Encyclopedia Home / T / Tattooing - HealthCentral Encyclopedia


  • Definition

    Tattooing, a technique of marking the skin with colors, has been practiced since antiquity.


    Although there are no firm statistics, an unpublished 1990 random survey of 10,000 U.S. households revealed that 3 percent of the population as a whole, and 5 percent of men, had tattoos.

    Today's tattoos are applied in at least two ways. "Permanent" tattoos are applied by tattooists using a machine that pierces the skin with needles. "Temporary" tattoos can be applied by anyone by pressing a color-permeated design against the skin with a moistened wad of cotton.


    Are there any areas on the body that shouldn't be tattooed?

    How do you care for the tattooed area the first few weeks?

    Can the tatoo become infected? What are the signs of infection?

    What are the risks of hepatitis and skin cancer?

    Will the tatoo disappear completely, with no visible scarring, after having the laser treatment?

    Are there any possible side effects of the laser treatment?

    What are the other means of tatoo removal?