In Focus:

Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions

You could be the proud owner of a new tattoo in a matter of hours — but don't let the ease of the process stop you from thinking carefully about permanent body art. Before you get a tattoo, make sure you know what's involved and how to reduce the possible risks.

How tattoos are done

 

A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on your skin with pigments inserted through pricks into the skin's top layer. Typically, the tattoo artist uses a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, with one or more needles piercing the skin repeatedly. With every puncture, the needles insert tiny ink droplets.

 

The process — which is done without anesthetics — causes a small amount of bleeding and slight to potentially significant pain.

Know the risks

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