Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Animation Explains How Tattoos Work

Tattooing is a serious biological process.

Professor Claudia Aguirre and animator Hector Herrera use animation to explore the historical origins of tattooing. Tattoos are permanent despite the fact that people shed around one million skin cells per day (40,000 skin cells per hour). This is because the tattoo pigment buries itself deeper into the skin than the outer-most layer that gets shed.

Tattoos have been around longer than any existing culture, and the art of tattooing is here to stay. If anything, it has increased in popularity over time.

This animation goes through the whole biological process of tattoos. There can be nothing more satisfying than getting a tattoo that encapsulates something important in your life, making some important relationships or ideas permanent and unforgettable for you.

Tattoos can be addictive. If you like what you got, you may want more of a good thing, or to have the same thing done on the other side of your body. If you don't like it, you may want to enhance it, embroidering it or covering it over with a new design. Folks who get one tattoo often wind up covering their whole arm or whatnot. That may sound like a scary myth designed to dissuade you from getting a tattoo, but for many, many people it is the cold, hard truth.

What seems appropriate at one time in your life also may not seem so cool ten years later. Some occupations also will not accept folks with visible tattoos (the US Army, perhaps surprisingly, can be quite picky about them).

If you get a tattoo and regret it, getting rid of it is possible. It is a lot harder than getting it in the first place. Laser tattoo removal treatments require appointments every 6-8 weeks for the a year or more. They are expensive - a lot more expensive than the original tattoo - and they hurt. If successful, the tattoo will fade away over time.

So think carefully before you get a tattoo that you may regret in a moment of careless enthusiasm! As tattoo purchases have surged, so have tattoo removals, which reportedly are up 440% from 2004-2014.

From the youtube page:
The earliest recorded tattoo was found on a Peruvian mummy in 6,000 BC. That's some old ink! And considering humans lose roughly 40,000 skin cells per hour, how do these markings last? Claudia Aguirre details the different methods, machines and macrophages (you'll see) that go into making tattoos stand the test of time.
Lesson by Claudia Aguirre, animation by TOGETHER.


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