Skin, tattooing of the

The permanent insertion of ink or other pigments below the skin using a sharp instrument. Humans have done tattooing for cosmetic and ritual purposes since at least the Neolithic era. In the Western world, tattooing has historically served as a brand of criminality, a sign of shame (like "The Scarlet Letter" of Nathaniel Hawthorne), a tradition dating back at least to the biblical mark of Cain. Note along these lines also the branding of slaves, the tattooing of prisoners of war in ancient Athens, and the marking of the foreheads of French prisoners in the 18th and 19th centuries with letters signifying their punishment. In the Middle Ages tattooing was done of Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem, the tattoo symbolizing the "stigmata of the Lord Jesus." In the Renaissance tattooing was done of astrologic signs to invoke their magical powers. Today the practice of tattooing can be made safer through the use of: {{}}non-reactive pigments; sterile, disposable needles; and sterile work conditions. Without these refinements, inks may cause inflammation, and infection is an ever-present danger. Persons who are prone to keloid scarring should be aware that tattoos can trigger the formation of cosmetically blemishing keloids. Ink lines may also spread or change color over the years, a fact of special concern for those interested in so- called “permanent cosmetics” (tattooed lip color, eyebrows, eyeliner, and the like). Tattooed skin requires some special care. Fresh tattoos should be kept clean, dry, and covered for the first day, and antibiotic ointment should be used for several days to promote healing and prevent infection. Once healed, tattooed skin should be protected with sunscreen from UV rays from the sun (and UV lamps) to prevent fading and skin damage. The word itself comes from the Polynesian markings known as tatu or tatau. These markings were first described by Captain James Cook on his 1769 journey to the South Pacific.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tattooing — tat·too || tÉ™ tuː n. permanent skin decoration in which ink is inserted under the skin; cry, call, shout; trumpet or bugle call that directs soldiers to return to their quarters v. permanently mark the skin with designs …   English contemporary dictionary

  • TATTOOING —    a practice of imprinting various designs, often pictorial, upon the skin by means of colouring matter, e. g. Chinese ink, cinnabar, introduced into punctures made by needles; widely in vogue in past and present times amongst uncivilised… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • tattooing — noun a) The act of beating out a rhythm on a drum b) The act of marking the skin with a tattoo …   Wiktionary

  • tattooing — tat·too·ing (tă tooґing) [from Polynesian] the insertion of permanent colors in the skin by introducing them through punctures …   Medical dictionary

  • tattooing — noun ( s) 1. : the act or practice of marking the skin with tattoos 2. : a tattoo or a set of tattoos …   Useful english dictionary

  • tattooing — a means of marking fish for identification and mark recovery studies by pricking the skin with a dye …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • History of tattooing — Tattooing in prehistoric times Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice since Neolithic times. Ötzi the Iceman , dated circa 3300 BC, bearing 57 tattoos: a cross on the inside of the left knee, six straight lines 15 centimeters long above the… …   Wikipedia

  • Cult of the Unwritten Book — The Cult of the Unwritten Book is a fictional cult/supervillain group created by DC Comics which first appeared in Doom Patrol (vol.2) #31 (April 1989). Contents 1 History 2 The Decreator 3 Agents of the Cult …   Wikipedia

  • Borneo traditional tattooing — is a hand tapping style of tattooing with two sticks, developed by some of the ancient tribes of Borneo. How it was done.One stick is held onto the skin with the needle or sharp stick going into the skin and the other is used as a type of hammer …   Wikipedia

  • Genital tattooing — is the practice of placing permanent marks under the skin of the genitals in the form of tattoos. Though tattoos in general have enjoyed an upsurge of popularity, particularly in the west and among younger people, genital tattoos are still… …   Wikipedia

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