It is important for a tattoo artist to understand skin structure. If the needle penetrates too deep into the skin, there will be a lot of skin reactions. Click the video, and listen to what Mr.Shi is going to talk about.Mr.shi: It is very important for us to know the structure of the skin, so I will talk about it today. There may be a series of complications after the tattoo is done. That’s because tattooists don’t know the skin well. They don’t control the needle depth professionally and don’t know the skin reactions well.They only pay attention to the epidermis when tattooing. Because they can only see the effects of the epidermis. But the needles go under the skin. And the difference in needle depth will produce a series of reactions. Including hyperplasia, demitint, pain, and rejection. Most of them don’t have a deep understanding of the skin. You know how to control needles only after you know the structure of the skin. How to control needles means how to control needle depth. The skin is very thin. Generally, the skin is about 1.2mm thick. Some special parts may be a little thinner. Some parts may be a little thicker. For example, the skin on the palm and the bottom of the feet may be thicker. So we must understand the structure of the skin slowly. Firstly, you need to know your skin color. To some degree, skin color is like the background color in a painting. We often use white as the background color when painting. Of course, we may use other colors. Their skin isn’t necessarily pure white when we are tattooing for our guests. Some look a bit of light yellow; some look deep yellow; some are brown; some are black.
Skin colors and types of skin
I show you some pictures. As you know, different races have different skin colors. White people, yellow people, and Africans have different skin colors. We need to choose different tattoo designs according to different skin colors when tattooing. Because skin color will affect the effects even if the pattern is the same. So firstly, we need to know the guest’s skin color when tattooing. In order to get the best effect, we need to consider his skin color when choosing tattoo patterns. So we must pay attention to the guest’s skin color when tattooing. Next, I will talk about the structure of the skin. What we see is just an epidermis layer.There are many types of skin. For example, oily skin, normal skin, dry skin, keloid-prone skin, and sensitive skin. So what are their characteristics? Oily skin is the result of the overproduction of sebum from sebaceous glands. The sebum will become thicker when it absorbs a lot of dust from the air. When we are tattooing, we often use water-soluble tattoo ink, which cannot dissolve in oily skin. Although we use a needle to penetrate into the skin, the ink delivered to the skin is not bright enough. Some inks are delivered into the skin by the needles; some infiltrate the skin. If you penetrate your skin and put the ink on it. It can also infiltrate the skin. If the epidermis is too oily and the stratum corneum is too thick, then the ink cannot infiltrate the skin, and the color will look light. If the sebum is thick, the ink cannot go into the skin. You cannot achieve the best effect even though you do it many times. Some people mistakenly believe that the guest’s skin is oily. Why? People have a secretion area. The skin is relatively dry below the waist. If you don’t believe it, you can touch your calves. Calves are usually dry. So tattooists like to make leg tattoos. Sebaceous glands will produce more sebum above the waist, especially on the back. Many people have acne on their backs. Overactive oil glands and the endocrine system are 2 factors that contribute to acne. If a naked man stands in front of you, you can easily notice that his head is the brightest and his leg is the driest. This means the sebum gradually reduces from the head to the shoulder, and the parts below the waist are dry. Therefore, tattooists like to tattoo on the body parts below the waist. Ink can go to the skin easily on dry parts. That’s why some tattooists will misjudge that it is oily skin. Actually, it is just a skin secretion. If you don't know too much about skin structure or you don’t remove the sebum, the ink won’t go to the skin easily. So some tattooists will misjudge that it's oily skin.Normal skin is neither too dry nor too oily. Well, I won’t talk much about normal skin. It’s easy for normal skin to get ink. Dry skin is particularly easy to get ink. Sometimes, you can figure out his secretion by observing his face and shoulder. Someone overproduces sebum; someone has dry skin. It's easy to figure out. You figure out your guest has oily skin or dry skin. Now I talk about keloid-prone skin. If your guest has keloid-prone skin, he will get a scar easily when the needle penetrated into his skin. Then you will feel bumpy when you touch his epidermis. Sometimes, tattooists mistakenly regard the guests’ skin as keloid-prone skin because they make the needle depth deep when tattooing, which means the needle has exceeded the subcutaneous tissue structure. Once you break the skin texture located in the subcutaneous tissue, keloids will occur. In other words, keloids occur if the need depth is too deep. But many tattooists mistakenly think it is keloid-prone skin, and attribute it to the guest. It's because the tattooist doesn’t control the needle depth well, so keloids occur. In fact, there is nothing to do with his body constitution. I’ll talk about an allergic body constitution.
Tattoo inks contain many heavy metals so that the color will look bright. But some people are allergic to heavy metals. He will feel itchy when the ink goes into the skin. I didn’t mean that the ink goes deep into the skin. He will be itchy for a couple of months or two years even though the ink goes into the skin at normal depth. As time goes by, he will gradually get used to his allergy without bad reactions. If he has a strong allergy, there will be other problems, such as rejection. If your guest doesn’t have a strong allergy, you just need to control the needle depth well and there won’t be unnecessary problems. I’ve been doing tattoos for years. I never met a guest with an allergic body constitution except for one guest with oily skin since 1990 when I have begun to make tattoos. So if you meet these problems it’s because you don’t control needles well instead of body constitution types. Well, let’s talk about skin structure. I’ll also talk about needle depth and the problems that may occur when I’m talking about skin structure.
The skin has many layers. Here is an image of the skin structure. It’s divided into stratum corneum, Stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum basale, papillary layer, reticular layer, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. You can google it and see more images about skin structure. What are the most important layers for an artist when tattooing? Look here. The first layer is the epidermis. There will be dust and corneum on the epidermis if we don’t often clean it up. There will be more dust on the epidermis if we secrete more sebum. So the stratum corneum will become thick. If you don’t remove the dust, it will be hard for the inks to go into the skin when you are tattooing. As a result, the color won’t look nice. So you need to use soap, such as toilet soap, sulfur soap to clean up the skin. Because soap can clean up the stratum corneum quickly. Don't use shower gel. Apply soap to it and rub it with a wet paper towel. There will be a lot of dark dirty stuff after you rub it. Remove these dirty stuff. After that, you can do a disinfection and make it dry. This area will be different from others. It will be drier, cleaner, and smoother than others. After cleaning, inks will go into the skin quickly. The layer located below the stratum corneum is the Stratum lucidum which is very thin like plastic wrap. Sometimes when you accidentally get hurt, it will curl up. The tattoo needle will penetrate into the stratum lucidum especially when we are doing shading or light shading. Since it will go into the skin, we had better use water-soluble tattoo ink, such as black and other colorful water-soluble ink. So that the ink can stay on the skin even though the shading is light. Powder tattoo ink is not suitable for this layer. Because the powder is too big, the effect won’t be good. So water-soluble tattoo ink is better. Well, please focus on the model again.There are many of red and blue stuff. The red stuff is capillary. The upper, the .thinner. The blue ones are nerve endings that are very sensitive. Someone is sensitive. He will feel itchy if others stroke his skin with his hands. At this time, if we scratch his skin with a little force, he may feel a bit stressed but not painful. And if we are pressing even deeper or pressing on his nerve endings, he will feel a little painful. So people will still feel pain even if the skin isn’t broken. It tells us if our needle works above his nerve endings when tattooing, he has no sensation. But he feels numb. But how to make the ink go into the skin when the needle works above his nerve endings? That requires the machine to vibrate weakly, the machine angle to be small, and the machine works slowly. Be gentle and make it little by little. When we are doing light shading during making a portrait tattoo, if the needle works at this layer, the guest won’t feel pain or bleed. Because capillary isn’t broken and nerve endings are not touched or oppressed. So he will be very comfortable. In order to ensure the needle won’t press nerve endings, your hand must tighten his skin. Only if the skin is tight, the tattoo needle will just penetrate into the epidermis rather than press these nerve endings. So our tattoo technique is very important. The guest feels very comfortable if his tattoo is done by professional tattooists. A beginner will press the guest’s nerve endings, so he feels terrible even painful before the machine works. This is one of the techniques. Let's go on. Ink can go into the skin when the needle touches the epidermis. Deeper in the skin, look, here is a layer like waves, which is called the papillary layer. Above the papillary layer, they are stratum granulosum and stratum lucidum. This layer is the best place for ink. The brightness and saturation of the ink will be the best. If the ink goes deeper into the skin, there will be discoloration. I’ll talk about the discoloration later.If the needle is on this layer, the guest won’t feel pain and it won’t break these nerves. The capillary doesn't bleed either. But there may be a litter yellow tissue fluid. If you tattoo for a long time, the needle needs to be on this layer. Ink can go into the skin if the needle works above the papillary layer. Ink can go into the skin on the stratum granulosum, Stratum lucidum, and papillary layer. And this is the best layer for ink. If the needle continues to go deeper, it will touch the nerve endings, which means it penetrates this layer located below the papillary layer. There are many nerve endings and capillaries here. When the needle touches here, the guest will feel a little painful but the pain isn’t obvious. That’s because some of his never endings are broken, and some are not. He may also bleed. In other words, the needle penetrates into the papillary layer, which breaks capillary and nerve endings. For tattooists, this is the deepest layer. The needle shouldn’t go deeper than the papillary layer. Although ink can also go into the skin below the papillary layer, its effect won’t be good. If the guest bleeds or pains when getting a tattoo, you will know your needle has penetrated into his papillary layer and it has broken nerve endings. If the needle continues to go deeper, it will penetrate the dermis and break the sebaceous gland, hair root, hair follicle, or sweat duct. So there's a series of reactions. Sometimes, you will notice that the guest sweats a lot and bleeds. Someone may bleed too much. Who will bleed too much? The people who just do vigorous exercise or just drink alcohol will bleed too much. And females who are in the menstrual period may also bleed too much. If the guest is sensitive to pain, he will feel very pain. If he is not so sensitive to pain, he will feel a little pain. If he is slow on the draw, he may feel nothing. Different people have different feelings. If your needle penetrates these places, there will be a series of reactions. The first reaction is that the guest feels pain, and the second is that he sweats a lot and bleeds. Once this reaction occurs, you know the needle goes too deep. If you deliver the black ink to these places, the capillary will be broken. At this time, the blood will spread out and it should be red.Then the black ink which you deliver into the skin meets red blood, as a result, the color here will be blue, instead of black. The color inside the skin will look greenish-blue. And some of them are going to faint because the blood spreads. The more the blood spreads, the more the blue color. I show you an image of a tattoo. Look at these blue colors around the tattoo. That’s because the blood spreads inside the skin. This kind of tattoo is called faint. What does a small faint look like? Look, I’m drawing a black line on this paper. A small faint will be like the little blurry blue around the black line. This is a small faint. Some colors will spread around the black line, like the branches of a tree. Some faint will spread all around, even wider. All these are faints. If the faints occur, that’s because the needle breaks the capillary. If you want to make a tattoo have a faint effect, the needle can go deep into the skin. If the needle continues to go deeper, it will penetrate into subcutaneous tissue which is close to the flesh. I mean this layer. What will happen then? Except for the series of reactions that I just said, such as sweat, blood, paint, and faint. There will be other reactions. The first one is that blood volume may be too large. Because the needle breaks the capillary. Then the guest will be very painful because there are many reactive never inside it. In the later period, I mean one or, two months or even half a year later, keloids will occur. Because the inks destroy the growth structure inside it. Keloids will continue to occur. Finally, the tattoo will look like this. You will feel bumpy if you touch it. The height of the scar depends on how often and how many times the needle penetrates into the skin. You can use this theory to penetrate deeply on purpose. For example, you can penetrate deep when doing a line, finally, it will look bumpy. This is one reaction. Many of the inks we use contain heavy metals. Once the inks go into the stratum basale, they will meet lymphoid tissue and Phagocyte. Phagocytes will regard the inks as invading bacteria and swallow them up. So the gloss and the concentration of the pigment will be a little worse after the tattoo wound recovers. What’s more, with a high metabolism, the ink powder will fade as the metabolism boost. The tattoos which were done a couple of years or 10 years ago look blurred or the light now. Most of these kinds of tattoos were done too deep in the skin, so they faded due to metabolism.As I said, some inks will be swallowed by phagocytes, but some inks still stay in the skin. Then what will happen? A rejection will occur. But the inks which are not swallowed have not been removed. They are still under the skin and are rejected by the body. Finally, there will be other problems. Firstly, the tattoo will swell. The skin will be very itchy. Meanwhile, even a small sore will fester on the tattoo area. Finally, the tattoo will become lie this, very terrible. If a tattoo becomes septic, the masterpiece is destroyed completely. So it’s very important to control needles perfectly. Many tattooists only focus on the surface of the skin when tattooing. Since they just see the lines on the surface skin, they won’t know how deep the needle goes into the skin. And the skin is very thin. Some artists think the color won’t fade if they deliver the ink to the deep skin. But the needle will penetrate the stratum basale once they tattoo forcefully. The skin is only 1.2mm in thickness. I will teach you to make the needle go to 20 to 40 depths in my later videos. If an artist just focuses on the surface and repeatedly fills the shade when tattooing. He won’t see how serious the skin damage is or how deep the needle goes into it. He only sees what effect he's making. So there are many problems when the tattoo wound recovers. Even if there is no rejection reaction or maturation during recovery, other problems will occur after it recovers. Such as keloids, faint, and fade. We need to know the skin structure which is very important for us to tattoo. The skin thickness of different body parts is different. Well, today, I just talk about the general skin structure. I’ll talk about everybody's part skin structure and thickness, and its precautions in detail in my later tattoo tutorials. So I just tell you these today. In a word, you can tell the needle depth by observing the effect of the epidermis and adjusting the way you use a needle. Actually, I think it is to control skin damage. Firstly we must reduce skin damage, secondly, we need to control need depth well. So that the tattoo can be kept in the skin for a long time. And it won’t cause damage to the skin. At the same time, it will always look nice. Ok, so this is all for the skin structure. Please follow me, my tattoo tutorial will be updated every week. I’m going to make more videos about primary, and advanced tattoo tutorials.