most people think that a tattoo needle can only go as deep as it needs to into your skin, but that’s not the case. The ink is injected into your dermal layer, and depending on what you want and where you want it done will depend on how deep the needle goes.
The tattoo artist will do many things to customize your tattooing experience, and one of these is going deeper into your skin. The further they go, the more detailed and intense the art will be.
When you get a tattoo done normally, it will only be 3 to 5 mm thick, whereas when you get a dermal piercing, it’s closer to 1 to 2 mm thick.
So technically speaking, no matter what kind of ink work you choose for yourself, the needles are never going too far below your skin to make sure that they don’t puncture any blood vessels or cut through muscle. Thus causing unnecessary pain. You can get tattoos with very fine detailed artwork without going particularly deep by simply being very precise when choosing the spot.
This is why you have to be so careful about getting tattoos in places not flat, like the chest or back, for example. If you do get something tattooed onto your pecs or abs, it will almost definitely require a lot more needles because there are bumps all over, giving them less room to work with.
The best thing you can do is choose a place on your body where the skin has enough slack and isn’t too thick. You also need to make sure there aren’t any blood veins near the surface because poking through them would result in some pretty severe bleeding if they were pierced.
If you want designs that are even more intricate than usual, expect these types of tattoos to take longer. The needles will be making more passes over your skin, which means more time in the chair for you. Laser tattoo removal is also relevant; you can read more about it here.
Can a tattoo needle hit a vein?
Yes, but it is unlikely. I would say the chances of tattooing a vein are very slim. First off, there are several layers of skin. If you were to be tattooed on the neck, the first layer would be about 1-1.5 millimeters thick. You would then have another three or so layers that go deeper into the skin, each with its specific structures and function in holding our body together. So imagine if by some chance you did hit one of these veins how much damage it would cause to everything around it, like nerves, blood vessels, etc.
Having said all this, though, tattoos aren’t always done on parts of your body where there are any veins (like face, for example). And if you wanted to get your neck tattooed, I would imagine you probably aren’t the most light-hearted person. You wouldn’t be looking for a tattoo if you didn’t want visibility, so it’s unlikely that you’d pick somewhere where the structures are so condensed and complex.
How many layers of skin does a tattoo needle pierce?
A tattoo needle penetrates only the first layer of skin, called the epidermis. The epidermis protects all the layers of skin against bacteria and infection from outside sources.
People who get tattoos should be aware that a new needle is used for each participant’s tattoo because needles carry many different types of germs. The nature of a needle means that it pierces several layers of skin cells during a tattooing procedure, which can expose a person to possible infections or other health problems.
What happens if a tattoo needle goes too deep?
If a tattoo needle goes too deep, it can damage the skin and underlying muscle and cause bleeding. If this happens, the body may interpret the tattoo ink as a foreign object and fight it with an inflammatory response. This will result in chronic redness and swelling of the tattooed area.
If a tattoo machine needle goes even more profound, it can damage blood vessels causing bleeding under the skin (subcutaneous bleeding) or into tissues (hemonomas). These lesions will also become chronic until they are treated. Worst case scenario is these ruptured blood vessels heal without treatment resulting in large pigment spots, which could be removed by laser later if needed.
A nasty infection where all those risks come together can lead to severe complications like loss of limb function, sepsis, and even death.
Do tattoos poison your blood?
After getting a tattoo, the wound should be cleaned and covered to prevent infection. Even if you take proper care of your new ink, dangerous toxins from the tattooing process can seep into your bloodstream. A popular myth holds that tattoos can cause blood poisoning or other serious health risks — but what does the science say?
For centuries, people worldwide have used tattoos as body art and a form of spiritual expression. Tattoos work by injecting ink tattoo pigments into the skin with hundreds of very thin needles attached to a gun that functions somewhat like an ink-jet printer. The pigment stays in the upper dermis (the second layer beneath the surface of your skin). As one guy found out when he had a tattoo removed, this is an excruciating process.
You might wonder why doctors and scientists aren’t interested in tattoos as possible carriers of disease. There have been many studies on the issue. Here’s what they found out about tattoos and how safe they are.
Tattooing involves puncturing the skin hundreds of times with a needle during each session, which can happen several times over months or years, creating an open wound that requires proper care to prevent infection. Ink enters your body during each needle puncture, much like a vaccine does when it dispenses a small amount of virus into your system to cause immunity against a particular illness.
Tattoos spread infections only when the needle used is contaminated with infected blood, which can happen despite precautions such as new, sterile round shader needles for each customer or disposal of needles in an autoclave. This device uses pressurized steam to sterilize medical instruments. Autoclaves don’t destroy all microorganisms, and they require regular maintenance and calibration to remain effective.
If you get your tattoo at a reputable establishment (and if they’re following safety precautions), your risk of contracting AIDS, hepatitis B or C, and other infections is significantly reduced. But such establishments are rare and account for just a tiny fraction of tattoos in the United States. A study published in 2009 found that out of 3,943 people with new tattoos, 48 individuals (1 percent) tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and that’s only the tip of this particular problem iceberg.
Another concern is tattoo artists not wearing gloves to perform their work. Gloves are an essential safeguard against any number of blood-borne infections, including HIV. While no one has come down with HIV or hepatitis from a tattoo, there have been reports of hepatitis B transmitted through the practice.
Precautions such as wearing gloves and washing hands throughout the process can reduce the risk to near zero. The most significant danger is skin infections that unsanitary methods can aggravate. Review your potential artist’s qualifications and ask about their sterilization and safety procedures before having work done. If you don’t like what you hear, look elsewhere because an unlicensed tattooist (or parlor) may use unsterile equipment resulting in infection.
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